What is KARATE?

Karate is often seen as an "aggressive’ martial arts, where mainly men chop and kick each other under loud shouting and where piles of stones have to be smashed. Nothing is less true!!! You have already shown an interest in karate by viewing this site, maybe you already do karate or you already know a little about it. If you don't know anything about it yet, then let me rid you of any illusion that karate is an "aggressive male sport’ would be. But what is it then?

What is karate?
Karate is indeed a martial art, but can hardly be compared to martial arts like boxing, kick box or thai box. I prefer to speak of one ‘martial art’ either in simple Dutch: "Eastern Martial Arts". A art, because it takes years to master and you need a master to teach it to you. Karate is also only one sport become after it has been brought into competition. The actual purpose of karate was correct (and still is) to stay physically and mentally fit and have the ability to defend yourself against enemies. Karate is an excellent method to defend yourself against attacks by armed and unarmed persons. It is a dynamic combat sport that mainly uses special fist punches, kick, hitting techniques and to a lesser extent throwing techniques (depending on the style of karate). These techniques, that are taught methodically, can be applied to each other in a sporting manner in the dojo within the framework of a number of rules of the game, with an emphasis on the prevention of physical injury. Through intensive training of the attack- and defense techniques, the body can be used as an effective defense weapon. Karate is often mistakenly characterized as an aggressive and dangerous sport. The breaking techniques (Tameshiware) are not an essential part of the practice of karate. This is often shown on demonstrations to convince the audience of the powerful techniques.
Why practice karate?
New, to begin: to stay physically and mentally fit. But also because it, as mentioned earlier, is an excellent self-defense method. Practicing karate also increases self-confidence. It can be practiced by both men and women, by young and old, and one is not always dependent on a partner when practicing. Karate is very suitable as body culture, because it learns to control practically all muscle groups in the body, both from the left- as the right side. Karate also means training with your mind: get to know your body better, improve your self-control, building perseverance and improving concentration. Generally speaking: The ultimate goal of karate is not defeat or victory, but the improvement of the physical and mental condition of the practitioner.


Who can practice karate?
There, basically everyone! You don't have to be Chuck Norris or Jean-Claude van Damme to do karate. Men and women, young and old, everybody can do it. I also often hear the excuse “but I am not flexible” of “I have no fitness at all”. As a beginner that makes sense? Everyone started with a white belt at some point, so you too! Slowly you will grow in better condition and flexibility, you don't have to have that naturally… So in bad shape, sagging muscles, or stiffness are not reasons not to practice karate. Karate can also be practiced very well by women. The emphasis is not so much on strength, but more on the flexibility of the movements. Practicing karate also increases self-confidence. It is of course not the intention to ever apply karate in practice, but the belief that you can get by gives a better feeling.


Karate as a sport
As a sport, karate has only recently made history. Yet outsiders often already know this aspect of karate from, for example, the TV. At first glance, karate looks dangerous, but since one of the main principles is to control the attacks, this danger can be kept to a minimum. Match fights require skillful use of hands and feet, defense techniques, displacements, timing, keeping your distance and tactics.
What does karate training entail?

Warming-up: The training always starts with a warm-up, with the aim of avoiding injuries and preparing the body and mind for karate exercises. There is made use of: rec- and flexibility exercises, coordination exercises, strength exercises, conditioning exercises.


Kihon (technology training): To become a good karateka, one must train the techniques to perfection. Beginners often find learning the basic techniques tedious and unnecessary. Without this basic training, however, it is impossible to achieve the strong stances, ward off, get punches and kicks necessary for partner training. During the kihon not only the technique but also the character, the concentration- and strengthens stamina.


Kumite (partnertraining): During the training with a partner, the trained basic techniques are put into practice. Other aspects are now becoming important, like timing, tactic, combat insight, feints and……… control! After all, we all want to be "unharmed’ to go home. 😉


Kata en Shihō (traditional style exercises): below the word we mean a series of movements performed against 4 until 8 imaginary opponents, attacking from different directions. In total there are spacious 60 the word. The kata are, as it were, the dictionary of karate, because all techniques occur in it. That is why they cannot be ignored from modern karate. Read more on the Kata-pagina.
In some karate styles, too shihō practiced. The shihō sometimes look a bit like kata, but is a simpler technique exercise that involves some defense, bump- and / or pedaling techniques are performed and repeated each time in four different directions (Shihō means "four directions"). Read more on the Shihō page.


Karate has two basic characteristics, on the one hand, the use of the entire body when performing a technique, d.w.z. one tries to focus his total energy on the goal, and on the other hand full control of the execution of the technique. Without both characteristics, one may well be able to perform efficient combat techniques, but one does not do karate.
Within the karate training also stand moral values as Courage, Courtesy, Self-control and Humility are highly regarded.


How long will it take to get the black belt?
The time you need to go to the store, take the tape and put the money down for it. Maybe a bit bland, but I want to indicate that it should not be about that. Remember that “if you fix your eyes on a distant target, along the way you will stumble over the things right in front of you”… This is also the case for Karate-do (the "way of karate"). You must learn without any material purpose, with no interest other than learning as much about yourself as possible.
If you would still like to know how the colors of the tires go: in the Netherlands (in some countries this differs!) you start with white and then go through yellow, Orange, green, blue and brown (3 times) to black belt. The low bands are called kyu (start with 9th or 8th kyu counting down to 1st kyu) and with a black belt you have a certain one and of dangraad, starting with the 1st dan (shodan) until 9th ​​dan (up to and including 6th you can take the exam, after that you will only proceed after you are "nominated’ by others. The 10th dan is only awarded posthumously to founders of new styles, etc.). Usually you can take the exam about every six months if you still have a low band (kyu) have. However, this is getting longer for higher tires…


Karate style
Karate is an umbrella name for a large number of styles or movements, some more known, others less so. The Shotokan style is the most famous and practiced form of karate. It is the style developed by sensei Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of "modern karate". Globally, about three quarters of all karatekas practice this style.
The style that the KLM Karate Club practices is called Genseiryu, a style that is said to be very close to the original Okinawan Karate (it Shuri Te) state. In any case, it is a "pure’ form of karate, that is learned from it by sincere masters in the manner of the founder, sensei Seiken Shukumine, it meant.


Some styles with the main features:

  • Shotokan: the greatest style, is mainly characterized by the no-contact and semi-contact competitions, their positions are also very low;
  • Wadokai of Wado-Ryu (‘peaceful way’): a style that is characterized by many aikido-like techniques, whereby the opponent is unbalanced or toppled by foot sweeps and the like;
  • Kyokushinkai: this is sometimes said to be the "hardest’ style is within karate;
  • Genseiryu of Genseikan: a relatively small one, but "pure’ style. Characterized by low, deep positions, up-and-down movements (height differences of the upper body) in shihō (although there are also other styles that apply shihō);
  • Taido: a new fighting style also developed by sensei Shukumine (round 1965). Features highly acrobatic maneuvers such as cartwheels and even back flips in their kata. It is therefore seen as a "three-dimensional."’ martial art. It is seen as "succession’ van Genseiryu, but does not fall under karate as such.

However, this is only a very small selection of the many styles that exist. Do you want to know more about the different karate styles. Then take a look at this site: http://www.budoinfo.nl/karatestijlen.htm.

If you have made the choice to take a look at a karate school (hopefully ours!), please bring a t-shirt and sweatpants. Usually you can, without charge, training a few times and that is much more fun than just sitting on a couch and watching?!?

Do you want to read more about the history of karate in particular, then proceed to the history page!


The power of karate??? —> The power of Máxima!!!

A special moment within the KLM Karate Club. During a demonstration on King's Day 2014 in Amstelveen, sensei Konno managed to persuade our own Queen Máxima to, successfully, to smash a plank!