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Typical Class

A typical karate class incorporates a complete body workout, joint mobility and stretching exercises, strengthening exercises and martial exercise.

The foundations of what became karate began in the 6th Century as a series of exercises for health and well-being.

What evolved over the centuries was a complete system of both self-defence and personal development focusing on the mind, body and spirit of its exponents.  

A typical Yoshukai Karate class...
1.0 Bow in - we start the class in a traditional manner, as a way to clear our minds of the days previous events and acknowledge those who have come before us.  We look upon Yoshukai Karate as something that we have inherited from the Masters.  It is not our job to change what we have inherited, however it is our responsibility to improve it by adding to it.  <TOP>
2.0 Light exercise - we all exercise together without any equipment.  The exercises allow for those who are fit and those who are not yet fit to both gain benefit.  <TOP>
3.0 Joint mobility - as a group we follow a set of joint mobility exercises to ensure all of our joints are moving freely.  Once we begin to age it is important to maintain joint mobility.  As the saying goes - "Use it or loose it."  <TOP>
4.0 Martial Exercise - together we perform sets of exercises that will engage all of the muscle groups in the body.  The individual practitioner can adjust the intensity of the exercises to gain a lighter or a harder workout.  These exercises are designed to help improve the students performance of karate techniques and require no equipment - so the exercises can be performed anywhere and at anytime if the student wishes to do additional training.  <TOP>
5.0 Stretching - as a group we follow a set of stretching exercises to ensure we maintain a good range of motion across our bodies.  As with joint mobility, once we begin to age it is important to maintain our ability to stretch.  As the saying goes - "Use it or loose it".  <TOP>
6.1 Kata - these are set patterns of movement, like choreographed dances performed without a partner.  Each kata has its own name and is designed to teach the student something new. The kata we learn were inherited from our predecessors and as students we begin by learning the most basic kata.  As our proficiency grows, we progress with our personal development as we learn more advanced and more complex kata.  During this phase of the class, we will often split up into smaller groups or as individuals to work on the new kata we are currently learning.  <TOP>
6.2 Drills with a partner - these are designed to help students begin to put into practise the stances, techniques and movements we practise as individuals.  This may involve one student punching while the other student blocks.  As beginners we do this slowly with no force.  As our ability improves the intensity may increase, but only to the least level desired by one of the pair.  This practise helps us to develop an understanding of technique range, body dynamics and the application of karate for self-defense.  <TOP>
6.3  Self-defense - this is an important aspect of Yoshukai Karate.  While we can "points" fight and optionally fight with solid contact, there are always rules.  The Self-defense aspect of Yoshukai Karate prepares the student for situations where there are no rules.  This does not require that we attack each other with the intent of doing harm.  We learn those techniques that we do not  use in sparring, those techniques that can not be performed on a class mate and those techniques that are more applicable to a street situation (for example we teach break-falling which has applications in the street, riding a bike and at home etc.).  <TOP>
6.4 Sparring - where kata is a dance we perform without a partner, and drills are a choreographed sequence with a partner, sparring is like a free-style dance with a partner. While the application of techniques is controlled and the intensity is measured, any sequence of attack, defense and counter attack could happen.  While this is the business end of karate, it can only be built on a foundation that includes all of the other elements we teach. Sparring is a small part of the whole and is optional.  <TOP>
6.5 Weapons - within our style we learn a variety of weapons.  Training includes weapons handling skills, weapons kata and weapons verses weapons drills.  Different weapons are introduced at different levels of a students training.  While weapons are taught in general classes, there will often be advanced classes offering more intensive study of weapons.  <TOP>
7.0 Warm down - near the end of the class we begin to warm down.  This may include some additional stretching, breathing exercises and a brief moment of meditation/reflection to calm or mind, remember what we have learned and to lower our heart rate.  <TOP>
8.0 Bow out - we end the class in a traditional manner, as a way to prepare to leave the dojo acknowledge those who have come before us and those who have helped to teach us.  Within the class students are teachers and teachers are students.  Our role in the class is to not only learn but to also pass on what we have learned to our class mates.  <TOP>