Karaté - Budo

Eléments essentiels à la compréhension du karaté

Karate Budo
The core components of karate

Karate is a discipline that consists of impact techniques together with locks and throws. Irrespective of the style, karate training features three key areas: kihon, katas and kumite.


1. Kihon

Kihon means “basic technique” and consists of repeating techniques in isolation. The teacher demonstrates a movement which is then replicated by the pupil. These techniques are generally attacks or blocks but can also be stances, moves, slips or throws.

The tireless practice of basic movements is of fundamental importance, because it ensures that good technique and automatisms are acquired. At first the techniques are simple and isolated before becoming complex drills coupled with various moves. The kihon often starts slowly with a breakdown of the movements before becoming smoother and swifter and finally turning into automatisms that are performed at full strength.

The kihon serves as preparation for studying katas and kumite.


2. Kata

Kata means “form” or “mould”. It is a codified series of techniques representing a fight against one or more opponents. At the dawn of karate, as there were no written records, the kata was a mnemonic device for transmitting techniques. Each kata starts with a block, thereby underlining the defensive nature of karate.

  • Numerous martial artspractise katas, as they help to shape the body and mind.
  • These techniques are practised slowly or at full strength. The kata works on body muscle and explosiveness.
  • It develops control of the body, breathing, rhythm, stances and moves in all directions.
  • It helps to acquire combat automatisms.
  • Katas go beyond the purely physical and technical: they require memorisation, concentration and relaxation, and they forge the fighting spirit.
  • To perform a kata correctly, it has to be repeated endlessly and diligently, as the goal is to seek perfect movements.

To execute a good kata, it is essential to energise it with alternating strong and flexible, fast and slow moments as well as wide and short movements. The karateka who practises kata must be aware of the messages it conveys and understand the significance of each technique.


3 Kumite

Kumite means “bringing the hands together”. It is often translated as “combat” but is better understood as “the art of meeting”. In contrast to competition, there should not be any opponents in karate-do but only partners...

Read more in the book "Karate: more than the move".

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