Is it time to cut through the fog

Shut up and train!

These days there appears to be a popular trend by some instructors to ‘over engineer’ their classes.

I mean, do I really need to labour over the correct angle of my big toe whilst making zenkutsu dachi or wether I should engage the extensor capri ulnaris during the rotation on my tsuki?

Is all this extra information necessary? Does it make us better karateka? What happened to just ‘training’?

I’m sure most of us have been on seminars where we spend the first 45 minutes learning things like ‘how to stand properly’ or ‘adjust our breathing’. Don’t misunderstand me, I get it! I really do but only to a point. For example; I remember once attending a seminar (at £35 for 2 hours) and sat for 30 mins watching the visiting Sensei demonstrate how to perform a correct push up. I admit that it was an impressive spectacle, however did this improve my karate?

Answers on a postcard…..

So, is all this extra knowledge relevant? Are we being hoodwinked into thinking that we need this type of training? Maybe we do. But for me…..I just don’t feel it. A quick peruse of Facebook will swiftly provide you with a plethora of examples of the ‘esoteric’ Sensei.

It’s easy to admire and indeed be smitten by an instructor who appears to have such surgical knowledge and attention to detail. But again I ask, is it really necessary? Maybe solid training with like minded peers and an enthusiastic, knowledgeable Sensei making small but regular corrections is the key.

However, each to their own. Perhaps this is the way forward. The ….. But personally I’m not yet done with rote and meaningful learning.

As always, I will maintain an open mind…


Author: hokushinmartialarts

My name is Mike McCusker. I am a karate instructor and student with the Japan Shotokan Karate Association running classes in and around Glasgow, Scotland. I currently hold the rank of 7th Dan and I own and run a professional, full time dojo in the heart of Glasgow

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