When you reach senior belt you are expected to guide the junior belts when they are beginning Karate such as showing by example. To advance from one rank to the next, students typically complete tests in which they demonstrate their proficiency in the various aspects of the art before a panel of judges or their teacher. View Karate Fundamentals ( kihon きほん ) »

Kihon (基本, きほん)

Foundation of most Japanese Martial Arts meaning "basics" or "fundamentals"

The term is used to refer to the basic techniques that are taught and practiced as the foundation of most Japanese martial arts. The practice and mastery of kihon is essential to all advanced training, and includes the practice of correct body form and breathing, while practicing basics such as stances, punches, kicks, blocks, and thrusts, but it also includes basic representative kata.

Kihon is not only practicing of techniques, it is also the karateka fostering the correct spirit and attitude at all times. Kihon techniques tend to be practiced often, in many cases during each practice session. They are considered fundamental to mastery and improvement of all movements of greater complexity. Kihon in martial arts can be seen as analogous to basic skills in, for example, basketball. Professional NBA players continue to practice dribbling, passing, free throws, jump shots, etc. in an effort to maintain and perfect the more complex skills used during a basketball game.

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In Karate

Styles of karate differ greatly in the emphasis placed on kihon. Kihon may be practiced as "floor exercises", where the same technique or combination is repeated multiple times as the students move back and forth across the floor. Japanese karate styles are notorious for extended periods of kihon training. This style of practice is believed to ingrain the techniques into the muscle memory of the karateka.

Some styles employ "kihon kata" in teaching beginners. Additionally, kihon may take the form of prearranged partner drills whereby two students face each other and alternate execution of a technique. This approach combines repetition with training in distancing. Targets for punching and kicking, such as bags, shields, or dummies, are generally used at more advanced stages of kihon training to strengthen muscles, bones, and skin. Examples of traditional striking targets include makiwara, among many others.

Some styles have a small set of basic techniques that are practiced consistently every single class. Others might have scores of techniques that are each only practiced every couple of months.

  • Aiki ( 合気 martial arts principle): The most simple translation of aiki, as "joining energy", belies its philosophical depth. Generally, it is the principle of matching your opponent in order to defeat him
  • Black Belt: is commonly the highest belt color used and denotes a degree of competence. In martial arts, the black belt is a way to describe a graduate of a field where a practitioner's level is often marked by the color of the belt
  • Bunkai ( 分解 ): is a term used in Japanese martial arts referring to the application of fighting techniques extracted from the moves of a "form" (kata).
  • Dachi (立 ): Karate has many different stances, each used to create power, flexibility and movement. Some stances focus more on mobility than stability, and vice versa.
  • Dan ( 段 ) ranking system: is used by many Japanese organizations to indicate the level of one's ability (expertise) within a certain subject matter
  • Dōjō ( 道場 ): is a Japanese term which literally means "place of the way"
  • Dojo kun: is a Japanese martial arts term literally meaning (training hall) rules
  • Fudōshin ( 不動心 ): is a state of equanimity or imperturbability (literally and metaphorically, "immovable mind", "immovable heart", or "unmoving heart").
  • Geri Waza ( 蹴り ): A kick is a physical strike using the foot, leg, or knee (the latter is also known as a knee strike). This type of attack is used frequently by hooved animals as well as humans in the context of stand-up fighting
  • Go no sen ( 後の戦 ) - meaning “late attack” involves a defensive or counter movement in response to an attack.
  • Hard and Soft Techniques (martial arts): In martial arts, the terms hard and soft technique denote how forcefully a defender martial artist counters the force of an attack in armed and unarmed combat
  • Karategi (空手着 or 空手衣): is the Japanese name for the karate training uniform
  • Keikogi (稽古着 or 稽古衣) or dōgi (道着): is a uniform for training, used in martial arts derived from Japan, or budō. (keiko means practice, gi means dress or clothes).
  • Kiai (気合): is a Japanese term used in martial arts for the short yell or shout uttered when performing an attacking move.
  • Kime ( 決め ): In karate it can mean "power" and/or "focus" describing the instantaneous tensing at the correct moment during a technique.
  • Kyū (級): In modern Japanese martial arts, kyū-level practitioners hold the ranks below dan or black belt. The kyū ranking system varies from art to art and school to school. In some arts, all the kyū-level practitioners wear white belts while in others different coloured belts
  • Maai ( 間合い ): translating simply to "interval", is a Japanese martial arts term referring to the space between two opponents in combat; formally, the "engagement distance".
  • Mokuroku (Japanese: 目録): is a term in Japanese martial arts, used by koryu, for a "catalog", referring to a catalog of the level of ability of the instructor of the martial arts that has received a catalog as a sign of level or initiation
  • Mushin ( 無心 ): is a mental state into which very highly trained martial artists are said to enter during combat
  • Nijū kun ( 二十訓 ): are the "twenty instructions" of the Okinawan martial arts master Gichin Funakoshi
  • Obi: the obi signifies the wearer's skill level. Many Japanese martial arts feature an obi as part of their exercise outfit. These obis are often made of thick cotton and are about 5 cm wide
  • Principle of Jū (柔): One aspect is that of "yielding", and is manifest in the exponent's actions that accept the enemy's force of attack, rather than oppose him by meeting his force directly with an equal or greater force
  • Ranking: is used in karate to indicate experience, expertise, and to a lesser degree, seniority
  • Red Belt: is one of several colored belts used in some martial arts where each practitioner's level is marked by the color of the belt, these are most commonly those of Kodokan style Judo origin
  • Ryū (-流 -ryū): (mainly used as a suffix meaning style, type, form, manner, system, school; here as ryūha 流派 a school, a school of thought) is a Japanese kanji referring to a school in any discipline
  • Sen no sen - a defensive initiative launched simultaneously with the attack of the opponent
  • Senpai (先輩): is a mentor or senior and kōhai (後輩) is a protégé or junior
  • Sensei (先生): is a Japanese word that is literally translated as "person born before another". The word is also used to show respect to someone who has achieved a certain level of mastery in an art form
  • Sensen no sen - an initiative launched in anticipation of an attack where the opponent is fully committed to their attack and thus psychologically beyond the point of no return
  • Shihan (師範): is a Japanese term, often used in Japanese martial arts as an honorific title for expert or senior instructors. The term is frequently used interchangeably with English terms such as "master instructor"
  • Shoshin ( 初心 ): is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning "beginner's mind"
  • Sōke (宗家): pronounced [soːke], is a Japanese term that means "the head family [house]." In the realm of Japanese traditional arts, it is used synonymously with the term iemoto. Thus, it is often used to indicate "headmaster" (or sometimes translated as "head of the family" or even "grand master")
  • Te ( 手 ): the martial arts of Okinawa were generally referred to as te 手, which is Japanese for "hand".
  • Uchi Waza: Various surfaces of the hand may be engaged as the striking surface depending on which area of the opponents body which is being targeted. This leads to a large array of hand positions.
  • Uke Waza: In martial arts, blocking is the act of stopping or deflecting an opponent's attack for the purpose of preventing injurious contact with the body. A block usually consists of placing a limb across the line of the attack
  • Zanshin ( 残心 ): is a term used in the Japanese martial arts. It refers to a state of awareness – of relaxed alertness. A literal translation of zanshin is "remaining mind"
  • Height Levels
    • Jōdan (上段), which in a martial arts context means something like 'high-level' (lit. 'high/upper degree'), is one of the three heights commonly referred to in Japanese martial arts. It refers to the upper part of the body, which includes the shoulders and above.
    • Chūdan (中段) is one of the three heights commonly referred to in Japanese martial arts. It roughly means "middle level", and refers to the space above and including the waist, and below but not including the shoulders. The most common strikes to the chūdan area target either the solar plexus or floating ribs.
    • Gedan (下段), meaning roughly "lower level", is one of the three heights commonly referred to in Japanese martial arts. It refers specifically to the lower part of the body, from the belt on the karategi and below.


Okinawan karate uses supplementary training known as hojo undo. This utilizes simple equipment made of wood and stone. The makiwara is a striking post. The nigiri game is a large jar used for developing grip strength. These supplementary exercises are designed to increase strength, stamina, speed, and muscle coordination. Sport Karate emphasises aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise, power, agility, flexibility, and stress management. All practices vary depending upon the school and the teacher.





This article uses material from the Wikipedia articles "Kihon", "Karate", "Japanese Martial Arts", "Jodan", "Chūdan", and "Gedan", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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