Four Different Approaches to Karate
Very interesting article by Mr. Nakahara Nobuyuki, 8th Chairman of the JKA.
At the various schools where you can go to learn the art of karate today, you will find that it is taught in four different ways.
The first way is as a kind of gymnastic exercise, as a simple program of muscle toning and body training.
The second way is as a sport, or ‘game,’ where you wear boxing-type gloves and often a protective face mask, and win by gaining points ac-cording to the rules. But the rules keep changing, depending on who is sponsoring the tournament for whom. And so to keep winning you have to keep learning new and different techniques.
The third way is as body-contact combat using gloves and sometimes other protective equipment, which can lead to a form of crowd-pleasing, blood-stirring entertainment, such as in Thai kick-boxing, K-1 or Pride.
And the fourth way is as a martial art, or Budo (the martial way); in other words, as a way of life. This is the way of the JKA.
JKA Karate Is Bushido
Though technically JKA karate is a refined form of Shotokan Karate, the karate perfected by Supreme Master Funakoshi, in a larger, deeper sense it is Bushido; it is karate based on the way, and molded by the spirit,of the ancient Japanese samurai warrior.
In that karate, the ultimate goal is not to someday become an Olympic champion; the goal is to develop the ability to knock down an opponent with one kick or blow.
To achieve that goal, aspirants must devote themselves to hard and virtually endless practice in the ‘inseparable trinity’ of the three fundamentals: kihon (basic techniques), kata, and kumite.
Through this practice, they inevitably grow in strength, spirit and discipline. Eventually they become formidable fighters. And all the while they are learning patience, compassion, loyalty, independence, deference, and integrity.
JKA Kumite Match Rules Are Simple and Natural.
The JKA imposes only the absolute minimum of restrictions for safety’s sake. We only wear basic gloves, no masks or any kind of protective clothing in kumite. There are no weight classes. There is no scoring and calculating of arbitrary points either.
The only thing that counts is whether or not the judges decide that you—tall or short, large or small, heavy or light—have defeated your opponent by accurately delivering a decisive blow with your fist or foot to a designated vital part of his or her body.
The JKA created these rules, the first match rules in the world of karate, back in 1957 when it held the first All Japan Karate Championship.
Since that time the rules have never been changed, not in any way. There is no way they could be changed. They are so simple and natural that they are inevitable: win or lose with the first deadly blow—without actually hitting your opponent. #jka #sajka