Jacksons Lane Shotokan Karate Club
What's A Training Session Like?
This is the question uppermost in the minds of many prospective members, novices or more experienced. Jacksons Lane Karate Club is a stable, traditional club committed to excellence.
Sessions are run in a carefully controlled and disciplined way to avoid needless accidents. The traditional courtesies of Karate are observed in the dojo: this careful approach serves to promote good habits which in turn makes the dojo a safe place to be.
Absolutely crucial to a successful session is the warm up. Right at the start of the session, when members are still arriving, you will often see folk having a short warm up of their own or perhaps using the free floor space to work on a kata. The atmosphere is relaxed and calm; this is a grouping of friendly, like-minded people.
“Line up please!” rings out and the karetekas line up in one or two ranks. The most experienced members to the left, the least to the right in the traditional way. Sensei then leads the class through a series of warm up exercises to get the blood circulating and a carefully devised sequence of bends and stretches designed to increase the flexibility of the body: this is not a rigorous ‘get fit’ session, the intention is to help members avoid injury through starting the main part of the session ‘cold’.
Basics comes next and Sensei leads the group through the basics of Karate, the blocks, punches and kicks of Shotokan Karate. The emphasis is on performing the basic techniques perfectly. You will become aware that higher grades get more to do, so while a novice is executing one technique, the highest grades may have three or four to do. You are not on your own: while one Sensei leads the group, another moves around the dojo, praising here, correcting and advising there, always studying the members and their performance: the Sensei really do want everybody to do well, to make good progress: they are on your side.
After basics, the group is divided into two, between the higher and the lower grades. One instructor to each group, the groups are taken through a little more basics study and then they move onto either work on katas or perhaps kumite. At this time the instruction is tailored to the overall standard of the group. You may be taken step by step through a kata, possibly a kata new to you. Ultimately you may be asked to perform the kata in toto, as a group: the exhilaration of performing a kata well is not to be missed! You may be asked to find a partner to practise kumite: grading requires this tightly controlled, combat simulation. The moves are pre-ordained and again, the emphasis is on getting it right in terms of control and technique. There may be a short session showing how some technique might be applied effectively in self defense, but this a minor aspect of the session, never the main focus.
Before you know it, you’ll hear “Line up please” ring out and with a final “Rei” the session will be over. You may have learned new techniques: you certainly will have worked on the basics. You may have started work on a new kata. You will be a little fitter. You will feel that you have made progress. You will feel good.
You will feel warm, maybe a little tired but you will leave the dojo feeling much better than when you entered!
That is what a session is like. For everybody.