Performing this ceremony is training by itself. It sets a good tone for the class to come; we set aside our other cares so that we may focus entirely on training. The ceremony also reinforces the poise and respect inherent in Karatedo Doshinkan.
Kiotsuke: Bring up your energy. Stand at attention.
Seiza: Properly sit.
Shoman ni Rei: Show respect towards the front. A kneeling bow shows deep respect. We are not bowing to the flag.
Mokuto: Silent, group meditation. Close your eyes. Focus your mind and energy, but do not think about anything specific.
Naore: No more. Open your eyes.
Renshi ni Rei: Show respect to Renshi. Students bow to Renshi, Renshi bows to students to show mutual, deep respect. With a guest teacher, the titles Hanshi (Model Human,) Shihan (Human to Use as a Model,) Sensei (Teacher,) or Sempai (Senior Student) can be used.
Kiritsu: Bring your energy back up. Stand at attention.
Hagime Masu: Let us begin.
Oni Gashimasu: We humbly request (to begin).
Rotation of Joints
Your joints produce a lubricant. If you go for a long period of time without moving them, they become stiff. (Type for a while, then stop and hold your hands still, and you’ll feel the need to crack your knuckles). We move all of the major joints to improve joint health and reduce the chance of injury.
Practice of Basic Movements
This is your opportunity to improve your techniques, as well as your focus. Every count, try to do the technique a little better. Use physical power, but more importantly, use internal energy, they way you would sing expressively. Never cultivate anger while practicing. When practicing an attack, focus on a small point, and try to hit that point. (Do not simply flail your limbs about.) When practicing a defensive motion, try to imagine an actual opponent as vividly as possible.
We count in Japanese. The numbers are:
4 Yon (Not Shi)
11 Ju Ichi
12 Ju Ni
The best way to think about training with a partner is imagining that they are your good friend, who will be in a dangerous situation someday. They will need to be able to do this movement effectively to keep themselves safe. You care about them, so you do not want to harm them during practice. Push them, but do not overwhelm them. A common mistake made by new people is to consider partner training to be a contest. It is not.
One thing I find interesting is working the muscles without the use of weights. We always want to be stronger and healthier, especially in the muscles that make for powerful techniques.
This is the key; the essence of martial arts practice. Kata are everything. If we had to throw everything else out the window, we could still get a full training simply by doing kata – when done properly, they provide a good physical workout, effective self-defense practice, and good meditation. In fact, in the old days, kata were the only means of training! How to perform kata properly is a subject that could fill volumes. In the beginning, it’s enough just to try to do the right movements in the right order. When this is no longer a challenge, make sure you are performing every movement with focus and energy. Later, kata can be used in a meditative fashion; you try to blur the line between you and the kata, and simply let the kata perform itself. There’s more; I’m just not sure I can explain, and my own study of this subject is not at its end!
We stretch every training, always trying to become more flexible. (And it feels really nice!) Don’t worry if you can’t stretch as far as the person next to you, just always try to stretch farther than you could last class.
The class has come full circle. After pushing ourselves, it’s good to allow our bodies and minds to sit quietly.
Kori Mate: Now we are done.
Dozo: Please. (Also possible: Seritsu: Please prepare for the ceremony.)
Kiotsuke-Kiritsu: same as opening ceremony
Owari Masu: Now we are done.
Arigato Gozai Mashita: Thank you very much.
Kaisan: Class dismissed