Each lesson starts with a warm up lasting about 15 minutes. Warming-up is an essential part of a karate lesson to avoid unneccessary injuries. The warm up will involve exercises, to increase body temperature and soften muscles, and stretching to prepare the muscles for the training ahead.
Training in karate takes many forms from practising basic techniques in lines, to free sparring. It includes many traditional elements that have been practised since karate's origins as well as more contemporary, sport elements. Each lesson will be different. See below for details about what to expect.
Basic techniques are generally practised in lines, but may be practised with a partner, without contact. In karate the basic techniques are taught by the principal of repetition. By repeating techniques muscle memory is gradually developed, eventually enabling students to perform techniques with little concious effort.
Students are taught punches (zuki), strikes (uchi), kicks (geri), blocks (uke) and stances (dachi).
A kata is a combination of techniques; punches, kicks, strikes and stances performed in a set pattern against imaginary attackers. Nine wado ryu katas are trained up to 1st dan black belt with more to learn at higher grades. Kata is an important part of the traditional element of karate and is a unique way of learning all the techniques and applications.
Free sparring is performing techniques with a partner without prearrangement. The aim is to strike your opponent and block, or avoid their attacks. In competiton points are awarded for striking your opponents on different parts of their body. Although we spar wearing protective equipment, the aim is to exercise control and only make light contact with your opponent.
Like kata, kion kumite is a traditional part of karate and involves a predefined set of moves. This time performed with a partner. There is a set attack and defence. Training with a partner enables students to learn the correct distance, timing, balance and coordination.
We do not practise full power techniques when sparring with a partner. Even when wearing protection. Bag work allows students to practise their techniques at full power without anyone getting hurt. As well as the bag which allows students to practise using their power, focus pads allow students to practise their accuracy.
A good martial artist should be able to defend themselves from any position, sometimes on the ground. Whilst on the ground it is not practical to use the punching, striking and kicking techniques. Grappling techniques are required. Groundwork will be familiar to students of judo and ju-jitsu. Wado-ryu karate has its origins not only in shotokan karate, but also in ju-jitsu.