What is Karate

What is Karate

Adult advanced training methods

What is Karate, translated means empty hand, Shi Zen Do Karate system is based on traditional Wado Ryu founded by Hironori Ohtsuka and Go Ju Ryu Karate founded by Chojun Miyagi which has at its core traditional Okinawan and Japanese martial arts traditions. Shizendo also employs the Chinese concepts and principles and integrates these methods of training to enhance our empty hand art. With this approach, historically turning back the hands of time giving us a unique approach to the Martial Arts prospective whilst developing the Karate to a greater understanding. Roots and branches approach covers a history of martial arts within the Shizendo training syllabus.

The Wado Ryu badge, depicting the dove of peace and the fist, encompasses the idea of this system. The dove symbolizes all that is associated with peace and harmony. The fist indicates that to keep this balance a strong grasp is needed; to find inner peace and a strong spirit you first need to train the physical part of the self first. A strong fist is of no use if the Karateka has no control over their emotional and spiritual state of being. It is vital that a balance can be reached between these two. The circular shape of the badge reinforces that this is a soft style, and reflects that the movements in Wado tend to be more circular than other Karate styles. It also reminds us that training is an everlasting cycle of improvement.

At the heart of the Karate system are the Katas, which are pre-arranged forms. The physical aims of Kata training are to strengthen bone, muscle and ligament and to maximize the efficiency of one’s biomechanics. This helps develop fast reflexes and movements, increasing the ability to respond quickly through all of the body’s natural range of movements. The four Katas (pre-arranged forms) are the four jewels in the crown of the Wado Ryu system and are as follows: Naihanchi, Kushanku, Seishan, Chinto and Go Ju Ryu Sanshin and Tensho.

Kata originally were teaching and training methods by which successful combat techniques were preserved and passed on. The basic goal of kata is to preserve and transmit proven techniques and to practice self-defence. By practicing in a repetitive manner the learner develops the ability to execute those techniques and movements in a natural, reflex-like manner.

What is Karate, translated means empty hand

“Tradition should inspire innovation not limit it”

The Chinese systems (Wing Chun – Tai Chi Chuan) use  sticky hands training or Chi Sau. Karate makes use of “Kake Uke which is sticky hands” training method to cultivate sensitivity and receptivity for use in close quarter fighting. Shizendo Karate training methods also employ this idea in the form of Kake, sometimes known as Tegumi. Tegumi – Kake are prearranged hand drills worked in pairs, training the students to develop the necessary skills of touch reflex. It is from here that the secrets of the Karate Katas are unlocked with the key of Tegumi – Kake. This leads into Karate’s close range freestyle sparring. The basic four arm techniques (the so called “blocks”) found in all Karate styles are the upper, lower, inner and outer uke (uke means “to receive”) movements; these four techniques make up the hand drills in the system. Every Karate Kata bunkai (application) can be fed through at this important range: punches, kicks, locks, throws, takedowns, etc. This is the true Kata range. This is where the Karateka uses the techniques learnt in Kata and fed through to the hand drills, thus developing their application for self-defence, distance, stickiness, power generation through partnered drills.   Learning the hand drills is the most important step a Karateka will take towards understanding the principles and concepts of the system.

Karate is the art of controlling, or defending one’s self from an opponent through the use of manipulation of the joints (Kensetsu) and grappling (Tuite). Tegumi combined with Tuite and Kensetsu offers an inexhaustible variety of possible reactions to any given attack, taken from the principles and concepts learnt from the Katas. The application to Kata offers only an idea of its usage; what’s more important are the principles and concepts behind the idea.
Tegumi – Kake training over time will develop the student to a level of “on the spot” application, where the student can flow from one idea (response) to another whilst controlling his opponent.
Tegumi – Kake training promotes in the student the ability to flow. The flow is the most important point of training because without the flow there cannot be changes. Changes are the ability to react and respond to an almost inexhaustible variety of methods of attack directed at the Karateka. Therefore flow (change) is the art and without flow there is no art.

Tegumi ——— Flowing hands
Tuite ————- Grasping hands
Kensetsu —— Joint locking hands
Kake ————- Sticky hands

What is Karate, translated means empty hand

What is Karate, translated means empty hand, Shi Zen Do means “Natural relaxed” or “Natures Way”, an encompassing term in which a person remains naturally relaxed but alert. This is reflected both physically and mentally thus developing a strong spirit. All movements are subject to the laws of nature. The word “Do”, when used as a suffix to a particular style of Japanese Martial Arts, is indicative of more than just a means of combat. “Do” indicates a discipline and philosophy with moral and spiritual connotations, the ultimate aim being enlightenment through personal development.


To be able to use the Shi Zen Do method a student has to conquer the tension in the self unlocking the flow from within.

The flow is the Art.


“The Art is the Flow the Flow being the Art”
  What is Karate, translated means empty hand and flow like water