How to Teach Yourself the Basics of Karate
The philosophy behind karate is vast and complex. It stems from thousands of years of armed and unarmed combat. Techniques that were perfected hundreds of years ago are still being perfected over and over again by each new generation. Buddhism, Taoism, and the code of Bushido have all played parts in the development of the martial arts philosophy. Karate in its modern form was established around 400 years ago in Japan, with its roots mainly derived from Chinese Kung Fu. See Step 1 below to start teaching yourself the basics of this art form.
1. Meditate (5+ minutes)
- Forget school. Forget work. Forget family, problems, everything — visualize them evaporating before your eyes. Once everything is gone, you should see an empty room, and in the center of the empty room, a ball of flame begins growing from the emptiness. This flame of firing strength and energy should represent anything you hope to achieve by training yourself in Karate. By the time you are done with your meditation, the room should be entirely engulfed by nothing but the flame.
2. Warm up (10 minutes)
- Warming up is vital to your muscles’ ability to do work. If you don’t get them loose and ready before you start your training and stretching, then they will go on strike against you and even basic moves will be tough to execute properly.
3. Stretch (15 minutes)
Stretching all major muscle groups first is essential for a loose and limber body; get a book on stretching if you do not already know what stretching exercises to do. In Karate, stretching the legs is crucial to keep yourself injury-free.
- Stretching comes after warming up. When your muscles have heated up, that’s when they’ll be most receptive to stretching — when stretching will be the safest and most effective.
4. Understand the philosophy behind karate
To the untrained observer, karate may look like it’s about showy displays of violence. In fact, it’s the polar opposite. Karate is about peace and, what’s more, peace of mind. In life conflict is unavoidable. When this happens, it should be handled swiftly and with power. The result is a natural confidence that has an air of humility.
- This is an art form that involves the mind and spirit as much as the body. All three must develop simultaneously for the practitioner to truly master this sport. While the body must remember how to move, the mind, in turn, must remember how to be still.
- All of the martial arts begin and end with courtesy. There is very little that is selfish about karate. It is believed that in your devotion there is reward.