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Bringing you classes in Tani Ha Shito Ryu Karate  (aka Shukokai) in central Edinburgh for over 20 years

Takumi Students & Instructors Throughout The Years

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Takumi Dojo


Unlike a lot of martial arts clubs, our classes are structured to the needs of the individual rather than mass tuition.  Due to the fact that we have three main instructors and a couple of assistant instructors we are able to split classes into groups so that training is relevant to the grade being sought.

A typical class might consist of the following:

Warm Up - a series of exercises designed to get the heart pumping and the muscles moving, but one that can be suited to almost any individual.  After all some people are fitter than others.  All we ask is that the student works at a pace the "they are happy with".

Stretching - now that the muscles are warmed up they need to be loosened off to allow freedom of movement and flexibility, this also prevents any serious injuries and reduces the risks of cramp.

Kihon (basics) - Kihon are the basic training drills of karate. Karate is a martial art, and the Kihon reflects typical martial/military training methods for a large group of people to practice their skills. Traditionally Kihon are performed in lines with all students performing the same techniques, similar to soldiers marching on a parade ground. The instructor stands at the front and issues commands to the rank and file, who then perform the appropriate techniques. In the ranks, the higher grades are at the front and the beginners at the back with the highest grade at the front right hand side and the lowest grade at the back left hand side.

However, Kihon is a very general term and can also apply to pair work and even to group training where the techniques and drills being performed are relevant to the grades requiring them.

Kata - Kata is often the least understood aspect of Karate. On first sight it is a predetermined sequence of blocks and attacks against multiple imaginary opponents, however the oriental arts are often much more than they seem on first inspection.  Initially, Kata is a way of practicing techniques on your own. The blocks and strikes involved in the sequences tie in with the techniques being practiced at your own level of expertise. Each time you advance to a higher grade the Kata increase in complexity and length. At a high level of proficiency Kata requires a certain 'mental' input to be performed well, and moves on from being merely sequences of movements to an art form, and a form of moving meditation.  Once a proper understanding of Kata is achieved, you see that it is a form of recording a complete fighting system with techniques that can be applied practically! 

A Kata performed well is more taxing, physically and mentally, than a three minute sparring session with a real opponent, and is a pleasure to watch. Kata is also the ultimate challenge in Karate. In Kumite, you can knock someone out with a blow to the head and win your bout, but in Kata you are striving to attain perfection, and your opponent is yourself, so you can never win. 

Kumite - Kumite is a catch-all expression roughly translated as 'fighting or sparring". Though many people see Kumite as the be all and end all of Karate it is just one facet, and arguably the least important one at that!  Kumite is necessary to allow the karateka to try out what they have learned, all be it in a controlled environment.  It requires speed, tactics, concentration and above all the willingness to have a go.  Fitness also comes into it but again at the karateka's own level.  A lot will depend on the tactics adopted, remember the tortoise and the hare?

Ninety nine percent of people take up the martial arts for the self defence aspect, but as time progresses they learn that there are many other benefits to be gained from martial disciplines, and that the fighting is just one way of developing them.

We have different forms of Kumite...

Ippon Kumite - One Step Fighting (This is a very formalized type of fighting, which consists of predetermined attacks, blocks and counter strikes. The movements are set in the syllabus, and each new belt attempted requires a new set of Ippon Kumite increasing in number and complexity as the student progresses through the grades.)

Jiyu Ippon Kumite - Free One Step Fighting (Similar to Ippon Kumite, and a grading requirement for higher grades. 

Jiyu Ippon Kumite consists of the attacker either being given a set attack (e.g. side kick) which is delivered in any form or variation of the technique to any viable target on the body, and the defending student has a free choice of block and counter. Each time the attack is thrown the defender is expected to perform a different block/counter combination.)

Jiyu Kumite - Free Form Fighting (This is what is commonly called 'sparring'. You can improvise your own combinations of attacks/defences, and you learn to react to the unexpected - a 'live' opponent! Certain techniques are not permitted for safety purposes (eye gouging, kicks to the groin or knee etc.), and we do not encourage students to spar until they are capable of defending themselves adequately - usually once they have passed the first grading examination. As an exercise and a training method it is a lot of fun, providing common sense prevails...   A black belt will tone down his or her sparring when faced with a less able partner and give them a chance to land a technique - the less experienced Karateka are encouraged, not beaten to death. Jiyu Kumite is a learning experience first and foremost, a chance to try out new techniques in relative safety, a way to develop and maintain specific reactions or dominant responses.

Kumite Clip 1  Kumite Clip 2  Kumite Clip 3

Ippon Shobu - Competition (Karate competition follows very precise rules which cross all boundaries of style, association or club. In short, competitors wear either Shiro (white belt) or Aka (red belt), and a referee starts and stops the bout, and awards points for well executed techniques. The goal is to be the first to score one full point (Ippon) or two half points (Wazari).

However, most "sporting competitions" held nowadays operate a multi point scoring system that is similar to those used in other martial events in the Olympic showcase.  At Takumi we focus on the traditional "Ippon Shobu" as it the most practical for our members.

Randori - 'Free For All' (As the name suggests there are no rules, restrictions or forbidden techniques.

Randori is practiced by very senior grades only, those sensible and skilled enough to bear in mind that the person you are kneeing in the groin will be sitting next to you in the pub after training has ended! A skilled Karateka can deliver a controlled elbow strike to the face without causing damage to his opponent, who is also skilled enough to acknowledge that the blow, if delivered fully, would have caused severe damage. Randori is not an every day part of club training but something that each student must experience at some point for their own knowledge.

All forms of fighting test the body to it's limits. You work muscles and joints in strange and unusual ways, your mind has to be focused and clear, and, at the end of the day, it's a great way to work out all those frustrations, niggles and hassles of every day life that just seem to keep piling on top of you.  Have you ever wondered why people who train seriously in the martial arts for many years are so calm and laid back? 

Kobujutsu -  Way of Weapons (weapons training)

Our club is in the early stages of introducing this particular form of martial arts training and as such it is only available to senior brown and black belts.  We do not offer classes as such, but sessions are seen as a follow up to knowledge gained by attending courses and gradings taken by Senior Kobujutsu Instructors such as Sensei Julian Mead of the Ryukyu Kobujutsu Association of Great Britain.  It is recommended that you have a basic foundation in Karate before trying these sessions.

For more information about attaining an individual membership of the RKAGB please visit their Website.


Juniors warming up

Seniors Performing Kihons


Attacking and Blocking

Kumite - Fighting

Attack & Defence

Kobujutsu - Bo Kumite

Kobujutsu - Bo Kumite

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