The origins of Karate are in the ancient middle east where monks were not allowed to bear arms and had to develop techniques to defend themselves. Going east, they not only established monasteries but also numerable styles of kung-fu. Through trade those martial arts came to the Kingdom of Ryukyu, today called Okinawa. These arts were further developed and called Te/Ti (Hand). Masters started to teach and open schools. Chojun Miyagi was one of these masters. Influenced by the Kung-Fu styles of southern China, he developed a Karate style he later called Goju-Ryu (the school of hard and soft), which we teach at the Karateschool Renshinkai.
As a martial art, Karate's primary goal is self-defense. It contains a series of techniques, in particular kicking, punching and blocking. Ultimately, Karate helps you to neutralize an attacker as effectively and efficiently as possible. In addition, Karate is a fantastic way to keep you fit, fostering your strength, cardio, stretching and endurance.
Mental strength is key for Karate practitioners. The complex movements both, with hands and feet, foster coordination abilities. Pairs exercising with each other through attack and defense require focus and attention, as everyone must concentrate and their own movements and the opponent. To achieve this, we must take distance from our everyday activities and what bothers us and empty the mind, for which we start the practice with a short meditation at the beginning.
Karate is also a sport. At tournaments, athletes compete in Kata
Kata (form) is a series of clearly defined techniques and movements against imaginary opponents. Body movements, positions and techniques will be perfectioned and done with power and speed. In a Kata tournament, the performance will be measured with grades similar to figure skating.
Kumite is a two-person combat. Traditional Karate is a non-contact martial art and the opponents need to stop their techniques shortly before the other's body. Winning strikes will be awarded points by referees.
Tournaments simulate real world situations and are excellent to practice under difficult conditions what was learnt. At the Karate School Renshinkai we practice traditional Karate and preparing for tournaments is not at the center of our teaching.
Companionship is very important in Karate, contrary to a common belief. You cannot learn, let alone succeed, without partners who help you realize and eliminate your shortcomings. So, we get to know ourselves and the others well and nourish these personal bonds also outside in quieter moments.
Karate leads to a wealth of experiences for mind and body. It develops the personality and teaches many useful things for work and life. Karate-do, the way of practicing Karate, may only be done for a short period or for the entire life. It will always have a great impact!