karate in North london and Herts
Karate at it’s best in North London – classes in Traditional Karate and Self Defence in Southgate, Potters Bar, Hadley Wood, Enfield and Cockfosters. By high a ranking 6th Dan Black Belt. Beginner and Advanced students welcome. Children and Adults. From 3 to 90+.We welcome all nationalities.
All gradings for coloured and black belts taken at the club with a friendly club atmosphere
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The origin of karate dates back more than a thousand years. When Daruma Taishi was at the Shaolin monastery in China, he taught his students physical training methods in order to build endurance and physical strength required to carry out the rigid discipline that was part of their religion. This physical training method was further developed and adapted to become what is known today as the Shaolin art of fighting.
The martial art was imported to Okinawa and blended with the indigenous fighting techniques of the islands also known as Te. The lord of ancient Okinawa and later the feudal lord of Kagoshima, on the southernmost tip of Kyushu in Japan, banned the use of weapons, thus giving rise to the development of “empty hand” fighting and self – defense techniques. This martial art, due to its Chinese origin, was called karate, written in characters with the literal meaning “Chinese hand.”
The modern master of this art, Gichin Funakoshi, however, chose the character for its meaning in Zen Bhuddist philosophy: “rendering oneself empty.” To the master, karate was a martial art, but it was also a means of building character. Master Funakoshi wrote: “As a mirror’s polished surface reflects whatever stands before it and a quiet valley carries even the smallest sounds, so must the student of karate render his mind empty of selfishness and wickedness in an effort to react appropriately toward anything he might encounter. This is the true meaning of kara or ’empty’ of karate.”
Funakoshi was first introduced to the Japanese public in 1922, when he was the then professor at the Okinawa Teacher’s College, was invited to lecture and demonstrate at an exhibition of traditional martial arts sponsored by the Ministry of Education. His demonstration so impressed the audience that he was flooded with requests to teach in Tokyo. Instead of returning to Okinawa, Funakoshi taught karate at various universities and at the Kodokan, the mecca of Judo, until he was able to establish the Shotokan in 1936, a great landmark in the history of karate in Japan.
The Japan Karate Association was established in 1955 with Funakoshi as chief instructor. At this time, the organization had only a few members and a handful of instructors who had studied karate under the then aged master. In 1958 the Association held the first all-Japan karate championship tournament, now an annual event, helping to establish karate as a competitive sport.
As a practical means of self-defense, karate is taught in a great number of colleges and universities in their physical education programs. In Japan and elsewhere in the world, moreover, karate is gaining great popularity as a competitive sport, one which stresses mental discipline as well as physical prowess. What was originally developed in the Orient as a martial art, then, has survived and changed through the centuries to become not only a highly effective means of unarmed self-defence, but also an exciting, challenging sport.
‘Dojo Kun’, or training code, which not only ensures a disciplined training environment, but serves as a tool for moulding behaviour, so that a true Karateka will fight with words and only employ physical violence as a last resort.
The Samurai Code Zen was introduced into Japan in the twelfth century. Championed by Hojo Tokimune, who led the defeat of repeated Mongolian invasions, Zen became firmly established amongst the samurai warrior classes.
Reflecting the basic nature of goodness underlying all things, the Warrior is devoted to the spiritual welfare of the world at large, vigilantly defending peace, justice and humanity.
“Although it stands to reason that a samurai should be mindful of the Way of the Samurai, it would seem that we are all negligent. Consequently, if someone were to ask, “What is the true meaning of the Way of the Samurai?” the person who would be able to answer promptly is rare. This is because it has not been established in one’s mind beforehand. From this, one’s unmindfulness of the Way can be known. Negligence is an extreme thing” .
Nowadays it is virtually a cliche to say “Karate-do is a way of life/a lifestyle”, but very few really know what they are talking about and actually explain their words. In Shotokan Karate you obtain, through a rigorous training, a knowledge about yourself, that in our hedonistic present materialistic culture, is very hard to obtain.
This knowledge gives you the tools with which you can face any critical situation in your life. You can then confront them calmly, firmly and with an unusual success. But it not only expresses itself in crisis, furthermore in any activity, the spirit of excelling and the self-knowledge attained give you better tools to achieve a better life.
I WATCHED in horror as a 10-year-old boy picked up his friend and threw him onto the tarmac playground. The victim lay groaning on his back, his face contorted in agony. A lunchtime supervisor rushed up to the boy still standing and demanded to know what he was doing. Even before he opened his mouth I know what he was going to say – “But we’re only playing, Miss.” “What do you mean, ‘only playing?'” she gasped, “that’s not playing.” I knew what he would say next as well. “We are Miss, it’s WWF.” (World Wrestling Federation for the uninitiated.)
Like thousands of children – girls as well as boys – these two had incorporated “fighting” scenes from television, film and sport into their play. And, like thousands of others, they did so without injury. As the supervisor approached, the “victim” jumped to his feet – he was only acting hurt.
If young children participate in kick-boxing, younger viewers will watch and others will get to hear about it. Make no mistake, some children will copy what they have seen or have heard about. And although most children who play-fight don’t get hurt, some do, and a few are hurt badly. Young children simply do not have the motor coordination required to execute kick-boxing manoeuvres safely. They might intend to stop a kick before it reaches a friend’s stomach but may not be able to do so every time. Children who copy kick-boxing in the playground or the street will not be supervised or protected with padding unlike those involved in clubs and contests.
There are other dangers. Children are not the same as adults – they only slowly develop an appreciation that kicking someone in real life has more serious (and painful) consequences than doing so in a film … or a kick – boxing bout. Playful fighting and contact sports such as kick-boxing are important in allowing children to develop this appreciation, as well as self-control, and I do not advocate a ban on such activities. However, kick-boxing for five-year-olds may be too much too soon.
My most serious concern is that some children – participants or onlookers – could mistakenly think that adults are endorsing physical aggression by encouraging children to engage in such sports. Studies I have carried out have shown me that young children often find it hard to appreciate the difference between fighting that is truly aggressive and fighting that is done in the spirit of play and sport. While most children get better at making this distinction with age, some do not. These individuals have a higher-than-average propensity to become aggressive or bullying to their peers. They might be particularly likely to form a distorted view of the nature of child kick-boxing.
My concerns are not directed at the girls involved in this contest. Their parents would not place them in any physical danger. But I am worried more generally. As with violence on film or television, we owe it to our children to consider the cumulative impact on their developing attitudes
Karate on the other hand is known to have good control and discipline.