Adult Martial Arts

Regardless of whether you want to learn Martial Arts for self protection, for fitness, competition, for weight loss or simply for fun, we have a class suitable for you to train in.

Full details on Adults Classes

Kid’s Classes

childrens martial arts basingstokeAt our Academy, children not only learn self-defence skills, they learn much more from us. Martial Arts training with us is different, it’s fun, it’s exciting and as a life skill is invaluable.

Full details on Children's Classes

Snow Closure (Self Defence 101)

Written by bryan. Posted in Self Defence, Updates

Basingstoke Karate in Snow,

As of 11:30 on Monday 21st January, all classes are back to normal. If we get major snow later or tomorrow, then we will update both our website and also our Facebook page  www.facebook.com/pages/Shin-Gi-Tai-Martial-Arts-Academy/112582666226 with any changes to this.

 

 

Stay warm and stay safe.

 

Some information on snow safety from ITV.com 

Even a light snowfall, when coupled with below zero temperatures, can deposit sheet ice on road surfaces, resulting in roads like ice rinks. Snow and ice make road conditions extremely hazardous, so drivers are advised to stay home in the warm rather than risk driving unless their journey is absolutely essential. If you do have to drive, follow this advice:

– Allow plenty of extra time for your journey and drive carefully and steadily.

– Remember to allow extra space when manoeuvring your vehicle in slippery conditions.

– Ensure your windscreen, rear screen and mirrors are clear and give other drivers plenty of room as well.

– Keep an emergency kit of warm clothes, a shovel, food and drink, and a fully charged mobile phone in the car in case you get stuck in the snow.

– Don’t try and drive through flood water – you have no idea what debris may be underneath it.

 

If you fancy a walk in the fresh air, stay away from frozen water (e.g. ponds and lakes) and to emphasise the dangers to children and young people. While the ice may appear to be safe, it is often much thinner than it looks and it is very easy for people to get into difficulties. Dog walkers who attempt to save their pets are also putting their own lives at risk: if the ice isn’t strong enough to support the weight of a dog, it will not support your weight either.

 

Driving Conditions in Hampshire

Hampshire County Council says it’s salt barns are full with enough salt for 15 days of continuous, round-the-clock salting. Three thousand community salt bins have salt for people to spread on public roads and pavements, and around 100 farmers are on standby to assist with clearing roads of snow using snow ploughs if needed. As always during the winter season, salting lorries are ready to salt Priority 1 routes – roads that carry 85% of the county’s traffic – when temperatures are set to fall to zero or below. Other routes, including community routes to local primary schools, doctors surgeries and local shops will also be treated.

People are being warned that the ground is still saturated due to the significant amount of rain we have had during the winter season so far. Water run-off from fields and high ground has the potential to wash away the salt being spread by the salting lorries, so it is possible that rural roads could ice over when the temperatures drop. To minimise this, salt wicks (porous bags filled with salt) have been placed at known locations along the highway to maintain a salinity level in the flowing water to try and help prevent it from freezing on the road surface. Councillor Kendal, added: “If you have to travel, please follow advice on driving safely and check your local radio for news about the situation regarding public transport and traffic on the roads. Tread carefully if you are walking as it is likely to be slippery underfoot and cyclists are also asked to take extra care. It is advisable to leave extra time for your journey, if it cannot be postponed, and to ensure you’re prepared with warm clothing, a warm drink and snacks, a charged mobile phone – with your breakdown emergency number in your contacts – and plenty of fuel.”

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Does experience matter?

Written by bryan. Posted in Coaching, Martial Arts skills

Karate Instructor, GKR Basingstoke, GKR Region 38, Fort Hill, Everest, Go Kan Ryu, Go-Kan-Ryu, Shotokan, Wado, Shito, Goju, Karate in Basingstoke

Does experience matter?

From time to time that old chestnut pops up on the internet about people who are n’t Black belts teaching Martial Arts and whether this is an acceptable approach or not. The main thrust of the two arguments are:-
 

You don’t need to be a Black Belt to teach! 

The argument is that anyone can be a teacher of Martial Arts because its far more important that you can communicate well with people. Some systems proactively recruit junior students, in some cases with mere months of training experience to teach Karate or Taekwondo for them to an unsuspecting audience and this help them to grow their business or franchise.
 
Part of this argument is valid, in that in order to be a good teacher, you need to be a good communicator at many levels and in many different ways. In the past, I’ve seen people as high as 7th Dan, who technically were good at Karate, but were awful at teaching it and developing their students.

  You need to be a Black Belt to teach! 

The argument here is that in order to teach, one needs a certain level of technical knowledge and expertise, otherwise it becomes ‘monkey see – monkey do’ without any detailed technical depth of knowledge to back it up. As one progresses in Martial Arts practice, it becomes more demanding. Mentally with more things to learn, understand and develop and each year the person trains, they should develop new skills and enhance or even change existing ones. If they aren’t then they are simply doing White belt level Karate, even if they have been training for 15 years. I remember Vince Morris a well known Shotokan Karate 8th Dan asking us on a course about 28 years ago. “Have you trained for 15 years? Or have you trained for three years five times?” It took me a little while to understand the significance of his question, but after over 30 years of training, I find there is still so much more to learn.
 
People below black belt are unlikely to have the requisite depth of knowledge to be a competent and effective teacher, even if the syllabus that they teach is simplistic in the extreme.
 Part of this argument is correct, that you need to have a long term exposure to Martial Arts and be a senior grade before you can hope to teach it, perhaps I should caveat that and say teach it with any degree of depth or knowledge.

  What’s the reality?

In truth not only do you need to be an excellent communicator able to adapt to different learning styles, you also need to have a depth of technical knowledge and competence to back this up.
Martial Arts by virtue of what they are capable of doing can be dangerous for both the practitioner and also for their fellow practitioners if they are not taught correctly. This is due to the risk of poorly taught techniques causing severe long term chronic injuries to the practitioner or due to them injuring another student through inappropriate techniques. The other aspect to consider from a students perspective, particularly at the higher grade levels, is that in order to progress, its important to train with someone who is much better than you.
 I had a conversation with a friend of mine, who was ranked in Karate at Shodan (1st Dan) level, he told me about a conversation, he had with his instructor. He asked what more would he need to learn to achieve his Nidan (2nd Dan) and the reply was that the only difference was to learn a new Kata (A Kata is a sequence of moves, like a fighting dance.) Clearly something was amiss there, as the requirement was only to learn a new sequence of moves that he could already perform. Those clubs that encourage non black belts to teach are the ones that are typically part of a large business or a franchise model and are more interested in ££££ than developing good, competent students with a wealth of knowledge.
 So always ask what grade and experience the coach has with their Martial Arts. Don’t be fobbed of, by someone saying “my grade is Instructor.” If they say that, they are almost certainly not a Black Belt.
The other thing to consider is whether the teacher holds any recognised teaching/coaching qualification. As a minimum a good teacher must have a current First Aid qualification, hold an enhanced CRB form, have instructors insurance to teach you (don’t forget that the student should also have their own personal insurance too) and also hold a formally recognised external Martial Arts Coaching qualification. See the Martial Arts Standards Agency’s website for clear guidelines on what is and isn’t acceptable for an instructor. 
 Sport England’s Clubmark
 (Sport’s Quality Kitemark) say this about coaches:-

Coaching staff have a key role in establishing an appropriate coaching environment and creating a successful playing programme. All sports have to demonstrate that coaches are trained to appropriate levels and that the activity undertaken in the club reflects best practice in the development of young people. For example. coaches are required to ensure that young people do not train excessively or in conditions that may cause injury or discomfort. The emphasis within Clubmark is that coaches are supported in their professional development, so when new ideas or updates (e.g., LTAD) become available the NGB supports its coaches to understand and implement them.

Both coaches and students need to aware and mindful of what they are doing and who they are doing it with. Good training.

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“Stronger”-“Faster” Are they the most overused words in Karate?

Written by bryan. Posted in Coaching

Martial Arts secrets, taekwondo, Karate, Kung Fu, strength, flexibility

“Stronger” “Faster”

are two of the most overused words in Karate and usually without a correct understanding of the meaning behind the words.

 

Some of the best Karate-ka I have ever seen have come from a ballet or dance background. Sure the flexibility that is inherent in good practitioners of these disciplines helps, but that is not the main reason. In Karate we are often told to perform a technique “faster” or “stronger”

These overused soundbites are n’t usually used in the correct context and lead to many of us developing bad habits. So if we look at what they should really mean.

“Faster”

What this should really mean is to accelerate the technique more.

Speed of the technique at impact point is one (note that I say one *) of the reasons why a technique can be effective and will cause damage. So going faster is generally a good idea, but please remember, it is all about the acceleration of that technique to a maximum speed at it’s impact point without any deceleration.

* At a more senior level, other skills are developed which mean that speed is n’t quite as important. Timing and the way the technique is performed become just as useful tools.

“Stronger”

Now this is the tough one to look at. We are often told to “use more Kime” or to make the techniques as “Strong”  as we can.

Note Kime is defined by Wikipedia as “Kime is a commonly-used Japanese martial arts term. In karate it can mean “power” and/or “focus,” describing the instantaneous tensing at the correct moment during a technique.”

 

In reality we should be told to relax more not to make a technique stronger. 

Often the result of being told stronger / more kime is to make the Karate-ka contort and contract the muscles of the body in all sort of funny shapes in an effort to be strong. All this usually achieves is that the Karate-ka tenses all of their body muscles to take on the western ideals of strength and once this is done, any pretence of speed is lost. Ever tried to walk or even run whilst tensing your muscles? Not easy is it, unless you are happy looking like a robot.

 

Many instructors translation kime to their students as tension. This is not strictly correct, its really focus at the end of the technique. Now if you buy into the idea that Kime is necessary to make a techniques effective (and I don’t by the way + ) then what you have to achieve or at least initially, for newer students, aim to achieve, is that the technique and whole body is totally relaxed and fluid right until the moment of impact. Then for a micro second, you focus (tense) the whole body but immediately you have to go back to that state of relaxation.  If this is done correctly, it also helps the practitioner with the flow and speed of transition between techniques. The most common mistake being made here is that people are too tense for too long, its really not necessary and if you keep doing this you’ll never make it as a competent Karate-ka.

 

In order to be a competent Karate-ka you must flow between each and every technique, but each and every technique must be effective. Look at some of the Youtube videos of the likes of Asai or Kanazawa, they look and are smooth. A dancer understands this and can make their techniques flow, look at someone doing Tai Chi, they understand this concept, many Karate-ka (exponents of Karate) who have yet to ‘get there’ look at Tai Chi and see something performed slowly and without power and assume that that this means its only for health and is no good for self defence. Nothing could be further from the truth and I’d go as far to say that martial Tai Chi (ie Tai Chi not taught by some new age hippie type on a health trip) is a very good martial art both in terms of the principles it teaches and also the moves you learn. Many Karate-ka would benefit hugely from practising it. I’d also go as far to say that Tai Chi is harder to learn and practise than Karate, due to the softness required.

So to summarise the main messages here. Relaxation is key, from relaxation stems speed and power.

If Tai Chi was easy it would be called Karate ;-). You may not practise Martial Tai Chi, but all the principles in Tai Chi exist in Karate, if its taught and practised well. Karate and Tai Chi are the same fundamentally in what they teach. The biggest difference is that in many schools Karate always is ‘stronger and faster.’ You could say that Tai Chi is the thinking persons martial art as students are training to think for themselves and to be always mindful of what they are doing and how they are doing it.

Why not try some Karate kata at ‘Tai Chi speed’ or do some pushing hands to learn to be more relaxed.

 

Enjoy your training.

+ I mentioned that I don’t buy into Kime being necessary for effective techniques. What Kime actually does is to stop the flow of a movement right at the moment of impact. It’s a bit of a contradiction don’t you think being told that you have to accelerate faster but then just as you hit the target you have to slow the technique down by using Kime? I know, I’d finished the article but could n’t resist the final curve ball 😎 Have a look at this clip of boxing knockouts. Is there much use of Kime within it?

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Martial Arts Standards Agency British Judo British Council for Chinese Martial Arts – National Governing Body The World Union of Karate Federations Shi Kon Martial Arts British Council for Chinese Martial Arts – National Governing Body

Contact Us

Telephone (01256) 364104.

Email: info@basingstokekarate.com.

Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy,
The Annex @ ITT Industries,
Jays Close,
Basingstoke,
RG22 4BA