Friday, April 27, 2012


We count a lot in karate class.

In the beginner classes, it is an easy way to keep everyone together and practice safely.  Counting/pausing gives the instructor an opportunity to view the class and offer corrections.  We practice kata to a count, we count during drills and basics and we count turns when working with a partner.   Counting becomes less evident in the advanced classes and almost non-existent in the black belt class.

There is a downside to counting.  It gives the students an unnatural beat or tempo to execute their techniques.

block down...pause...punch...pause...step...pause.

We were working on tempo this week in the dojo.  The goal was to accelerate the beat and break out of the monotone count of a kata.

one,two,,, two, three....
block down, punch, step...pause...knife hand, punch...pause...kosa, step, block down

The class noticed they had preferences and certain kata were easier for them to break free of the standard count.   The dojo will be working on this concept again next week and in the upcoming months.

A big thanks to Kyoshi Baer for the training suggestion at a recent seminar!


Yamabushi said...

Great article. This is a problem I think everyone falls into in class. The goal of the count should be like a starting pistol at a race - you need to be ready to move, and explode as soon as the count is given. By staggering the counting it helps instil this in the student. But the student must focus on that mindset and maintain it to get the most benefit.

Just my two cents.

Felicia said...

Ha! Karate by the numbers! That step-pause-execute-pause thing makes it easier to learn but difficult to make "flow."

But I do agree that the count should help prepare for the next move and the explosiveness of it. But sometimes, folks get lost in the count. I totally feel you on that one, Michele.

Sounds like a great drill :-)

Michele said...

Thanks for commenting!

Yamabushi: Yes...the right mindset! Thanks.

Felicia: is diffult to teach "flow". Perhaps it just takes time...