By Julian Forbes
Founder of Karate Athlete, Inc.
This is the backbone of the Karate Athlete website. This combined with the Sports Medicine and Nutrition sections are what this site is all about. We hope to have found a structure which is as simple and informative as possible. You can however expect frequent changes as we develop, and being the athletes we are, continue to pursue excellence.
By the way, for you kata practitioners, if this site appears to be geared towards the kumite athlete, you are correct. However, before you start getting offended, let me explain. There are two reasons for this. The first is that that is what my specialty is. The second reason, more importantly, is that kumite is far more demanding physically on an athlete than kata. Having said that, the exercises, drills, Sports Medicine and Science, still very much apply to the kata competitor. You will develop more explosive power, speed and fitness which will translate to sharper, cleaner and more powerfully executed techniques. So don’t be offended at the apparent bias towards those “brawling” kumite types, but rather take their experience and use it to your benefit… Now that’s strategy… Musashi would have been proud… (If you don’t know who Miyamoto Musashi was and are a Martial Artist, feel free to smack yourself now….)
O.K., now lets get serious… As I repeatedly mention throughout this site we are each individuals with different body types and skills. For example, it is unlikely that a 6’5″, 220 lb athlete is going to perform certain techniques in exactly the same way as a 5’8″, 160 lb athlete. Each must analyse his or her strengths and weaknesses. For this a good coach is great, but you should also be able to analyse yourself, either by using a mirror to watch your execution of techniques, watching video footage, or the old fashion way, by just feeling the technique is wrong… Obviously, this requires experience in knowing what it should look and feel like in the first place, but even a beginer can watch a teacher perform a technique and be able to compare it to their own execution.
By the way, for those of you that are beginners or just not all that experienced… one word of wisdom regarding techniques… any technique… if you can execute a technique time and time again in slow motion, doing it fast comes easy. Too many beginners rush to do techniques full speed which leads to sloppy execution and an impairment of the “perfection of technique curve” as you’re less likely to see what you’re doing wrong at high speed. You’ll find that even Champions often do slow motion drills to continue to work on what might to others seem like already perfect techniques. That’s one of the things that makes them Champions, never becoming complacent and always striving to get better.
So, where am I going with all of this? “User advice”, I suppose would be the best way to call it. I have assembled athletes from different parts of the world, with different body types and make ups so as to have a diverse spread of input here. No matter what your body type or what your specific talents or skills are, you should be able to find people here that you have things in common with from a physiological standpoint and you can therefore then study the things that worked for them. See if they work for you.
Having said that… if say you are a lightweight, do NOT ignore input from heavyweights just because you think their training strategies may not apply to your body make up… I am a Middleweight athlete (-75 kg), and have been trained almost entirely by Heavyweights and Light-Heavyweights. While there are distinct differences in fighting strategies, the physical training aspects are on the whole the same. Variations would mostly come in when exercising favorite techniques on focus pads or sparring drills. Both athletes need to maximize strength, speed, explossive energy, flexibility, power and endurance. So while the Favorite Techniques may vary, and I say “may”, the physiological optimization part of the training is the same… oooh…. I like that… “physiological optimization” …. I’m good at this writing thing, huh? Anyway, my point is that ANYONE can potentially have useful information for you. You just need to absorb it all and make your own decisions on what might work for you. Remember, usually, Heavyweights fight Heavyweights, Lightweights fight Lightweights (except in Open divisions), so their techniques may not vary from weight class to weight class as much as one might imagine at first.