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What happens during a lesson?

Reishiki - (opening ceremony)
Traditional Karate always starts and ends with courtesy. Therefore a traditional bowing ceremony precedes the beginning and end of each lesson.

Mokuso - (meditation)
Usually there is a few minutes, sometimes longer, spent on meditation practice to prepare the mind for the lesson ahead.

Taiso - (Warm up exercises)
A typical lesson would consist of a warm up to ensure that muscles and tendons of the body are warm enough so that the risk of injury to yourself is minimized. There will also be strength and stamina building exercises.

Kihon Waza - (basic techniques)
The basic techniques of karate usually always follow the warm up. These will include punching, kicking, blocking, stances and basic combination movements.

Karate student stretching image

Karate student stretching before class

Kumite - (partner work)
The literal translation of kumite is "meeting of hands" and it is usually translated as "sparring". This practice with a partner is usually in the form of pre-arranged attacks and defences using the techniques developed in kihon waza. Practice with a partner allows the student to develop the proper speed, timing and distance for effective technique.

Kata - (formal exercise / forms)
This term is usually translated as "formal exercise". Kata is a set of prescribed, precise techniques that both encompass and transcend the aspects of karate learned in kihon waza and kumite. Kata has been described as the soul of traditional karate. It is sufficient for the beginner to understand that the kata will ultimately become the core of his or her training in traditional karate-do.

Kata bunkai
Kata bunkai is the application of the techniques within a kata performed in a controlled manner with a partner. The instructor will usually show an interpretation of a move within the kata for the student to practise, but often bunkai has to be 'found' by the student once a certain level of experience is gained.

Warm down
To cool the muscles to reduce stiffness

Mokuso (meditation)
Usually there is a few minutes spent on meditation practice to calm the mind after the lesson.

Reishiki - (closing ceremony)
Traditional bowing ceremony at the end of the lesson.

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