MayoShinDo Karate is based on original Shotokan karate from Okinawa, and the Chinese martial arts of Hsing I, Ba Gua and Tai Chi Chuan. It is principally a striking art so we practise a wide range of techniques including punches, kicks, blocks, footwork and avoidance. We also practise falls and rolls, joint locks and general self-defence techniques.
Our whole style is about good technique and movement rather than force. A strike must be correctly targeted and must use the the whole body for the greatest effect, but must be done in a relaxed, fluid and controlled manner.
There is a set syllabus for each grade (belt colour). We operate a progressive grading system, meaning that with each new grade we practise new techniques, but everyone is also expected to get better at the ones we already know. This means that even higher Dan grades will still practise the techniques they learned for yellow belt, but will just be expected to perform them to a higher standard.
A typical class will start with about 15 minutes of warm-up exercises. There is no minimum fitness requirement, though. Anyone can do it. We then move on to practising a range of techniques in different ways. That might be individual practise with an imaginary opponent to learn a new technique or refine one you know, or could be partnered or group practise or could be hitting foam pads and punchbags. All our techniques and practise methods are designed to be safe and non-damaging to us as practitioners, so even the partnered practise is done in a controlled and cooperative manner with nobody getting hurt.
As well as individual techniques, we practise a number of ways of putting techniques together in practical combinations. For example, there are sequences of blocks and kicks, and of steps and blocks. We aso practise kata, which are set sequences of steps, blocks and strikes in different directions.
Junior sessions also include some games to liven things up, but all are relevant to the karate and still teach useful skills.