Akoi Karate-do
Organization [AKO]
Kihon

   کیهۆن   Kihon




Karate is a system of fighting using the hands, feet, head, knees, and elbows as weapons. Karate was developed on the island of Okinawa and brought to Japan in the early 20th Century. Karate is a high yield martial art with an emphasis on maximizing the damage caused by each strike by harnessing every possible ounce of physical and mental leverage to exceed the normal limitations of the practitioner.

Shotokan Karate is recognizable by its linear, direct punching, blocking, and kicking techniques from low stances. Shotokan emphasizes correct posture, correct joint alignment, and formality of basic technique above all else. The Shotokan expert is expected to perform using strictly defined basic techniques even under harsh conditions. Basic techniques are defined to the minutest detail, and performing them with absolute perfection is given the highest priority. The intrinsic mastery of one’s body dynamics to generate fantastic amounts of power is really what sets Shotokan Karate apart from other styles. The modern science of Biomechanics and Sports Medicine has been fused with ancient Japanese and Okinawan training methods to produce one of the most powerful Martial Arts in Human history.

The Shotokan view is that purity of raw technique is most important. The idea behind this is that one elegant technique mastered so completely that it is as natural as flipping a light switch will finish off the opponent quickly and efficiently. In situations where there are multiple opponents, such an ability is believed essential because there may not be time to throw more than one technique per opponent, and grappling and getting tangled up with your adversary when two others are also trying to harm you is probably unwise. Therefore, each Karate technique is maximized at the expense of learning more complicated defenses. In combat, less is usually more. Simple techniques win (physical, mental and emotional) engagements. The Shotokan belief is that nothing is more important than strong basic technique.

When attacked, Shotokan fighters stand their ground. They may shift one step to the side in order to flank the attacker, but the most common defense used is a pre-emptive strike against an incoming opponent. While Shotokan is simple and does not employ a wide variety of motions, the few techniques are designed to be mastered to such a high degree of precision and ease of use that they "truly" become extremely effective weapons.

Shotokan founder Gichin Funakoshi has said, "The mind and the technique become one in true Karate-Do." We strive to make our physical techniques pure expressions of our mind's intention, and to improve our mind's focus by understanding the essence of the physical techniques. By polishing our Karate practice, we are polishing our own character and spirit. For example, eliminating weak and indecisive movements in our Karate helps us to eliminate weakness and indecision in our minds--and vice versa.

It is in this sense that Karate becomes a way of life, as we try to become very strong but happy and peaceful people.


Akoi with shihan Y. Osaka JKA Instructor,
during the JKA's Camp in Gent - Belgium july 2000


Kihon

Kihon is the practice of fundamental techniques: blocking, punching, striking, and kicking. These techniques are the beginning and end of karate -- a karateka (practitioner of karate) may learn them in a matter of months, yet fail to master them after a life's worth of training. Hence, basic techniques demand regular practice, applied with as much concentration and effort as possible.

Form and technique

Balance and stability are necessary to basic techniques. Kicking -- in which one leg supports the entire body -- is an example of technique that depends on the karateka's sense of balance. Karate movements involve shifting the body's center of gravity, which demands good balance and control of the body. In addition, the karateka requires stable joints, stances, and posture to deliver (or withstand) maximum impact in (or from) a blow.

 
Power and speed

Karate would be meaningless without kime, the ability to concentrate the greatest amount of force at the point of attack (or block). Those with great muscular strength do not excel at karate, if they never learn to use their muscles to the greatest effect. The karateka who excels, does so by maximizing her muscular power through kime. In addition, the karateka's power is directly related to the speed of her techniques. However, speed is ineffective without proper control.

Concentration and relaxation of power 

The karateka cannot generate maximum power if her punches rely on the arm's muscles alone, or her kicks on the leg's muscles alone. The greatest level of power comes from concentrating all of the karateka's strength, from every part of the body, on the target. In addition, the karateka must generate power efficiently, using power when and where it is needed. Maximum power is required only at the point of impact. Until then, the karateka should stay relaxed and avoid generating unnecessary power. By tensing the wrong parts of the body or tensing at the wrong time, the karateka only diminishes the amount of power that goes into her block or attack. While she is relaxed, the karateka should stay mentally alert.

Strengthening muscle power

The karateka must not only understand the principles of kihon, she must give them effect with strong, elastic muscles. Strong muscles demand constant, earnest training. They also require the karateka to know which muscles to use in her techniques: well-trained muscles will lead to strong and effective karate.

Rhythm and timing

Karate has its own rhythm that karateka should come to recognize and understand. No technique takes place in isolation; in combining basic techniques, the karateka should pay attention to the timing of her techniques as well as the techniques themselves. A master karateka's movements not only contain a great deal of power but also rhythm and, in their own way, beauty. A sense of rhythm and timing will help the karateka understand the techniques and the art in general.

Hips

The hips are a crucial, yet oft-neglected component in executing karate techniques. Hip rotation adds power to the upper body, and is thus essential to strong blocks and punches. The hips' proximity to the body's center of gravity make them the foundation of strong, stable movements, good balance, and proper form. The karateka cannot move as smoothly, quickly, or powerfully if the hips are passive. For this reason, teachers often remind their students to "block with your hips," "punch with your hips," and "kick from your hips." 
 
Breathing

The karateka should coordinate breathing with her techniques. Breathing enhances the karateka's ability to relax and concentrate maximum power in her techniques. Correct breathing -- fully exhaling when finishing a strike, for example -- is necessary to developing kime. The karateka should not breathe in a uniform manner; her breathing should change with the situation. Proper inhaling fills the lungs completely. Proper exhaling leaves the lungs about 20 percent full -- exhaling completely makes the body limp, leaving the karateka vulnerable to even a weak attack.

The karateka must not only understand the principles of kihon, she must give them effect with strong, elastic muscles. Strong muscles demand constant, earnest training. They also require the karateka to know which muscles to use in her techniques: well-trained muscles will lead to strong and effective karate.

300
Shihan Dr. Shakhawan K. Akoi
in Erbil Capital City of Kurdistan /North of Iraq