Karate draws people from all walks of life – young and not-so-young, students and retirees, men and women, of all shapes and sizes. But why take our word for it? In this series, we hold a quick Q&A with our students to find out about them.
We catch up with one of our students, Li Qian, 30, who joined in 2016 and is a brown belt at the time of this post!
1. Why did you join Ashihara Karate?
I grew up with watching TV shows of Jin Yong’s martial art novels, and Jet Li and Jackie Chan’s action movies, I always had a dream of learning martial arts and becoming a “fighting hero”. However, this dream only came true after I started to work and gained more independence.
As to why I picked Ashihara Karate, it was because I thought the Gi and the whole culture of karate looks pretty cool, and Ashihara Karate was said to be very practical (which makes it even cooler for me).
2. What is your favourite part of learning karate?
My favourite part of learning karate is that it not only trains your body but also trains your mind. It makes me more confident, more aware, and even calmer. It makes me a generally better person, on top of just making me physically stronger and better at “fighting people”.
3. What’s your target/goal in class
My primary goal in karate now might be improving my flexibility. The more I learn it, the more I realise how important flexibility is for better performance. Also, better flexibility makes a person healthier, and less prone to injuries, which is important for martial art training.
Osu! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Li Qian!
Look out for more Q&As with our students in the coming months.
Why is this? I seem to remember that when I first began to study karate, I felt the same way, but I told myself that kata were the essence of karate technique, simplified and perfected by many experts before, so naturally they were bound to prove useful in a real fight.
Unfortunately, after all these years of study, if you asked me whether kata did prove of any use, I would honestly be at a loss to give a positive answer.
With this in mind, I re-examined traditional kata in the light of the rationale I first explained in the preface of this book; that is, the continuing improvement in martial arts techniques.
Up till now, the theory behind kata (and karate in general) seems to have been to move faster than the opponent; even if you got hurt, it was acceptable as long as you could inflict more damage on the other person.
Taking this into consideration, it is no wonder that traditional kata can be thought of as worthless for real fighting. I believe that what the karate masters of old left us is fine, and should be preserved, but it is the martial arts and karate experts of our day who are responsible for studying, thinking, and practicing in order to create new techniques which are suited to our age and useful in real fighting."
~ Excerpt from 'Fighting Karate', by Ashihara Hideyuki