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Chris Smith's
      Shotokan Karate!
Affiliate Club: Monroe, LA
Bayou State Karate Club

Instructors - Kihon & Kata - Kumite - About Shotokan
Instructor - Sensei Chris Smith

30+ Years Shotokan Training

Owner and Chief Instructor

Trained under ...
Master Takayuki Mikami
9th Dan JKA

Instructor - Sensei Bill Jones

30+ Years Shotokan Training

Chief Instructor

Instructor - Sensei Mike Garland

20+ Years Shotokan Training


Instructor - Sensei Rick Rushing

7+ Years Shotokan Training


Instructor - Sempai Shelby Smith

8+ Years Shotokan Training


Kihon (Basics) & Kata

Kihon (Basics) are one of the foundations of Shotokan Karate. At Chris Smith Shotokan Karate, we stress the basics along with Kata (Forms) and Kumite (Sparring). Without good basics, students do not get the solid grounding that they need to succeed in karate and in life. Consider this, professional sports athletes practice the basics over and over in order to become better at their particular sport. At Chris Smith Shotokan Karate, we feel that the same type of repitition is necessary to become a good karateka (karate practicioner).

Kata (Forms) is also knowns as forms. There are 26 in the Shotokan style that are composed of different techniques performed at different speeds. Each movement in each kata has a practical application that can be demonstrated. Like other sports drills, kata is important to the development of the student. Chris Smith Shotokan Karate stresses kata along with the other foundations Kihon (Basics) and Kumite (Sparring). By developing and strengthening each of these 3 foundations, a karate student can excel in karate as well as in their own personal life.

Kumite (Sparring)

Kumite (Sparring)
Kumite is the actual practice of fighting in a controlled manner. Kumite techniques mirror the stances and movements of the basic level, but are less structured, with a focus instead on speed and efficiency. While each and every technique can be dangerous if not controlled, the instructors at Chris Smith Shotokan Karate stress safety in sparring. In tournaments, sparring is controlled and matches are decided by points earned by a combatant executing a technique successfully. All combatants wear protective gear during matches to help prtect against injury because this is training in action. In essence, sparring is similar to playing chess. It requires strategy as well as focus on the basics.

Shotokan History

Shotokan is a style of karate, developed from various martial arts by Gichin Funakoshi (1868 - 1957) and his son Gigo (Yoshitaka) Funakoshi (1906 - 1945). Gichin was born in Okinawa and is widely credited with popularizing karate through a series of public demonstrations, and by promoting the development of university karate clubs, including those at Keio, Waseda, Hitotsubashi (Shodai), Takushoku, Chuo, Gakushuin, and Hosei.

Funakoshi had many students at the university clubs and outside dojos, who continued to teach karate after his death in 1957. However, internal disagreements (in particular the notion that competition is contrary to the essence of karate) led to the creation of different organizations - including an initial split between the Japan Karate Association (headed by Masatoshi Nakayama) and the Shotokai (headed by Motonobu Hironishi and Shigeru Egami), followed by many others - so that today there is no single "Shotokan School", although they all bear Funakoshi's influence. Being one of the first and biggest styles, Shotokan is considered a traditional and influential form of karate. Karate Etiquette

Shotokan training is usually divided into three parts: kihon (basics), kata (forms or patterns of moves), and kumite (sparring). Techniques in kihon and kata are characterized by deep, long stances that provide stability, enable powerful movements, and strengthen the legs. Shotokan is often regarded as a 'hard' and 'external' martial art because it is taught that way to beginners and colored belts to develop strong basic techniques and stances. Initially strength and power are demonstrated instead of slower, more flowing motions. Those who progress to brown and black belt level develop a much more fluid style that incorporates grappling and some aikido-like techniques, which can be found in the black belt katas. Kumite techniques mirror these stances and movements at a basic level, but are less structured, with a focus instead on speed and efficiency.

Shotokan Philosophy

Gichin Funakoshi laid out the Twenty Precepts of Karate, (or Niju kun) which form the foundations of the art, before some of his students established the JKA. Within these twenty principles, based heavily on Bushido and Zen, lies the philosophy of Shotokan. The principles allude to notions of humility, respect, compassion, patience, and both an inward and outward calmness. It was Funakoshi's belief that through karate practice and observation of these 20 principles, the karateka would improve their person. 20 Principles

The Dojo kun lists five philosophical rules for training in the dojo; seek perfection of character, be faithful, endeavor to excel, respect others, refrain from violent behavior. The Dojo kun is usually posted on a wall in the dojo, and some shotokan clubs recite the Dojo kun at the beginning and/or end of each class to provide motivation and a context for further training.

Funakoshi also wrote: "The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of the participant."