KCL Karate works with its mother organisation, SHINBOKU, to provide an array of classes. In addition to Shotokan Karate, we run K fit; a fun and interactive high intensity fitness class with combative elements and great music, and Street Safe; a basic but comprehensive self-defence course run by our experienced instructors, which will be running in conjunction with KCLSU’s BeActive programme this year. Members of KCL Karate are welcome to attend any combination of these classes, which complement each other well. We have a fantastic team of skilled SHINBOKU instructors who work relentlessly to teach and encourage students on a personal level from day one and will coach for anyone interested in competing throughout the year – Train Hard, Fight Easy!
Karate itself holds a variety of different aspects.
Kata: a series of choreographed movements, which have applications in self-defence and combat (known as Bunkai). In a further development of this, we also teach extensive self-defence techniques with the view that all of our members can effectively defend themselves should they find themselves in a situation to warrant such skills. This includes common attacks such as hook punches, slaps, grabs, bear hugs, chokes, kicks, knife attacks and baseball bats.
In contrast to kata we also train in Kumite: sports karate, which is currently under petition to become an Olympic sport for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Both this sparring style of karate and the Kata form the basis for competitions nationally and worldwide, including our annual BUCS, for which we train a KCL squad. Our SHINBOKU Warriors squad train to compete throughout the year.
Within our annual competitions is the Art of Movement, run by SHINBOKU: an open Kata competition which invites clubs from all over the country to come together and compete, unrestricted by karate style, to represent an elegant demonstration of fighting skills where power, speed and coordination are combined in a graceful manner. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet students from other clubs and see a wide array of different Kata and styles.
Randori (ground fighting) is another element to our training. Great for fitness and incorporating a wide spectrum of interesting applications, ground fighting is an essential element of self-defence, and often not included in some traditional karate clubs. We also integrate a small amount of weapons training, both in terms of traditional Karate (known as Kobudo) and in respect to basic self-defence.
In addition to competitions and multiple training sessions during the week, every summer the instructors run a week’s training camp (Gashuku) outside of London (usually involving group camping) to explore new Karate aspects and develop the students in their own learning journeys. This year’s Gashuku is venturing to the far reaches of the Isle of Wight! We also have guest instructors visiting our dojo (training space) to give seminars; the most recent from world champion, Pawel Bombolewski, who delivered an inspirational Kumite session, incorporating a range of dynamic fitness exercises with impressive techniques, working fantastically with all of the students. The session was received with great enthusiasm and received excellent feedback from all who attended.
K-fit comprises a fantastic programme consisting of high intensity interval training as a basis for cardio, core fitness, general toning and combat style pad work, utilising punches and kicking as both fitness and great stress relief! This is all set to motivational, pumping music from the K-fit playlist, which can be added to by the members themselves, guaranteed to inspire that extra hard work and sweat. Whilst this class is of high intensity, the pace is set by each individual themselves – you can work as hard as you want and take breaks whenever you need to, there is no pressure, only encouragement. A great overall workout for all starting levels looking to improve their fitness, strength and balance. This class is a great complement to other sports and martial arts.
Street safe is in itself a separate class run by our instructors. This course focuses more on simple and effective self-defence and is taught in a more relaxed atmosphere, where students are encouraged to attend wearing normal clothes, as they would be in a real life situation. The course has a progressive structure ranging from how to get out of grabs to chokes and defence from weapon assault. Our instructors are highly competent and have experienced the need for effective self-defence first hand – they really have been there. This class is a great opportunity to learn some basic self-defence skills and meet more people in London!
But it’s not all hard work and training! Instructors and students from all the classes are often found at the nearest pub after training. We also have regular socials throughout the year, with students coming together from all of our classes. These include Fresher’s initiations, Halloween night, Christmas party and Burn’s Night supper, which are always popular and promise to be filled with top class banter and memories.
Continue to next page to read about the club’s fundation and members anecdotes!