Hojo undō for the 21st Century Kyokushin Karate-ka

Sensei Fogarasi has been away for the past couple of weeks visiting Europe and class at Contact Kicks Dojo has been taught by a couple of the Senpai. The classes have been exceptionally grueling.  Last night’s was no exception. Osu!

Run by Senpai Alex, who is a brown belt with many years of experience not only in Karate, but as physical trainer, we knew it was going to be tough.

Senpai Alex and myself

Wheelbarrow WalkAfter a “light” warm up, we partnered up to do wheelbarrows up and down the dojo 2 x, followed by leapfrog for 4x the dojo, lengthwise. After this alone we were ready to fall over. But, we had just begun.

The technical portion of the night concentrated on kicking drills. With a partner we would travel, lengthwise, the dojo floor. One person holding pads, the other kicking. Mawashi-geri were the flavor of the evening. Gedan, chudan and jodan. Working with the partner, with concentration on technique and power. Senpai Alex was aware of our movements and always there to correct and encourage.

We also did tai-Sabaki type of drills, which were frustrating but really helped you work on your timing and precession.

It was an incredibly active hard evening, and just when we thought it was winding down, Senpai asked if we could stay an extra 10 mins. OSU!

We dragged out two Thai bags, a heavy bag, ez curl, medicine ball, and 35lbs dumbbells. We were in for circuit training or modern day Hojo undō! This is a Japanese term, which means “supplementary exercises”, that refers to the conditioning exercises specifically used in martial arts. Hojo undō training was designed to develop ambidextrous physical strength, stamina, muscle coordination, speed, and posture. Traditionally this style of training used simple, traditional devices, made from wood and stone.

30secs at each station, with only 5-10secs rest between, for 6X. It was brutal but oh so good. Stations, depending on where you started, included; shoulder presses with the bar while running or switching on the spot, jumping from one side of a bag to the other, slamming a 10lbs medicine ball against the wall, 35lbs dumbbell presses, independently, laying on a thai bag, followed by picking up a heavy bag, swinging onto your shoulder, droping to the ground, and repeating the other side. Did I mention each of these stations was 30secs?!

It not only tested you physically, but even more so mentally. Every part of your body wants to quit, but you drive yourself on. You become numb to the pain and almost in a meditative state you push onward.

6 times around, the whole circuit took around 15-18mins. It was a hard class physically and showed me that while I am getting older, I can still keep up with the youngers guys, and sometimes surpass them. I have to take full advantage of this while I can.

Kyokushin Karate has completely changed my body and mind. Before starting I thought I was in good shape, because I went to the gym 3 times a week and lifted. I was very very mistaken. Kyokushin is forging me into the man I have always wanted to be, and I am incredibly lucky to be living in a city with such a gifted teacher like Sensei Fogarasi. It is demonstrated not only in him, but his students as well.


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