Organizing your Kihon

I know, you don’t even like reading about Kihon, let alone practice it. As we are moving into testing time, we have been “brushing up” on our basics, and learning required kata and kihon for our ranks.

If you’re like me, I can find it difficult to think and react on the spot when Sensei asks me to perform a specific technique or move from a specific kyu. What are the blocks for 9th Kyu? Etc. Kata is a little better, because it’s a sequence of movements strung together, so the brain has a easier time with it.

Hanshi Steve Arneil, the founder and President of the International Federation of Karate (IFK), learned directly from Masutatsu Oyama and was a senior instructor in Mas Oyama’s International Karate Organization (IKO) until 1991, when he resigned from the IKO. He became the first person to complete the 100-man kumite after Mas Oyama himself.

Hanshi Arneil recognized the issue with remembering all the sempai-and-hanshirequirements for each rank. One of Hanshi Arneil’s goals for the IFK was consistency, so that every Kyokushin karateka in any country, at any dojo would perform the techniques and katas the same. Hanshi Arneil developed a systematic grading syllabus for the IFK and published a book on Kyokushin kata. With each grade, you are exposed to more techniques, and kata obviously, with increasing complexity.

The importance of this was brought home to us by Sensei Fogarasi. Most people don’t like running through all the basics, and would much rather be practicing for Kumite. While we do train for kumite, the emphasis hanshi-arneilis always on being a karateka first, and then on being a fighter. Everyone can do karate. Not everyone can be a fighter. However, as I mentioned, it can be difficult to remember everything, especially if you’re focusing more on kumite.

Sensei Fogarasi said to think of the syllabus as a computer filing system. Our brains hold so much files-foldersinformation, but unless there is a reference point, it can be difficult to access and bring forth the information we need. So, our brains, like a computer, stores things in it’s proper location, for referencing and cross referencing. If you ask a student to perform the blocks for 8th kyu, or what are the kicks in 7th, kyu, they might stumble with trying to remember. But, with the IFK syllabus they are like a “mini” kata. Each kyu catalogues the techniques for that rank, utilizing blocks, strikes, kicks. So, if you know your syllabus and are asked for a specific technique for 7th Kyu, you can access your file folder and quickly sort through the techniques. Simple, and yet brilliant.

So, while some might find the repetition of kihon boring, it pays dividends later wen you have to perform something specific from memory, that might have been from 4 kyus prior to where you currently are in your training.


IFK 4th Kyu Syllabus, as performed by Sensei Steve Fogarasi:


IFK 10, 9 & 8th Kyu Syllabus, as performed by Sempai Mici Fogarasi & Sensei Fogarasi:

Comments 3

  1. Andy Rotherham

    very well put, Osu 🙂 Hanshi has been working with us on some “linking” moves with stances too, have a look at the videos on the club web page, might be useful for you guys 🙂

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  3. Damian

    Hi guys! Great website you have here, the info is really helpfull.
    Now…my question might be off topic but I did not know exactly where to turn with this.

    I recently started practicing kyokushin at home. I follow the Kyokushinkai Honbu dojo syllabus.
    I have the info, technique, dojo etiquette, 10 rules of kyokushin, kihon,kata,etc.
    BUT…my problem is I do not know the order of the moves to be practiced.
    For example: first a strike . It is practiced static first, not moving in order to get the feel of the body, then in movement(sanchin dachi step or/and zenkutsu and step). Then a block ( I know it is improperly said ”ukeru” means to receive, ”uke” means a receiving,anyway…) Same principle as with the strike, not moving then moving, and I thing combo practice follows , as in uchi uke then gyaku tzuki, but from here on I’m shooting in the dark. Plus I did not find any combo drills, sanbon kumite drills, ippon kumite drills. (specific for mukyu level,white belt)

    It is like I have the parts of a car (all of them) but no schematics or user manual to put it toghether.
    I did research the web A LOT and nothing came up.

    If you could direct me to a web site or …I do not know where to get the info.
    It is really fustrating, I love martial arts but I feel like being in a maze. There needs to be order in my mind.

    Any help or guiding would be much apreciated.

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