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Warm-Up Exercises and Koshi

In most Karate schools a set of warm-up exercises are done before basics, kata, and other forms of training.   The set done in Matsubayashi-Ryu are pretty standard and are similar to those done in other systems.

Originally, most Karate warm-up exercises came from the Japanese military, which in turn got them from European military advisers in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

So here is my point -- the warm-up exercises often have very little to do with Karate.  In particular, with respect to our style (Kishaba Juku), the traditional warm-up exercises were not designed with koshi or koshi dynamics in mind -- they were not designed to improve the student's koshi.

This is important, at least to me.  One of the important aspects of training in Kishaba Juku is reshaping the body to be optimized for koshi/core driven mechanics.  Working the arms and legs is a very good thing, but working the core is also important.  And working the connections between the upper and lower body, and core and extremities, is essential.

The military advisers to the Japanese army over 100 years ago were not thinking about this.  We can.

I have been reformulating our warm-up exercises to help in the body reshaping process for our students.  I am still working on it.  I get this funny feeling that the exercises will make us more like Goju-Ryu and Uechi-Ryu students -- more alike physically and in posture.

And personally, once a student can do warm-up exercises properly, I would prefer that he warm up on his own so that we can get right into kata and training.  Kata is a preferable way to warm up, at least to me.  Why do  warm up before doing kata?  Why not just do kata to warm up?

But if we are going to teach warm-up exercises, it would be nice if the exercises could help us with body reshaping and body dynamics.


Charles C. Goodin