Everyone trains for different reasons for training, and Hu Shin Kai acknowledges that. Hu Shin Kai starts everyone with casual introductory classes, but each session will be often divided into different groups based on the demography of the attendees: Intensity, age group, ranks, and etc... The decision on which group to train in is usually instructor's decision. The desire to train in different groups may be discussed with the instructors, and the decision by the instructors must be ultimately respected by the members (and their guardians). The grouping may not be permanent, and it changes based on members' condition. Generally speaking, there are following categories:
1. Entertainment ad Fitness : Regardless of the age, most of the people would like to learn casual level of martial arts tradition, culture, and skills. This is where everyone starts, and many people stay in this category.
2. Competitive: Competition is an exciting part of Karate. Many young members strive to do best in competition, and training is usually physically demanding.
3. Martial Arts: Martial Arts is not only about techniques and physical abilities. Not only physical aspect of the Karate is trained, non-physical part of Karate is expected to be acquired to be a Martial Artist. This is definitely not for everyone, and usually taught by invitation-only. The instruction will reach into manners, personality, behavior, and beyond, so the members and their guardians must be fully aware and agree to such instruction prior to the enrollment if asked to attend the class.
There is no written guidelines as to when or how to move from one group to another. It is up to the instructors to decide upon considering several factors.
For all categories/groups, training consists of Kata (form), Kihon (basics), and Kumite (Sparring). Only through equal training of all three factors, Hu Shin Kai, as well as the JKA, recognizes the advancement of the Karate martial artist (Karate-Ka).
Kihon means basics. Members learn the correct training methods and execution of various techniques in the Kihon training. Kihon training shares the same fundamental but changes based on levels and experience of the members. When practiced correctly with dedication, Kihon training provides correct power, speed, spirit, and timing that lethal execution of technique is possible. Such techniques can only be achieved through years of dedication, and it is not something that can bebuilt in a short period of time.
Kata means form. Karate form is different from the forms in other martial arts such as Judo or Kendo in that it is structured as series of techniques executed as a simulation of fighting against multiple opponents in various situations. Unlike the recent trend of "Kata for Competition", Kata must be the bible of Karate, and spending lifetime to study Kata has always been the most important part of martial artists of Karate lineage. While competition is important, Hu Shin Kai trains Kata as a training method for Karate as a whole, positioning it as vital training method to get better in Kihon and Kumite.
Kumite is sparring. JKA is known for preserving its martial arts flavor in its sparring. The JKA World Cup and especially the JKA All Japan Nationals show this side. While the JKA All Japan shows very aggressive sparring style, the training and sparring itself is very structured and safe. Since the University Club time, our members are known for their success but with least injuries caused by the Kumite.
Our mission is to safely and structurally instruct sparring as safely as possible, but make sure that everyone who continue to train will be able to spar. It is not our intent that only young ones are able to spar, but we assure that all members will be able to spar safely but effectively.
No members will be forced to spar nor thrown into sparring without enough instruction. In fact, we generally prohibit members to spar without instructors' presence and permission until they achieve certain level.
Students will learn several sparring training methods prior to free-sparring:
3 or 5 step sparring - 3 or 5 steps of agreed offensive and defensive movements between two people executed in a straight line. This practice allows the correct execution of offensive and defensive techniques with correct timing, target, and distance.
1 step sparring - In this training, the offensive side announces the target and technique to be executed over one step. The defensive side is allowed to use different angle, defensive techniques, and counter techniques.
Semi-free sparring - This is similar to 1 step sparring, but both sides begins with the "free-style". More realistic distance, timing, and execution of techniques are required, and it is often used as the final training method prior to free sparring.
Free Sparring - Free sparring is conducted freely among two or more people. This training occurs in several different form. For example, the tournament free sparring is an environment controlled by a set of rules to compete. Jigeiko or Randori are the terms used for free sparring outside of the tournament. This training method is used mostly in the dojo for more realistic situations where less rules are applied.
Kihon, Kata, and Kumite are equally important in traditional Karate. It is not an ideal environment to focus only in one area. Refer to other links to understand the philosophy of the JKA.