Karate isn’t just a physical fighting thing. It has a philosophy behind it that was fluidly formed over thousands of years of armed and unarmed combat.
Techniques and practices to live by were passed down from generation to generation and perfected as time went on.
The religions of Buddhism and Taoism have both played a vital role in the development of martial arts and its philosophy.
In its modern form, karate was established in Japan around 400 years ago, with evident roots in Chinese King Fu.
With so much history and honor surrounding it, it is a little wonder why people from across the world want to practice karate.
However, not all these avid learners have the ability, means, or money to start practicing karate in a dojo straight away.
That’s why this article is here to help.
With the steps below, you will at least be able to gain a basic knowledge of karate and its techniques before deciding if it’s the right martial art form for you.
How To Start Learning Karate At Home
We are here to sugarcoat the fact that there is no substitute for learning karate from a master of the discipline in a designated dojo.
What this step-by-step guide will do, however, is get your mind and body prepared and switched to the ways of karate.
We hope you’re ready.
Meditation is an essential aspect of karate. Emptying your mind and clearing your thoughts before practicing karate is a proven way to center the self and gain inner strength.
It only has to be for five to ten minutes, to begin with, but allowing yourself the time to meditate will lay a solid foundation for your karate practice.
2. Warm Up
Warming up the body in preparation is a key element of karate. As you are well aware, karate is a form of martial arts that involves physical contact.
Even if you begin learning at home, your body needs to warm up to perform the techniques of karate at its best.
A solid warm-up routine will also reduce your risk of injury.
This is particularly important for people starting their karate journey into their adult years.
A simple warm-up that incorporates running on the spot, and a succession of push-ups, sit-ups, and leg lifts is all the body needs to engage the muscles ready for karate.
After your warm-up, it is time to stretch those engaged limbs out.
You don’t have to take on an extended yoga session prior to each of your karate practices, a simple 10-minute stretch will do.
Make sure you stretch out all major muscle groups for a full-body stretch.
Although it sounds counterproductive to stretch after your warm-up, it’s not.
When muscles have been worked a little is the time when they are most receptive to stretching.
Understanding karate’s philosophy is an essential element of practicing it.
On the outside, karate might look like a display of bravado and violence, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Karate is about harnessing your inner peace and strengthening your mind.
As the body learns how to move in karate, the mind must also learn how to be still.
Karate is very much a practice that requires body, mind, and spirit to come together.
If you don’t learn this basic philosophy then you don’t learn karate.
5. Basic Stances
Learning karate’s basic stances is an easy one to do at home.
No karate technique can be achieved without a good knowledge of how to stand.
- Natural stance: Karate’s natural stance involved pointing your front foot forward and your back foot out at a 45-degree angle pointed behind you. Your feet should be set a little wider than your shoulders. This is a very common and comfortable stance in karate that puts you in a good position to administer kicks and strikes, and also block.
- Front stance: The front stance is a lot like a natural stance. Keep everything the same in terms of where your feet are placed. The difference lies in setting your feet slightly further apart and putting most of your weight on your front foot.
- Cat stance: Cat stance, again, is a variation of the natural stance. This time around, however, you will want to apply most of your weight to your back leg. Your front heel can also be raised ready to block.
Balance is another intrinsic part of karate. This is why learning the basic stances is so important, as it makes you start thinking about your balance.
Balance is about clueing onto your center of gravity. When you spread your feet wider than your shoulders and bend at the knees, you are lowering your center of gravity.
This, in turn, increases your balance.
7. Basic Techniques
The basic techniques of punching, blocking, and kicking can also be practiced at home.
Repetition is key for learning techniques.
Whether you choose to practice a straight punch, upper-cut, front snap kick, or back trust kick, make sure you repeat the action over and over again.
Blocking is just as important as the attacking techniques of punching and kicking.
Practice blocking as though punches were being thrown at you.
Experimenting with a combination of blocking and kicking/ punching will make you more well-rounded in karate.
8. Start Sparring
Once you have a basic knowledge and understanding of the karate techniques listed above, you will be able to start sparring.
Of course, this will require a friend or family member who also has karate knowledge.
Sparring against a person will develop your karate skills tremendously.
It will gain you a real perspective of karate, as well as increase your stamina.
Sparring entails light contact and is not to be confused with a karate match.
So there you have it. Although you can’t become a karate master at home, it is possible to learn the basics.
We hope this article has inspired you to take the exciting, albeit a little bit daunting, step into karate.