Category Archives: Shotokan

Shotokan Karate Lesson Plans


I am so thrilled with the response to the latest newsletter announcing the Karate Lesson Plan Booklet that has been added to the paid subscriber area of MyShotokan, known as Sensei’s Office.

There have been so many replies, questions and requests for more information, that I’m working on putting together ONE FREE CHAPTER of the exclusive Lesson Plan Booklet, to be included with the Shotokan Kata Videos in the Free Members area!

Creating Drive In Your Stances

The last time I had a few students test for their next belt, my Sensei pointed out that one of my students had “no drive” in her stances.

I looked at him with one eyebrow raised.

“What do you mean?” I’m thinking to myself “she is so strong I can hardly block her punches! I think she has lots of drive.”

Seeing the unbeliving look on my face,
Sensei repeated “No drive! No drive!”

And I’m thinking… “?”

Finally I say, “Sensei, I’m coming to the main Dojo to train for a few days. If she doesn’t have drive, and I don’t know it – then I must not have drive in my stances. ” (Sensei nods to confirm) I continue “When I come to train, could you run through a few practice drills to help me work on creating drive in my stance?”

Zoom forward two weeks. I’m in the home dojo.

Sensei had us stand in front stance with reverse punch out.

We repeated a basic combination:

Kizame Zuki, Gyaku Zuki
Age Uke, Gyaku Zuki
Soto Uke, Gyaku Zuki
Uchi Uke, Gyaku Zuki
Gedan Barrai, Gyaku Zuki

For the jab punch, Sensei had us check the pressure on our back leg to be sure we were pushing maximum, then for the first reverse punch, Sensei told us to push a bit harder with the back leg – as though we were pushing a car. The rising block required an extra strong push from the back leg to provide support against a strong attack – then push a bit harder with the back leg for the reverse punch…

For each successive block and punch, Sensei reminded us of how the back leg should feel as it supported the rest of the body and stance. After a few repetitions – my butt muscles were screaming! Just the fact that my gluteous muscles became so fatigued so quickly is evidence that I’ve not been creating drive correctly or powerfully enough.

Summer of 2007 Karate Week

Sensei Doug’s Week of Karate
For the next 10 days, you get to come along, virtually, on my journey of Shotokan Training. Out of the blue, I’ve come upon the… opportunity… to work from Winnipeg for the next week-and-a-half – and, while I’m here, I’m going to take advantage of some intensive Shotokan karate training at the headquaters Dojo for Western Canada.
Here’s some of my karate training goals as I start off the week:

  • Review and practice all Senior Kata
  • Learn Junro Shodan
  • Study how to teach my intermediate students to create “Drive” in their stances
  • Video Tape and publish video clips of each training session within Sensei’s Office on MyShotokan.
    Monday evening. After a seemingly endless 6 hour drive from Atikokan to Winnipeg, I was treated to a special evening training session with Sensei Don DeGrow, a Shotokan Yondan, and my Sister Jill, who is a Shodan. This is the monday of a long-weekend, and there wasn’t a normal karate class scheduled. We started off at the beginning and practiced each of the Heian Kata, then the three Tekki Katas. I noticed a small change in Tekki Sandan – I’ll have to review the videos to verify.As we started our review of the senior kata, we practiced them in groups. Bassai Dai, Kanku Dai, Empi and Jion are needed for someone testing for Shodan. I found that I recalled Gankaku, Jutte, and Hengetsu – but I was a bit rusty at them, and had to watch Don and Jill in a few parts. After a few more repetitions I’ll be able to start asking about practicing applications.

    Next we reviewed Sochin, Bassai Sho and Chinte. I could follow along for these, but they were distictly more rusty, and will require more than just a couple times through each kata to get them back in my repetoure. Kanku Sho and Nijushiho are at about the same level of disrepair.

    Unsu and Gojushiho Sho were another step down in proficiancy for me.

    We practiced Junro Shodan 6 or 7 times and I’m starting to recall the first 10 moves or so before I get lost… I’ll have it by the end of tomorrow.

    I only did a short introduction to the stretching routine Alanna has been working our club through. I’ll need to write out a short list of the static-active stretching routine so I keep to the schedule of long periods of relaxed stretching after each training session over the next 10 days.

    Through the week I’ll need to find an instructor to help me learn Meikyo, Wankan and Jiin from scratch – but I’ll leave them for a couple days.

    Following the extra training Don gave us, Jill and I were invited to his home for dinner. An oriental influence is evident in the decor and garden of their delightful and cosy home.

    In order to re-inforce all the kata information Sensei Don reviewed with us, I’m going to take a few moments to stretch and watch some of the Shotokan Kata Videos.

  • Gichin Funakoshi – Founder of Modern Karate-do

    Gichin Funakoshi

    The Father of Modern Karate-Do


    Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957) was an Okinawan karate master who formally introduced karate to the Japanese mainland in 1921. Shotokan is named after Gichin Funakoshi’s pen name, Shoto, which means pine waves or wind in the pines. Shotokan means Shoto’s house or Shoto’s school. Funakoshi had trained in both of the popular styles of Okinawan karate of the time: Shorei-ryu and Shorin-ryu.

    Funakoshi published the following books: Karate-Do Nyumon the Introductory Text, Karate-Do Kyohan the Master Text, Karate Jutsu the Original Teachings and Karate-Do My Way of Life

    Shotokan Karate Videos

    Shotokan Karate Videos

    Shotokan Karate

    If you have been looking to increase your health and fitness with balance components of stretching and strength training – then Shotokan Karate might be the sport for you.

    MyShotokan offers the Shotokan martial arts student with Shokokan karate videos.