Shotokan Karate – Alexiou Fitness Club
The modern Karate-do is the result of an admixture of martial arts developed in China, in Okinawa, and later in the mainland Japan Kara in Japanese means ‘empty’, te means ‘hand’, while the word ‘do’ means the ‘road’ or the ‘way’. In free translation Karate-do means ‘the way of the empty hand’ or ‘fight with empty hands’. Karate is a martial art, whose purpose is not the pursuit of victory over an opponent, but the effort to improve the character, to gain self-control and discipline through experience and practice. Moreover, Karate operates as self-defense using all the members of the body, which through hard and systematic training, they become powerful weapons Κarate is a martial art cultivated in the countries of the Far East. The first Sensei, a great teacher, who dealt with this martial art was Gichin Funakoshi, who was teaching at Okinawa islands for many years. For the first time in Greece in 1957 officials of the British Embassy show Karate techniques in Greece. In the 60’s make their appearance for the first time in Greece two very important Japanese teachers, the Sensei Nishimura and the Sensei Otake. My personal story begins in 1960. My first teacher was the Sensei Nishimura. I respect him, I appreciate the way he taught me and Ι keep his principles. In 1980 I founded in Nea Peramos of Attica a traditional dojo and since then I regularly teach my students. Karate is divided into two parts; the athletic Karate and the martial art. Athletic Karate begins with the training of the student and his involvement with simple techniques, without having contact with the opponent. Once a student comes in contact with the opponent, it starts the martial art. People who are involved in martial arts gain two important things. Balance of mind and body. I would say that there are no age limits upwards. I would only put an age limit of 4 years. Thus a child at the age of 4 years may come to the dojo where little by little, by seeing images and repeating techniques he can easily absorb them and make them his property. The different colors of Karate belts have to do with the separation between the novice student and the experienced one. My personal opinion is that the belt should be given to the student in order to reward the effort made in the dojo. The only thing the student has to do is to choose the right teacher who will be able to convey to him the true values of this martial art. When the student enters the dojo, after a very strong warming up he begins to learn the techniques one by one. First he learns how to stand on his feet properly. Little by little he enriches these stances with defensive stances of the body. Later he learns the strikes, made with feet and hands. In my opinion, all the martial arts have something to give to the student. I do not think there is a martial art, taught properly that doesn’t have to give something to a child. My experience of 50 years in this martial art gives me the right to believe that I can convey this martial art to a child in the best possible way. In the system that I use, the traditional Japanese Karate the Karate-Do, which means way of living there are all the animal stances, whether offensive or defensive. There is for example the stance ‘zenkutsu dachi’, which is the stance of the lion, when it is preparing to attack. The most important thing a fighter learns in martial arts is to eliminate the gap between thinking and executing. That means that in a very difficult moment he will be able to react more efficiently than any other man. Thus this enables him, in a very difficult moment, to protect himself and anyone else is next to him in the best possible way. The most important thing in martial arts is the repetition. The Japanese people have the following saying: ‘Ten thousand times the hand must learn to go to the right position. Ten thousand times the hand must learn to come from the right position. Ten thousand times the hand must learn to touch the target. Ten thousand times the hand must learn to strike the target. And one million times the hand must learn to eliminate the target’. In Karate there is not ‘I know a little’ or ‘I know much’. Karate has an evolution. You start from somewhere, it has a beginning but it has no end. Karate is a way of living. Karate is a way of learning to live.