Have been asked to give my views on modern day shotokan karate. It’s my view that 75% of clubs are a sham. These days there are so many different types of fight clubs, such as MMA, sport karate etc that people want a quick fix and this has had an effect on traditional shotokan.

These days the modern day shotokan black belt, has not experienced the training of the past. In recent years the training has got soft and in effective, I have to blame some of the resident Japanese here and in countries around the world, for their lack of spirit in training. Technically they are excellent, but the training lacks excitement of the old days because money has become involved and is a guiding factor. When we had Enoeda Sensei attend our Dojo, we enjoyed the hard training, even standing outside of the dojo door before starting, wondering what was going to happen this time.

Most of the clubs these days train for competition, with sport in mind and not for the love of the art, the trophy becoming the most important factor. They are NOT taught various forms of kumite from beginner, Gohon Kumite, Ippon Kumite, Jiyu Ippon Kumite and then Jiyu Kumite, it’s straight to the fight.

In my day, you trained both in kata and kumite and you entered both, these days they just train for one or the other, usually just kumite, for that’s what they think karate is all about.

Sadly Sport Karate seems to dominate most Clubs of all styles, with the trophy becoming more important in the club. It’s a sad reflection in this modern day that the training has been watered down and in affective. Very few students of today have no commitment and certainly would not last, in the type of training of the past. It is up to the few old generation Instructor to pass on the martial spirit, the true roots of karate, as we were taught and should be taught now. Sadly, I think it’s been forgotten.

Gerry Breeze