Welcome to the Isshinryu Karate-Do at MIT dojo
Wed Sep 3 13:11:40 EDT 2003
Wed Sep 1 09:27:41 EDT 2004
Welcome to Isshinryu Karate-do at MIT. This is a student's perspective on
the club. It is meant to have material for beginner students, ranging from
"I've yet to show up to a practice" to "I've been coming for the past two
months". This is meant to be a supplement to the main (and canonical) isshinryu karate-do at mit page;
look there for definitive answers.
Table of Contents
In the world of martial arts, there are two sweeping generalizations that
can be made: there are external martial arts and internal martial arts.
"External" is styles like karate (all types), tae kwon do, judo, aikido,
kung fu: the focus is on doing something to someone else. "Internal" is
styles like tai chi and chi gung: here the focus is on developing your chi
(energy) and working on your own body.
How is this club different from the
dozen-plus other martial arts clubs on campus?
Within external martial arts, there are two sub-generalizations: hard
versus soft styles. Hard styles are about punches and kicks; soft styles
are about sweeps and throws. (There are some styles that are a combination
of both: many "jujitsu" styles are like this.) Karate schools tend to be
hard styles; we're one of them.
Our primary focus is on technique. It's kinda like an academic focus on
martial arts. We're pretty middle-of-the-road about everything else.
Some clubs are all about self-defense; we're not. Some styles emphasize
kicks over punches; we prefer a balanced approach. Some styles are about
speed over power, or vice versa: again, we prefer a balanced approach.
Some clubs are way more hardcore than us (300 pushups each class! Yeah!);
we're not. (Yes, we do pushups. Not 300 each class.) Some clubs are way
more formal than us; some are way more informal than us. Some use weapons;
we use weapons, but only for advanced students. Some have lots of
sparring; for us, our sparring is completely optional, and the point is
more a mental exercise (for all but the most advanced students, sparring is
non-contact and is without pads).
At the start of class, we have a formal start (we'll explain it when you
first show up). Then we do warmups for about 15-20 minutes, both
stretching and strength exercises. From there, it depends on what the
senseis (teachers) want to do. Usually we work on basic techniques (called
"charts") and more complicated groupings of charts. Sometimes the whole
class works on something together; other times, the class splits up, with
some people working with the senseis, some working with each other, and
some working by themselves. The senseis then float around working with
everyone individually. The class then has a formal end.
What are classes like?
Come to any class to watch or join. We take beginners whenever they drop
in. Check the main page for
the schedule, or email us at isshinryu at mit.edu.
Can I come watch a class? When can I
Yes, two ways.
Is there a way I can get automatic reminders of
when workouts are?
Email gets sent to isshinryu-reminder at mit.edu every morning of
a workout. To add yourself, type:
- blanche isshinryu-reminder -a $USER
You can also get a zephyrgram reminding you 30 minutes before a workout.
To get these, type:
- zctl add isshinryu \* \*
The official webpage gets automatically updated, so it's almost always
We follow a style of etiquette that is different from the usual USA
etiquette. The point of the atmosphere (etiquette, uniforms, etc) is to
create a learning atmosphere based on mutual respect. Because having a
good learning environment is important, we want people to learn the
etiquette. But we expect that it'll take people time to learn the
nuances, since it's something that people pick up by osmosis.
The uniforms and bowing and all that
stuff looks intimidating. What's up with that?
Personally, I don't correct other people in what I perceive to be lapses of
etiquette, because that would be rude, which goes against the first rule of
mutual respect. I place much greater emphasis on another student's desire
to come learn than whether or not they remember some minutiae of
If you're really really curious or really really bored, you can read the gory details on what goes on in a class.
The Gory Details
Once you reach 9th kyu (yellow belt), you'll be asked to lead warmups.
People are often confused on how to do so well, so I wrote a small primer on leading warmups.
Notes on warmups.
David Leung, dcltdw at mit.edu