The Art of Karate

Karate is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands in what is now known as Okinawa, Japan. Karate can be practiced as an art (budo), as self defense training, as a non-contact sport (kata alone), or as a combat sport. Karate is primarily a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes. In addition to open handed techniques, grappling, locks, restraints, throws, and vital point strikes are taught at Pollet’s Martial Arts Centre as part of the Karate curriculum. With an emphasis on self-development, Pollet’s Martial Arts Centre is a traditional karate school, delivering karate classes which focus on the psychological elements incorporated into a proper kokoro (attitude) such as perseverance, fearlessness, virtue, and leadership skills.

Our Master Instructor Hanshi Ian Pollet is an 8th Degree Black Belt in Karate Jitsu, and Goju Karate. He travels to Okinawa, Japan every year to train with his 10th Dan Grand Master Kiichi Nakamoto, and brings his teacher to Australia to give his students the opportunity to train with the legendary Grand Master. Hanshi Ian Pollet implements the Traditional Okinawan Style Karate in all his karate classes.

For those wanting to become an elite karate practitioner, Pollet’s Martial Arts Centre has over 40 years of success in producing State, National and World Karate Champions for many of our students, and they have had the opportunity to travel to Okinawa Japan, South Africa and the USA to train and compete amongst many of the world’s best. Hanshi Ian Pollet has won Gold at the World Goju Karate Federation Championships in South Africa in 2013 and was the ISKA Grand World Champion for Kata and Self Defense in 2008 and 2011.

The structured training curriculum for our karate classes is divided into three elements and a brief description of each of these elements are listed below:

  • Kata – Forms
  • Kihon – Basics, Step Movements, Self Defense, Combinations, Knife attack defense
  • Kumite – Point Fighting, Koshiki and Iri Kumi

Kata – Forms:

The bridge between ‘Physical Practice’ and the ‘Spiritual State’

Kata are a series of movements and techniques that are practiced in a pattern. Similar to shadow boxing, Kata uses the concept of an ‘imaginary opponent’. The moves are prearranged and choreographed in a geometrical pattern, designed to teach a central principle or a set of techniques. Each Kata is done at a certain speed and tempo. For some Kata the speed varies from move to move, whilst others are done at one speed and at one tempo.

Karate is and always has been a method of self defence, never a technique of aggression. The term “Karate ni sente nashi” (“there is no first attack in Karate”) is fundamental to the karate-ka’s philosophy, and as such is the basis of Kata. To the sincere student, it is not only a form of physical discipline, but an art in which one can develop the ability for self reflection, abstract thought and mental clarity.

Physically, Kata enforces proper use of body structure. It rehearses movement and creates muscle memory. Typically basics in motion, Kata is similar in fashion to isometric exercises. Practiced vigorously, Kata improves cardiovascular efficiency.
Mentally, kata teaches focus, and attention to all angles. Due to the necessity for the practitioner to take inventory of his/her movements, one must cut through disclarity of mind to understand Kata. No move, no matter how minute is without meaning or intent. With this knowledge, a growing process takes place.

Kihon – Basics:

The critical element for building a strong foundation in your techniques

The basics are the foundation to karate and include stances, footwork, blocks and strikes. Traditional methods of training basics perfects ones technique, strength, speed, accuracy, timing and control. Step movements and combinations work in pairs or a groups to practise particular elements of various forms. Self defense utilises these technical elements against an individual or more than one attacker and emphasises self confidence, self awareness and wellbeing. Our knife self defense techniques and routines work against defending different attacks against an armed person.

After several years of martial arts and over 10 years running a high protection security and bodyguard service Hanshi Ian Pollet has trained many security personnel, police officers, prison wardens, soliders, fire and ambulance personel and high profile actors including Logie Winner Peter O’Brien (Underbelly: A Tale of two cities, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) Michael Budd (The Matrix Reloaded, Cold Light of Day), Bel Delia and Diarmid Heinderich. He was the stunt co-ordinator for the feature film ‘Love of My Life’ which is due for release in April 2014. He was also the ISKA Grand World Champion in Self

Defense in 2008 and ISKA World Champion 2011.

Kumite – Sparring or the ‘Meeting of hands’

Pollet’s Martial Arts Centre focuses on teaching students to execute their kihons with perfect technique, speed, accuracy, correct timing and control during kumite, and it is practiced both as a sport and as self-defense training. Levels of physical contact during sparring vary considerably depending on the level of training, competition ruling, sanctioning body or various other considerable elements.

Different styles of kumite taught at Pollet’s Martial Arts Centre include:

  • Sport Kumite or Point Fighting – Light or semi contact kumite where points are awarded based on the criteria: good form, sporting attitude, vigorous application, awareness/zanshin, good timing and correct distance.
  • Koshiki or bogu kumite – Sparring in body and head armour, allows full power techniques to be executed with correct clear form and precision whilst competitors are protected. Hanshi Ian Pollet is the ISKA Australian Koshiki Director.
  • Full contact Kumite – Points are based on the results of the impact, rather than the formal appearance of the scoring technique and has several variants.
  • Kyokushin or Knockdown karate – Uses full power techniques to bring an opponent to the ground.
  • Iri Kume or Free sparring: Is performed in a marked or closed area. The time can run continuously (Iri Kume) or be stopped for referee judgment. Depending upon style, take-downs, sweeps and even grappling may be allowed. The Australian Team from Pollet’s Martial Arts Centre won the Bronze medal in Iri Kume at the World Goju Ryu Karate Championships in South Africa in 2013.

The Art of Okinawan Ryukyu Kobudo

Ryukyu Kobudo or Okinawan Kobujutsu is the ancient martial arts weaponry systems originating on the island of Okinawa Japan.

Okinawan Kobudo is a Japanese term which can be translated as “Old Martial Way of Okinawa”. It generally refers to several different weapon traditions of Okinawan origin. Traditional Kobudo includes the use of the following weapons: Bo (Cudgel), Sai (Metal Fork), Tekko (Horse shoe), Nunchaku (Horse Bridal), Eku (Oar), Tonfa (Mill grind Handle), Kama (Sickle), Tinbe Rochin (Shield and Short Spear), and Suruchin (Weighted Chain).

The principles of traditional Kobudo is to master the correct mechanics so that techniques are executed without conscious effort and can be achieved by repetition of movement. Once reaching this level, the body has been trained into an instrument of offensive and defensive potential.

Hanshi Ian Pollet believes the art of karate is the left hand and the art of kobudo is the right hand. The practical and philosophical aim of training and karate classes is to unite the mind and the body together as one. We cannot achieve perfection in our body without achieving perfection in our mind. Pollet’s Martial Arts teaches traditional Okinawan kata and kihons in our Kobudo classes. By conditioning our body and our movements to the correct standards of execution requires tremendous physical effort and concentration of will. Individuals will encounter obstacles in Kobudo training and once and once they decide to overcome these obstacles, they have committed a pathway for success to be achieved.

Hanshi Ian Pollet’s teacher Grand Master Nakamoto is one of the first Okinawan to be recognized as 10th Degree Karate Master by the Japanese Government, is a 10th Degree Hanshi of Ryukyu Kobujutsu (Weaponry), an Iaido Grand Master and he is revered as one of the finest weapons and karate Grand Masters in Okinawa. He is the President of the “Ryukyu Dento Kobujutsu Hozon Budo Kyokai”, Ryukyu Weapons Society and he was a personal student of the great Kina, Shosei Weapons Grand Master, the successor to the Uhugusuku Samurai Family Weaponry System. He has been training Hanshi Ian Pollet for many years and has graded him to his 8th Degree in Ryukyu Kobujutsu.

Karate Ranks and Titles

Mudansha – Kyu Ranks

  • Jukyu 10th
  • Kukyu 9th
  • Hachikyu 8th
  • Nanakyu 7th
  • Rokyu 6th
  • Gokyu 5th
  • Yonkyu 4th
  • Sankyu 3rd
  • Nikyu 2nd
  • Itkyu 1st

Yudansha – Dan Ranks

  • Shodan 1st
  • Nidan 2nd
  • Sandan 3rd
  • Yondan 4th
  • Godan 5th
  • Rokudan 6th
  • Nanadan 7th
  • Hachidan 8th
  • Kudan 9th
  • Judan 10th

Kyu – The 10 ranks before Black belt. The Mudansha grades.
Dan – The 10 grades or steps of Black belt level. The Yudansha ranks.
Mudansha – A person who holds a Kyu rank.
Yudansha – A person who holds a Dan rank.
Karateka – A student of Karate
Sempai – Ones senior. A form of address for your senior.
Sensei – A teacher. A title of respect for referring to ones senior as their teacher.
Shihan – Senior teacher. An honorific title given by ones Master Instructor usually from Yondan and Godan.
Kyoshi – Senior teacher and expert. An honorary title usually given to Nanadan and Hachidan
Hanshi – A Senior Master teacher, expert, teacher of teachers. An honorary title given to Kudan and Judan.