How Much Contact Is Appropriate?

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This is a grey area in karate practice which I’d like to explain in more detail. In our club, all contact is by consent. In an effort to clear up any misunderstandings, a quick chat before engaging with your opponent on the amount of contact agreed will save painful injuries and hurt feelings after.

These are the guidelines that all students should abide by:

1) Inappropriate contact. We all understand what this means. “If you haven’t got it, don’t touch it” is a good starting point for guidance here. This should not happen in the dojo or anywhere else. Clearly there may be an occasional accidental contact during practice but anything deliberate, or repeated as “accidental” is not allowed.

2) Using excessive force. Karate is a martial art and which requires contact to be effective. You are going to get hit when training and there are times when you just have to take it. But the force used should never be excessive. Using excessive force is just gratuitous and unacceptable. As you move up the grades, you can expect to get hit harder. You are getting stronger, fitter and more accurate. To progress through the belts, you’ll need to develop resilience, albeit in a controlled environment . However, as Sensei says, “full speed, full power, full control”. Any hit that incapacitates is unacceptable.

3) Deliberately targeting delicate body parts. Your karate training will teach you how to stop an attacker by targeting joints and delicate parts of the body. It’s common sense that these weak areas should be avoided in practice because of the long-lasting damage that can be caused. The eyes, nose, throat, groin and knees are just a few examples of body parts to avoid contact or excessive contact.

If any student is unhappy with inappropriate or excessive contact, you should definitely speak to your opponent or Sensei about this.