Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Karate Kids of Lantapan

During the DOLE District C Fun Run held in Poblacion, Lantapan, Bukidnon last month, I noticed a number of young boys gathered inside the skating rink situated near the municipal gymnasium before the start of the race. At first I thought they are also joining the fun run, but I later found out that they are there to practice martial arts. With them was their instructor, clad in an all-white attire, who told us that the style of karate he is teaching the kids is called Shotokan. He is actually preparing his students hard for an upcoming competition in Cagayan De Oro City on November of this year.

According to Wikipedia, Shotokan is a style of karate, developed from various martial arts by Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957) and his son Gigo (Yoshitaka) Funakoshi (1906–1945). Shotokan training is usually divided into three parts: kihon (basics), kata (forms or patterns of moves), and kumite (sparring). Techniques in kihon and kata are characterized by deep, long stances that provide stability, enable powerful movements, and strengthen the legs. Shotokan is often regarded as a 'hard' and 'external' martial art because it is taught that way to beginners and coloured belts to develop strong basic techniques and stances. Initially strength and power are demonstrated instead of slower, more flowing motions. Those who progress to brown and black belt level develop a much more fluid style that incorporates grappling and some aikido-like techniques, which can be found in the black belt katas. Kumite techniques mirror these stances and movements at a basic level, but are less structured, with a focus instead on speed and efficiency.

I and my friend James then joined the kids in their stretching. It was a fun way to get warmed up before the start of the race.

To view more photos of Lantapan, CLICK HERE.
To read my DOLE Fun Run experience, CLICK HERE.

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