Why practice your karate basics over and over again?
I’m glad you asked! The 25 karate basics that we practice every class have not always existed. As you start learning your katas you will notice that many of the 25 are in these katas. Especially the Pinan katas. This is because years ago, there were no “25” basics. Most people practiced katas and one step or kumite. As the standardization of our style took place, the 25 karate basics we created. These basics are used to develop your rhythm, balance, and technique. It is also essential for turning moves into reflex, since repetition breed reflex.
Sometimes people ask, why they should continue to practice these as they progress higher as they would not normally fight in this manner. One reason is that your are always growing and changing. Not only in your technique but in your body itself. The more your reinforce your foundation the stronger your house will be. Practicing the 25 basics even if you are a 5th degree, like myself, continues to reinforce your basic principles and actually help improve your more advanced techniques. It would be similar to saying, if you can’t make a layup, don’t bother trying a 360 dunk on the basketball court. Beyond that, just because you may be able to do the 360 dunk doesn’t mean you should stop practicing your free throw.
The 25 basics also help condition our body. This conditioning takes time. Nothing should be quick when it comes to conditioning. It takes time to develop the muscle, tendon, joint, and bone strength necessary for good technique. It also takes continued practice to maintain it.
Someone specifically asked, about when to use one block over another. I will attempt to answer this now. The 3 most common blocks that people are not sure which to use are double bone, single bone, and shuto. All three are used to block a punch coming toward your middle to upper chest in general. The short answer is preference determines which you use. Also, positioning could be a factor.
For the double bone block, I should be trying to block with my 2 punching knuckles as I develop my technique. In that situation it would be a bone on bone idea. Trying to hit the elbow joint and cause pain or numbness of the arm. It is also a very solid block as you are using both bones in your forearm and your muscle to block. Assuming you are not using your knuckles.
The single bone is a precursor to your grab. You are still blocking in the same place as double bone but later you may want to grab. Here you are blocking with only 1 bone and maybe no muscle padding.
With Shuto you are attempting to block with your, you guessed it, shuto bone. Again blocking back at the elbow. This block is preparing you for later finger tip strikes among other things. You should be thinking about using your back hand for protection or a parry and your front hand for the strike.
I hope this helps. Please feel free to ask any other specific question and I will try to answer them.
Below is a link to the Training Aids page. It will have the 25 Karate Baiscs on there to help you practice.