A Change of Style

I’m in the process of making a very hard decision. Although it wasn’t the first style of karate I trained in, I loved Kyokushin from the moment I first stepped into that dojo in Cape Town. Now, several years on, I’m living in a town with no Kyokushin dojo and I’m training solo or, when I can, with a friend.

Obviously this is not ideal and I need to get back into a formal setting if I am going to progress in my training. Well, I’ve been searching far and wide and I have even seriously considered uprooting everything and moving to another town.

However, I’ve finally decided that, due to work commitments, a move is out of the question so I have to switch styles instead. I’ve done a lot of research and taken trial classes in several local dojo but nothing has felt right.

Every style of karate has it’s merits and drawbacks and we all train for our own reasons. There was nothing wrong, as such, with any of the dojo I’ve tried out so far. But my overwhelming feeling from the students was one of a lack of commitment and an unwillingness to be pushed to perform to the best of their ability.

Today I received a reply to an email I sent to a Sensei and, as crazy as it sounds, I have decided to try training under him on the strength of his email alone.

Although he has no problem with me training intermittently (work commitments again) he made it quite clear that I would need to work out on my own between sessions to maintain my fitness levels and that I would not be able to progress through the grades as fast as I would if I trained on a regular basis.

I may not have found the style I wanted but I hope I have found the Sensei. One who is going to expect commitment and 100% effort. I am away at work right now but I’m looking forward to my first session in two weeks time.

If this feels like the right place when I get there I will be switching to Shotokan. It’s a style that I have no experience of at all but I do know it is very different to Kyokushin and I will not only be starting again at the beginning, but I will also be ‘unlearning’ most of what I know.

It’s not that mind going back to being an absolute beginner, in fact that will be quite refreshing, it’s just that this feels somehow wrong. Almost like I’m betraying an old friend. Does that make sense or does it make me sound like some kind of nut case?

When it comes down to a choice between no karate or different karate different wins hands down. So why does this still feel so hard?

2 thoughts on “A Change of Style”

  1. Chris says:

    I was from Shotokan. And the difference in style is very very evident from the get go. Shotokan is Linear and very traditional, with emphasis on Speed over power and accuracy over conditioning. Some people believe the Okinawan karate is the style with ‘true’ Ikken Hissatsu or Ichigeki Hissatsu (1 strike, certain death) techniques owing to the fact that Shotokan targets specific vital points. Even in Kumite, using the point system (i like to call it the ‘point taken’ or the ‘i see your point’ system) you score by striking an area clean and get awarded a point. You get a point when you’ve ‘proven your point’ if you get what i mean.

    I switched out of Shotokan because i wanted something different, but it is what you make of it as opposed to what the style is that makes the karate special or unique to you. Enjoy Shotokan, it was the style that i’d say started it all, it is going to be different for sure, and no you are not betraying your friend. Karate is karate, kyokushin is karate, Shotokan is Karate (it is not the other way round.) And as such, do not worry about any betrayal. It feels hard because, you are unfamiliar.

    I am here to journey with you as You have followed my journey through Kyokushin. I was and will always be a Nidan in shotokan so if you need any answers, you’ve got me.


  2. Karen says:


    Hi Chris, I’m actually looking forward to the change now. I’ve given it a lot of thought and I think it will be good for my overall training to study a different style.

    Ideally I would love to train both but I think I should wait until I have a good grounding in the basics of Shotokan before trying to do the two together.

    Who knows, maybe by the time I’ve grasped the new style I’ll be in a position to move to a town where I can study both.

    😉 You might regret reminding me you are a nidan in Shotokan. I have a feeling I’m going to need all the help I can get. I’m looking forward to the journey.



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