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The ART in Martial Arts & Kyokushin Karate

While drilling basics, with the focus mid-way in class on kicks,

we were all lined up with Sensei Fogarasi calling out the various kicks, which would then perform 30 of, per side, with kia! When we reached Yoko-geri, the side kick, Sensei Fogarasi began correcting us on form and technique.

The side kick can be a difficult kick to perform, if you don’t have the proper flexibility, or technique and form. We are told to raise the knee in front, slightly bending the supporting leg, twisting on the ball of the foot, and extending and retracting the leg. The purpose is to learn how to chamber the leg properly, which is the initial step and will help for the proper execution of the kick.

Sensei demonstrates and his kick is a phenomenal thing to witness. His precision and technique are incredible!

He explains to practice, once the knee is in the high chambered position, you can grab the knee and raise the knee as high as possible, while keeping the body upright. In this position, you work on your balance, which is a vital in all kicks.

He also explains that there are different ways to perform a kick. In kumite you don’t have to be as focused on how the kick looks, but that during kata and kihon you should really work on the form, as it develops the technique, so you naturally perform it well when fighting.

Sensei Fogarasi then says something that really made me think. I am paraphrasing, but he said that “Kyokushin is a martial “art”, and that as an art, you should try to make it look good. Like any art, whether it is painting, or ballet, there is a lot of focus on how it looks. Karate should be no different. There is something beautiful about a technique or kick being performed with precision.” And like I mentioned, when Sensei Fogarasi kicks, you are in awe, as it is like a picture coming to life. “Like any art form, you should work on perfecting it. Making it more beautiful and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. See yourself from all angles, as though you are creating a sculpture. Chipping away the imperfections. The devil is in the details.” 

Like most lessons he instills on us for the dojo, he tells us how it is applicable for life. Everything we do in life, we should try obtain grace and precision, as the result will be the task being performed better and you will look and feel confident. As well, we should be proud of the results we achieve. If you have worked on something and you are proud of your accomplishment, don’t be scared to show the results.

And he is right. If you have a masters degree in something, or skilled on something, people like to demonstrate the time they spent perfecting it. But many times, in martial arts, and other body movement schools, when a person posts a picture, it is considered arrogant. It shouldn’t be. Be proud of the accomplishments you make, and inspire others to achieve it as well.


After I came home I began searching for references to the “art” in martial arts, I was really shocked to find next to nothing. We are all studying martial “arts”, yet little focus is put to the art portion. As the definition of art states, it is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination”, and thus obviously should be a large part of your own Martial “Art”.

Again, I am reminded how lucky I am to be training at a dojo by an instructor who encompasses the true essence of Budo. Someone who looks at all angles, from the fighting side, to the philosophical side,… to the art side. Someone I can admire, study under and some day, hope to achieve my own level of art.


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