The characteristics of karate skills of Shoto-kai can be expressed as the execution of large moves from low standing or other low positions.
Sufficient exercising of the legs enables trainees to move fast, using the power of the legs. The leg-based moves do not need physical power, and people of all ages and both sexes can learn effective offensive and defensive moves of striking and kicking. Also with the leg-based moves, trainees can display their skills in various blocking techniques.
Karate exercises usually begin with calisthenics. Any exercises are acceptable, if they make the parts of the body, joints, muscles and tendons flexible. Here, typical exercises are described among those performed today.
There are various stances in kata. Here, they are briefly explained.
If karate is considered as a combating art, the techniques can be broadly classified into offensive and defensive techniques. General offensive techniques include punching, kicking, hitting, striking, and grabbing. In karate, practice mainly consists of striking and kicking.
Beginners should practice striking and kicking techniques very hard.
In karate, there are various kicking techniques, such as mae-geri (front kick), yoko-geri (side kick), mawashi-geri (roundhouse kick), mikazuki-geri (crescent-moon kick), and nidan-geri (double kick). Here, mae-geri and yoko-geri are briefly described.
There are jodan, chudan, and gedan kicks, depending on target area.
Fist of Shoto-kai is ordinary and natural fist, but the thumb and the little finger are tightly bent so that the second joint of the middle finger hits opponent. Be careful not to strain your elbow and shoulders while making fists.
Striking practices of oizuki and gyakuzuki are done from the hachiji-dachi and kiba-dachi, and by moving forward from zenkutsu-dachi. Concentrate your power in the fists, and punch as if your fists are going to penetrate completely through the target.
Fundamental exercises, blocking is practiced separately from striking. Blocking techniques are not just blocking the attacks of an opponent, but are the forms from which one can spontaneously attack the opponent.
Generally, there are blocking techniques of gedan-barai (lower level block), jodan age-uke (upper-level rising block), shuto-uke (sword-handed block), ude uke (forearm block), and tetsui uchi uke (iron hammer strike block). Here, gedan-barai, jodan age-uke, and shuto-uke are briefly explained.
Karate moves have been developed based on kata (forms).
There are twenty forms established by Shoto-kan, which are five kata of Heian, three kata of Tekki, Bassai, Kanku, Hangetsu, Enpi, Jutte, Jion, Gankaku, three kata of Taikyoku, which were developed by Gigo Funakoshi, Ten-no-kata (kumite), and Kon-no-kata Matsukaze.