“The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory nor defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants ” ― Gichin Funakoshi
Shotokan Karate is the most widely practiced form of Karate in the world today, following the teachings of Gichin Funakoshi, the schoolteacher and poet who brought Karate out of Okinawa in the 1920s. Funakoshi’s pen-name was Shoto (meaning ‘pine waves’) and so this style of Karate came to be known as Shoto-Kan, or ‘the House of Shoto’. Thus the full name of the Art, Shotokan-ryu Karate-Do translates as ‘The Way of the Empty Hand as Taught in the House of Funakoshi’. Shotokan emphasizes a balanced development of speed, skill, strength and range of technique taught within a system which instills self-confidence and self-discipline.
Excel Martial Arts began offering classes in Traditional Shotokan Karate, under the leadership of Sensei Alex Foygelman.
Can anyone practice Karate?
Yes! Karate students come from all age groups, ethnic and religious backgrounds and both sexes: it doesn’t matter what your current level of fitness is – Karate is designed to gradually improve your fitness, as you progress.
What will training involve?
Classes begin with a comprehensive warm-up, to ensure that the body is ready for physical training and to develop flexibility. During beginners’ courses, the main class will initially be split up into groups: one for beginners and one for more advanced students, ensuring that each group may be taught at an appropriate level and pace. The three sections of Karate training are:
Kihon (basic technique)– where blocks, strikes and stances, the fundamentals of Kara
te, are taught
Kata (forms/patterns)– an extended series of combination techniques representing symbolic defense against multiple assailants and containing the close-range techniques of Karate, and
Kumite (fighting/sparring)– where the techniques learned in Kihon and Kata are put to use against ‘real’ opponents. Kumite begins with basic blocks and counter-strikes to single, named attacks, becoming more advanced as the student progresses, to Jiyu-Kumite (free-fighting), where students learn to attack with, and defend against, multiple unannounced attacks more akin to a real ‘street’ scenario.
What will I get out of training?
To reach a high standard in Karate requires enthusiastic and consistent physical training, promoting fitness, well-being and concentration, along with dedication and commitment, promoting a confident and determined character. There is also a ‘Dojo Kun’, or Code of Conduct, which not only ensures a safe and disciplined training environment but also serves as a tool for molding behavior so that true Karateka can learn the confidence and awareness to diffuse or escape dangerous situations, using violence only as a last resort. So if you’re interested in learning to stay safe and improving your fitness, confidence and personal discipline, along with a great social life and making new friends with like-minded people – why not try us out?
Alex Foygelman was born in 1957. He began training in karate in 1978 at the Central Karate School in Moscow. In 1982, with a fellow karate instructor, he founded Shotokan Karate School in the city of Stupino in the Moscow Region. From 1982 to 1993 he was a karate instructor for kids and adults within this school. In 1993 he and his family immigrated to the United States. From 1997 to 2008 he was a karate instructor for adults classes at the TNT Karate
and Self Defense School in Canton Massachusetts.
He obtained his first degree black belt in 1984 in Shotokan Karate. He then obtained his second degree black belt in 2005.
From 2009 to 2014 – karate instructor for kids and adults in New England Sport Academy.
From 2015 – teaching karate at Excel Martial Arts, Canton.