Zen Karate - moving mindfulness for health and wellbeing

People may take up Zen Karate as a way to keep healthy, to become more peaceful, or because they have an interest in Zen Buddhism.

How does Zen Karate differ from other forms of karate?

In Zen Karate the movements are more fluid, and the emphasis is on mindful awareness

of the body and mind, rather than on self-defence or fighting.


T0 create a space for mindfulness and self knowledge, health and wellbeing,

Zen Karate utilises four methods:

Breathing/energy work

similar to tai chi, this consists of breathing whilst concentrating on energetic feelings with the body

Choreographed patterns

Known in Japan as kata, and China as Quan, the performer concentrates on the belly and energetic

feelings within the body whilst moving through choreographed patterns of varying complexity.

This demands, and increases, concentration, awareness and body control.

Partner work

Step work - one partner steps in and 'attacks'. The other person evades, whilst moving with the

partner's intention and receives their 'attack'. Although from the outside this might look aggressive

and as 'attack and 'defence', in fact, students are using the interactions to help each other become

aware of their emotions, thoughts and reactions. (Partner work is suspended until covid risk reduced)

Seated meditation (zazen)

Sitting and calmly focusing on your breathing or thoughts.


Along side of the above, stretching and strengthening movements keep the body supple and mobile.


A typical session may run as follows:

Breath/energy work,

Patterns practice

Partner work

Cool down


Standing/seated meditation

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About Andy

Andy began practicing Shotokan Karate and Zen nearly forty years ago. After a brief spell of

training in Zen Shorin Do Karate 20 years ago, he began to research the Chinese origins of Karate,

and these findings have informed his practice ever since, making it more fluid and centred. Through this

research he came to realise that if practiced correctly, Karate could be a very good vehicle for Zen


Andy is also works as a sports therapist based in Bishops Waltham near Winchester.