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