TMSK Study Notes

Yellow Belt Level

Student Commitment

Once you become a member of this school you are expected to show a sincere commitment to the study of karate. You must demonstrate a genuine desire to learn and absorb the knowledge and information that is presented to you. You must also learn to accept your responsibilities as a member of this school to uphold the standards in technique and in character. In particular developing humility and good manners.

The study of karate requires an enormous amount of your time. It is a way of life that requires perseverance and commitment. It is also a discipline, in this school, that encourages proper human relationships and challenges the individual to search for the truth. From time to time, you will find the training demanding some sacrifices on other areas of your life. This does not mean that karate should be your first in priority. Karate should never come before God, neither should it come before your family nor education. But it does mean determination from you and every effort to make available to yourself all the opportunities to promote your understanding of karate and your growth as an individual.

You must study diligently and study with humility. To master the techniques you must practice endlessly and with greater endeavor. The road to perfection is long and tedious. There is no other means but patience and super-human effort. Do not be overcome by discouragement as this only defeats the mind. Understand the course of your training will be charted by many ups and downs, and it will be a continuous challenge throughout your life as long as you continue to train. It will test your mental fortitude and it will stretch and mold the fabric of your whole character. The knowledge is limitless and perfection is a life-long pursuit. I hope you will take on this challenge seriously and honestly. Develop your body, your mind, and most important of all seek the true spiritual development that will set you free.


The observance and exercise of proper etiquette is an integral part of your karate training. Do this along with the practice of good manners. Create an environment that is respectable and enjoyable for all concerned.

  1. Always address the chief instructor as ‘Sensei’ or ‘Sensei Mah’, in or out of dojo.
  2. Other black belts are to be called ‘Sempai’ or ‘Sempai + name’, in or out of dojo.
  3. Greet Sensei, other instructors, and classmates with a bow on your arrival at the dojo.
  4. Greet Sensei when he enters the dojo.
  5. Acknowledge or respond to an instruction with the word ‘Hai’ (yes).
  6. Bow to each other before commencing and at the finish of a partner routine.
  7. Junior rank and young members should take the initiative in sweeping/mopping the floor at the end of each class.


Do to others as you would have them do unto you!!!

  1. Be humble, gracious, courteous, and respectful
  2. Be helpful, caring, supportive, and encouraging
  3. Be committed to and consistent with your training
  4. Believe in what you do and do it with a passion


Accepting responsibilities helps to promote a healthy relationship between you and your fellow karatekas.

  1. Live honestly, righteously, with dignity and integrity.
  2. Control your temper. Be gracious and forgiving towards each other.
  3. Avoid abusive use of drugs and alcohol.
  4. Do not partake in illegal substances.
  5. Use your skills wisely and responsibly.
  6. Strive to be on time for class.
  7. Avoid the use of abusive or offensive language.
  8. Maintain personal cleanliness at all time and keep short nails.
  9. Do not chew gum or eat during training
  10. Jewelry, watches, metallic objects, etc are not to be worn during training
  11. Only approved karategis with authorized markings may be worn during class.
  12. Avoid the use of perfume or cologne during training as it may cause allergic reaction in some people.
  13. Help to maintain a clean floor for everyone to enjoy. Sweep/mop floor before class ends in preparation for the class after.

Orange Belt Level

Criteria For Scoring in Ippon Kumite

  1. Proper Timing
  2. Proper Distance
  3. Speed
  4. Power
  5. Good Form
  6. On target

What are basic techniques and what is the importance of them in karate development?

Basic techniques are the foundational skills and the building blocks in karate development. They are like the alphabets in the English language or the numbers in mathematical equations. Basic techniques are movements or positions that teaches one how to create maximum speed and power and improve balance through proper body alignment and coordination of muscles and joints. Examples of basic karate techniques would be a reverse punch, a front kick, a knifehand strike, or a lunge punch.
Basic karate techniques are of utmost importance in that they are the first steps in a karateka’s development. Without the proper understanding and the correct development of each basic movement the ability to progress to a high level is not possible. As compared with the construction of a building, the stronger the foundation the taller the building that can be erected upon that foundation.
The proper way to practice the bascis is to learn each one first in isolation until they are mastered. The degree of mastery over these basic techniques directly affects one’s ability to perform kata and to fight efficiently and gracefully.

Green Belt Level

Refer to Yellow Level notes plus “Kime” below.


Kime is the focus on the physical, mental, and spiritual energy into one moment in time at the end of a technique (please read the notes on Shi Ki Ryoku in the black belt level section for an in-depth explanation).

Blue Belt Level

Timing (proper): executing a technique at a time when it is the most effective. The various timings one can use to launch an attack is as follows:

  • Sen: taking the initiative to attack and is best performed when the opponent is neither physically nor mental ready or both. The following timings below are the various stages of taking the initiative
  • Sen no sen: attacking the moment just before the opponent decides to launch his attack beating him to the punch
  • Tai no sen: attacking the same time the opponent is attacking
  • Go no sen: attacking immediately after the completion of the opponent’s attack.


Zanshin is the physical preparedness and mental awareness that is maintained and carried on after the performance of a technique or a ‘kill’ expressed in the concept of isshin or “one mind” . It is what remains after the kime. It is a conscious endeavor that enables the individual to continue in defense or offense. In terms of scoring, it is of utmost importance in the ippon concept. In order for ippon to occur, zanshin must be maintained. Zanshin is the ‘Shin’ in the ‘Shin Ki Ryoku’ concept (as explained in the next question). Zanshin must also be demonstrated in kata and always at the end of the performance. Zanshin in not a matter of where the eyes look or how the body is poised because these will change depending on the circumstances, the number of opponents and the attitude of the person in Zanshin.

Brown Belt Level

What is Kata?

Kata is formal exercise. It is a prearranged sequence of movements expressing a fighting sequence involving four or more imaginary opponents. In kata many of the elements of attack and defense are an integral part of the pattern – rhythm, timing, tactic, strategy, awareness, combinations, and footwork.
Each movement in the kata has multiple applications. Some are obvious while some are hidden and require explanation or by self-discovery through many years of training, studying, and researching.
Kata is karate in its purest form. It permits the practitioner to execute techniques to their fullest without the concern of inflicting damage on someone else.
Within Shito-Ryu there are over 60 different katas. Some are very simple and short while others are long and complicated. Some focus on the strengthening of the body while others are intended to develop fighting skills. Most katas have both these elements.

Important points in kata performance

  1. Competence
  2. Proper focus of attention (chakugan)
  3. Use of power
  4. Good balance
  5. Demonstration of fast and slow, hard and soft elements
  6. Proper breathing (abdominal breathing and no unnecessary audible sounds)
  7. Continuity or flow
  8. Meaningful demonstration of the techniques used
  9. Proper basics
  10. Proper rhythm
  11. Zanshin

Important elements in Kata

  1. Yo (necessity) – kata movements must be meaningful. There must be a reason for the particular movement demonstrated – offensive, defensive, or kamae. The self-defense aspect must be inherent in the kata.
  2. Ryu (continuity) – the kata should demonstrate a continuous flow of movements that are connected. It should be a story told without interruptions.
  3. Ri (beauty) – within the content of the kata should be an inherent element of beauty that is not dependent on the expression of the performer. It is already there regardless of the ability or the understanding of the practioner. The Ri and Yo mentioned above keep the kata alive because of its usefulness and its beauty.

Black Belt Level

All of above items plus below.


Shin is the heart – which expresses commitment, will, and the mind
Ki – is the energy which gives ‘life’ to the technique
Ryoku is the physical strength or techniqueThe consequence of these 3 things combined is kime. But the termination of each of these should occur at different stages: Ryoku or technique will finish first when the physical body reaches the end of the technique; Ki, related to breath, will carry on a little further; but the Shin or the mind can be maintained for a much longer time which is zanshin. The Shin Ki Ryoku concept is related to ‘isshin’ or ‘one mind’ where at the moment of execution of a technique or the focus point of these three things, the whole being is totally on that one performance.

Ichi-Gun, Ni-Soku, San-Tan, Chi-Ryoku

In order to take advantage of the opponent’s kyo or suki for attack or counter attack, the following need to take place in the stated sequence:
Ichi-Gun: First you must see with your physical eyes as well as with your mind’s eye the opponent’s movement, his intention, strength and weakness, and his strategy. The ‘Gun’ also means where one places/focus the eyes and the strength of the gaze.
Ni-Soku: Second there must be proper footwork and stance/base to exploit the opponent’s ‘suki’
San-Tan: Represents the spirit or courage that is required to bring the body into action. ‘Tan’ is the tanden that refers to the centre of gravity and tension in the abdomen and also refers to mental status.
Chi-Ryoku: Fourth is the use of strength and the application of technique. The potential maximization of the technique is dependent on the successful accomplishment of the previous three conditions.In summary: one must see first before an action could be taken, then the feet must bring about an effective ‘maai’ or create a solid base in preparation for defense or offense, courage and spiritual strength then can bring forth the technique to defend and neutralize the opponent.

The Three Aspects of Throwing Techniques

  1. Kuzushi – off balancing the opponent while maintaining yours
  2. Tsukuri – position for the throw
  3. Kake – throw

The art of throwing successfully requires the mastery of these three aspects – break balance, prepare for throw, and then the technique. The breaking of balance must occur prior to any attempt to throw. Otherwise a counter throw can happen very easily. Some throws will occur in the mentioned succession, others require the kuzushi and tsukuri to happen at the same time. Still in others the three phases happen simultaneously. In rare occasions, the tsukuri happens before the kuzushi and finishing with kake.

Su Ha Ri

Su – to protect; to obey
The dual meaning of this term describes the relationship of the teacher and the student. The student’s responsibility is to copy and do exactly the basic things being taught by the teacher, without question, so that a proper foundation is developed. The teacher on the other hand must watch over and guide the student to ensure that the proper progress is made.
Ha – to break free; to frustrate
The breaking free comes at the black belt level and means the student is no longer inhibited by the fundamentals but rather is able to apply the principles learned through the basics in new ways. The student’s individuality will also become more evident in the way he performs. These times may also be a frustrating one for the teacher as the student’s study leads to endless questions.
Ri – to separate; to set free
Here at a much higher level of black the student begins to separate from the teacher having learned all that he could from the teacher. This separation does not mean the relationship is severed but rather the way of study for the student is now through self-discovery and research rather than by instruction and is now able to become creative in his own ways. The relationship itself continues as a fully matured student/teacher relationship where the student, though independent, is still respectful of the teacher’s wisdom and counsel and his permanent position in the student’s life. As the student seeks independence the teacher must also recognize this stage of growth and set the student free without hindrance, free to study as the student’s ability enables and his heart desires.