Kihon , the basic techniques of karate , covers the stances , punches ,strikes kicks and blocks which form the mainstay of karate training.

Stances (Dachi) are overall body postures adopted by karateka when performing techniques Without a strong and well balanced stance, offensive and defensive techniques will not be as effective as they might possibly be.

As a karateka progresses through the grades towards Shodan (1st Dan Black Belt), progressively more emphasis is placed on getting stances perfected . Among the stances taught in shotokan karate are front stance (Zenkutsu Dachi) , straddle stance (Kiba Dachi) , and back stance (Kokutsu Dachi).

Punches (Zuki) and strikes (Uchi) are attacks made by the hand. Punches are made with the fist closed tightly,and the impact occurs on the first two knuckles.

Strikes are attacks made with the hand ,either closed into a fist or open ,but impacting with another part of the hand; perhaps the bottom of the fist (Tettsui Uchi) , the back of the fist(Uraken Uchi) , or the edge of the open hand (Shuto Uchi).

Kicks (Geri) are often thought of as the spectacular side to the oriental fighting arts, due to the success of Hollywood martial artists displaying their dynamic kicking techinques. However,developing the suppleness and strength to properly control kicks to the body is an achievement , and karateka should not seriously believe that they can ever achieve a cinematic fighting style.

Kicks utilitise the strength and balance of the entire body , not just the legs . As with all other karate techniques , only when the timing of all body movements is perfected will kicking techniques prove most effective. With careful and regular stretching , strengthening exercises and lots of patience , the karateka can achieve a high degree of skill with most useful kicking techniques .

These include the front kick (Mae Geri) , side kick (Yoko Geri Kekomi) , and back kick (Ushiro Geri) .

Blocks (Uke) allow the karateka to avoid damage by deflecting or parring an opponent's attacks . In addition, it is often the purpose of a well -executed block to leave the opponent vulnerable to a counter-attack .

The majority of blocks are performed by the forearms; for example , the outside forearm block (Soto Ude Uke) . However , what gives karate blocks their true power is the timing of the forearm movements with the movements of shoulders , legs and hips .

When all these movements are timed correctly , the block becomes a crushing attack in its own right.

kata means "formal exercise" and in the long term is probably the most rewarding facet or Karate. Kata appears at first sight to be similar to shadow boxing, although seemingly rather rigid.

The Karateka is seen to move through a series of predetermined offensive and defensive movements. In this sense Kata is like shadow boxing; fighting against imaginary opponents.

However the individual techniques of the Kata are predetermined, and the Karateka learns, studies and practices the techniques in order to improve spirit of Karate.

If a student can continuously strive to improve their understanding and appreciation of Kata,they are learning more than just Karate. In subtle ways, the Karateka s attitude, commitment and tenacity are all improved. In short, the student of Karate becomes a better person.

There are dozens of Kata taught by the various schools of Karate, and the style of each Kata is usually indicative of the philosophy of the school and the master who created it.

The Northern Karate Association uses a collection of Kata renowned in British Karate. Numerous regional and national Kata champions have come from NKA, using Kata taught by Shihan Wilson and his team of instructors.

Kumite, the training of fighting techniques, is usually the most visually exciting aspect of Karate and the facet most outsiders associate with martial arts in general.

Sparring in all its forms is, however, only one of the three facets of Karate, and without basic training[Kihon] and formal exercises[Kata] Karate is much reduced in scope of effectiveness.

Free-style sparring[Jiyu Kumite] is usually taught as progression from relatively simple stepping attacks, known as five step sparring [Go Hon Kumite] and more advanced one-attack sparring [Kihon Ippon Kumite]Free style sparring is controlled fighting; punches and kicks are "pulled",certain techniques are banned and points are scored rather than opponents injured.

Competitions allow for free-style fighters to engage other martial artists in controlled bouts,usually one or three minute long. Again,points are scored and injuries are genuinely avoided.