Kihon is a Japanese term meaning “basics” or “fundamentals.” The term is used to refer to the basic techniques that are taught and practiced in Karate.
Kihon covers the training of all the various stances, kicks, blocks, strikes, punches and body movements that are used in kata and kumite. Techniques can be practiced individually or in combinations to improve agility and fluidity of movement.
One of the key objectives of practicing kihon is to gain an understanding of how your body moves in order to generate as much power as possible with the minimum of effort. This power is then applied to the various defensive and offensive techniques used in kata and kumite. Kihon also develops correct technique, correct body mechanics, posture, tension, speed, balance and endurance. Arguably the most important element of the Goju-Ryu syllabus, it is the first step towards understanding your opponent’s movements and ultimately controlling them.
Japanese Masters have traditionally believed that only by thoroughly mastering the basics can a student develop the skills and knowledge necessary to move on to more sophisticated, creative levels of the discipline. Traditional Japanese teachings tell us that if one’s kihon is strong, one’s karate is strong. Just as a building cannot stand without the proper foundations, and as a tree falls over without its roots, karate techniques cannot be executed properly without mastering the basics.
Kihon individual movements are undertaken repetitively to establish correct muscle memory (habits) and perfection of technique. Only by conditioning the body through repetition can one react spontaneously without thought in real life combat.