While learning karate in the early days, you may here the sensei say online or to the class ‘Kime!’or ‘More Kime’
Kime translates as focus and there are many interpretations of kime. When someone starts learning karate, they will be told to squeeze their muscles for a split second, upon completion of a karate move, then completely relax, whilst keeping their form.
The trouble is, kime is difficult for karate black belts, never mind someone attending karate classes for the first time.
when my karate sensei first starts explaining kime, he would just say, ‘relax, tense, relax’. Now this is just referring to the muscles, kime goes much deeper than this, but today, let us just talk about the muscles.
Just before a strike lands, the muscles should be as relaxed as possible, then on impact, squeeze all the muscles for a split second. This tension should only be held for a split second, then the muscles immediately relax.
The problem is, it is extremely difficult to do and someone new to the dojo, will invariably hold the tension way to long, sometimes holding a lot of tension, for the duration of the entire karate class! This is where karate becomes very robotic and if karateka continue to train with too much tension in this way, they will start to get good at their bad habit and find it very difficult to change later on.
So I encourage you to be conscious of the three physical stages, ‘relax, tense, relax’ and ensure your karate is strong, be fluid and not robotic, your karate should be strong, but it should also flow..
There is a lot more to kime than just ‘relax, tense, relax’, but this is where you have to get it right, before you can move on.
Great care should be taken when practicing kime with the karate moves, if practiced incorrectly it may cause injury, so please find a qualified instructor and sign up for their karate classes online or off.