Shotokan Karate Basic Training

Shomen And Hanmi

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Shomen And Hanmi

shotokan karate basic trainingShomen and hanmi are an important part of shotokan karate basic training, this is an area that should be practiced diligintly.

Karateka who have been training a short time find shomen hanmi very difficult.

Many shotokan karate dojo place tremendous importance on this area, but karate Sensei differ in the way they teach and practice shomen and hanmi, so please, if you are new to karate classes, ask your dojo sensei for an explanation of shomen and hanmi.

A beginner to shotokan karate will be told that hanmi (side facing), is used for the basic blocks in front stance.

And shomen (square facing), is used for the two basic punches oi zuki (stepping punch) and gyaku zuki (reverse punch).

A big mistake people make when going from a blocking position (hanmi) to a reverse punch position (shomen), is the front knee moving from side to side.

When in zenkutsu dachi (front stance), try and make sure the front knee stays still as you rotate through shomen and hanmi.

Another common mistake is moving the head from side to side. Try and keep the head stationary, eyes facing fully forward when blocking and punching.

One more mistake when working on shomen and hanmi, is coming up and down in the stance, down on the reverse punch and up on the block, try and keep the same height.

Along with the rotation of the hips and body, the feeling should also be forward.

For example, if you have the left leg in front and you are blocking age uke with the left arm, when the body and hips rotate from shomen to hanmi, the feeling should also be forward with the left side of the body, not just rotation.

Similarly, if you are punching gyaku tsuki with the right arm after the left age uke, then the body and hips rotate from hanmi to shomen and the the right side of the body drives forward.

This is one of the most important areas of shotokan karate basic training, mastering this will not only give you correct technique, but the ability to generate tremendous power.

Having an excellent shomen and hanmi will also enable you to understand the more advanced concepts of Shotokan karate.

Shomen and Hanmi is classed as shotokan karate basic training, so if a karateka cannot master this, then the advanced karate will always be out of reach.

Shotokan Karate Basic Training

This is classed as shotokan karate basic training, but don’t get despondent if you do not grasp it right away. This takes lots of practice, lots of conditioning and repetition.

Patience is definately the name of the game when practicing karate. Things like shomen hanmi need to become a part of your karate and only time and practice will make this happen.

Little and often is way better than practicing 5 hours once per month. Routine is everything! Get yourself in a routine, or if you are really busy and you struggle getting a regular time, say to yourself, ‘if i get 20 minutes to spare, i will work on shomen and hanmi’

I guarantee you it will not take long to see results if your practice is at regular intervals, even if it’s only for short time spans.

We have added for our members lots of follow along classes, which we recorded from our live zoom karate classes. These often focus on themes and they are short classes.

They were not especially designed for busy people alone, we believe our members take more information on board if it’s in short bursts.

If you are not yet a member and you get a chance, check out our online Dojo. We are continually adding new content  to help you rapidly improve your karate.

Linden Huckle

About the author

Linden Huckle has been practicing and teaching karate for over 50 years and believes first and foremost, karateka should enjoy their karate. He says 'there is nothing better than seeing a person develop into a great person through their karate practice, while at the same time enjoying karate.'

Linden Huckle