Why most training is in shoes.

Robert Barton 

            It is often considered to be tradition to train karate with bare feet. But long before these forms were being done with bare feet in Okinawa they were being done in China and often while wearing shoes. Care must be taken that we do not just assume that a cultural detail is some kind of long standing tradition or some sort of absolute. These differences in culture are often linked to things such as weather etc and what is appropriate for one environment may not be appropriate for another environment.

            Most of the time a Shorin Goju class will be conducted with students being allowed and even urged to wear shoes more in keeping with the Chinese approach. The reasons for this are simple and pragmatic with no deep dark ancient traditional meaning. We understand that when we compete we will often be required to be bare footed and are willing to accommodate local rules and regulations.

            First and foremost among our reasons for training with shoes on has to do with health. A good strong supportive shoe designed for sports applications is going to be better for the health of the foot. This is especially true of children who are growing and fare far better if their feet are supported in the proper way. When students train with good shoes they encounter less foot pain and fewer traumatic foot injuries. The wearing of shoes during training also helps to minimize long term negative effects from regular training and the physical demands of constant use. As always the well being of our students is our first consideration.

            Another reason has to do with the arts being set in a culture that wears shoes most of the time. If our students are ever in a situation in which their karate training must be applied in defense they will most likely be in shoes. If they have trained in shoes they will be more stable and effective in the application of their art.

            The support provided by a good running shoe, skateboarding shoe or modern dance shoe is especially important when a student is practicing kata or kicking a target. These are the times when the most stress is placed on the foot and so good support is important.

            We will continue wear shoes while we train and we will continue to instruct our students in the importance of good footwear to protect the foot and prevent injury. If this is seen by some as a break with tradition then so be it.

Make a Free Website with Yola.