People often label me as the Filipino Martial Arts guy, but I have actually been training in Karate longer. I began my training with Kuk Sool Won, which had a Korean version of Karate in it, and then several other styles of Karate including Shotokan, Soo Ryu, Shito Ryu, and even Tae Kwon Do. I never stayed in one school long enough to earn a black belt, but I continue to train in my own expression of Karate which I have done since 1991.
The western mindset is one in which the student asks, what is this for? And the teacher is suppose to give the answer. This type of training is called skill training, where your goal is to acquire the skill. In Japan, the mindset is that the student is suppose to struggle to find the answer themselves, and as they train, their answer changes overtime and evolves, because they themselves change. This second type of training is called the way, where your martial arts training is a journey, and the path becomes more important than the goal. You should constantly ask yourself questions about the art in a respectful manner. Keep in mind that the answer might change as time goes by, studying Karate is like an endless puzzle. So many times in the name of truth, people think it's okay to become extremely rude and harsh, which is false, you must always be professional and polite.
A Karate Form Has More Than One Interpretation
Many Karate practitioners get confused because your school and another school may teach the same technique for a totally different purpose. The truth is that any of these methods can be practical in real life application. Some say that the Low Block is a strike to a kick, others say it's a defensive check to a kick, others say it's actually a joint lock to the arm, others say it's a pressure point strike, others say it's a strike when holding weapons, yet others say it's a wrist grab release, but the beauty is that all of these can be effectively executed. So if your looking for the answer that is more right, then your going to get lost or be stuck in a lie, comparing answers to find the best will get you nowhere. Instead just work to sharpen your technique.
In Karate the student is taught to shout as they execute techniques. Through dedicated practice the student strengthens their vocal and insides as they train. While it is true that the shout can startle opponents, the main purpose is to acclimatize yourself to the violent circumstance that you are in, so that you don't stray off from reality and end up freezing in combat or worse.
Breathing in Karate is very harsh and unnatural. This is because Karate is designed for you to fight under pressure, when your possibly at your worst, when your about to panic and freeze up in fear. This is completely different from a Boxer who is trying to fight more relaxed. If you can loosen up in an intense situation then great, use the Boxing method, but if you can't, then Karate can suit you well for that moment. Breathing tense will help you acclimatize yourself to a bad situation. Since the situation is tense so you need to be tense too. From here you can start to relax. Fighting the pressure is a bad idea, it's like fighting the ocean waves in a storm, your just going to drown, but instead if you go with the waves it will tell you when to breathe, when to hold your breathe. When practicing meditation under a waterfall, breathing becomes difficult because water can enter your mouth in an unpredictable way and it simulates drowning, the cold water can also make things much more harsh to induce panic. This is an excellent training for dealing with stress. The first step is once again to breathe in an intense manner and then slowly try to calm down. You may have to do this multiple times within a single session.
Doing your Karate form in a tense state not only strengthens your muscles, it also helps you have the ability to move under extreme pressure when your body is tensed up. Execute your moves while keeping tension so that you can fight in such a state.
Tongue To The Roof
During such a time it's natural to clench your teeth. This can ruin your teeth, so they teach you to put your tongue on the top of the inside of your mouth to prevent this. The shouting gives you moral support, while helping you accept the intensity, it also forces you to breath, because under extreme stress people naturally hold their breath and that will tire you out if you have to go longer.
As a Karate practitioner you should be very familiar with knuckle pushups, and punching various practice targets with your bare knuckles. This kind of training will help you learn how to hit without damaging your hands. You need to not only toughen up your hands, but you need to know your limitations too. Against a hard target like the skull you can use snappy punches to rattle the brain, and against softer targets like the liver you can step in and stab your punch to impact the organ.
Punch with Base
The main difference between a Karate punch and a Boxing punch is that the even though both have a structural base, The Karate punch focuses on you to primarily hold your ground and work from there. While a Boxing punch is primarily designed for you to hit and pass by your opponent. Remember that a Boxer fights in the ring and can use distance as another weapon either offensively or defensively. Karate is a self-defense style that is designed for the worst situation, when you are not able to get away, when you have been cornered and attacked, you don't have the luxury of distance in this circumstance.