Kihon techniques tend to be practiced often, in many cases during each practice session. They are considered fundamental to mastery and improvement of all movements of greater complexity. Kihon in martial arts can be seen as analogous to basic skills in, for example, basketball. Professional NBA players continue to practice dribbling, passing, free throws, jump shots, etc. in an effort to maintain and perfect the more complex skills used during a basketball game.
Styles of karate differ greatly in the emphasis placed on kihon. Kihon may be practised as "floor exercises", where the same technique or combination is repeated multiple times as the students move back and forth across the floor. Japanese kihon training is notorious for extended periods of kihon training. This style of practice is believed to ingrain the techniques into the muscle memory of the karateka.
Some styles employ "kihon kata" in teaching beginners. Additionally, kihon may take the form of prearranged partner drills whereby two students face either other and alternate execution of a technique. This approach combines repetition with training in distancing. Targets for punching and kicking, such as bags, shields, or dummies, are generally used at more advanced stages of kihon training to strengthen muscles, bones, and skin.
Some styles have a small set of basic techniques that are practiced consistently every single class. Others might have scores of techniques that are each only practiced every couple of months.
In 2005 the All Japan Kendo Federation presented the new methodology "Bokuto Ni Yoru Kendo Kihon-waza Keiko-ho". The aim of the methodology was to develop a form of training that could be included into standard kendo practice for the following purposes:
In aikido there are also assorted kihon systems depending on the style. Iwama style kihon tends to be from a static powerful grab, whereas Shodokan kihon starts with two people separated by a defined distance. In all cases the role of both participants is strictly defined. Yoshinkan aikido also places a strong emphasis on kihon techniques.
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