I've been a keen karate student for 16 years, Shukokai and Shotokan, but there still seems to be no shortage of things to learn and explore. I'm hoping this blog will allow me to share my experiences and hear other martial artists thoughts.

Moving targets

Last night’s training included a good session using focus mitts. Writing this blog gives me an opportunity to think about the different training techniques and equipment you come across and how they’re useful.

Using focus mitts gives you a different challenge to using the bigger pads.

  • You have a smaller and more mobile target area to aim.
  • You get a different sense of feedback when you strike it in the right area.
  • It’s mobility allows either mitt to be placed to represent different target areas of the body.
  • Your partner has both greater mobility and the chance to throw counter movements to allow incorporate the practise of evasive movement.

Last nights session was a great workout, it got the blood pumping and I had a great partner to work with. As I worked through the sequence and started to feel a bit of tiredness I consciously didn’t take the easier route of having a longer breather and got back into it. I also switched my lead striking hand to make sure I worked both sides through the focus mitt sequence.

It’s another example of how in every training session there are plenty of opportunities for you to take control of how you’re training and get the most of your time in the dojo.

How do you rate focus mitt use in your own training?



  info@dojotalk.com wrote @

I haven’t personally used the focus mitts very often. However, after listening to a few podcasts that listed many of the same benefits you have mentioned, I bought a set. Now, I just need a partner to hold them! (wife isn’t too keen on the idea)


  nwukshukokai wrote @

What is it about wifes and focus mitts :), with a bit more foresight perhaps I might have included it as a part of our vows! I love a good session on the pads, focus mitts or the bag I have in the garage and working up a good sweat. Sometimes I have to stop myself getting wrapped up in just giving it a good welly and make sure I’m working on understanding how use the techniques and body movement well and to not just rely on using my natural size. At the moment my movement is something I’m really trying to work on and understanding how to really use the stances as the way to shift my body position around.

  info@dojotalk.com wrote @

I am also a motorcycle instructor. I often have students asking me about going to the track. “Its great”, I tell them, but always with this warning, “If you go, determine what your purpose is. If you are going just to go fast, then fine. But, if you are going to improve, you are going to have to go slow at first and focus on improvement rather than speed”.

The same goes with pad/bag work. Its not uncommon to see a decent martial artist step up to a heavy bag and soon lose all technique because they are focusing solely on whacking the darn thing as hard as they can.

  nwukshukokai wrote @

Working on techniques at a slower pace was a big thing I took away from my Shotokan. My sensei would often quote a well know British Shotokan Karateka Terry O’Neill as saying if you can’t do it correctly slowly then you won’t be able to do it correctly fast. I enjoy working through a technique or kata at a much slower pace and concentrating on all the fine detail you need to understand.

  info@dojotalk.com wrote @

I’m constantly telling the other students in my studio to slow down (I’m the assistant instructor), especially with forms, reminding them to perform each and every technique just as well as if they were only doing that one. When students string things together, as we do in forms, its common for one technique to get lost or smashed into the next one.

I was actually inspired to write a blog post through these comments – The Art of Going Slow. It should be out in a couple of days at DojoTalk.com

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