As a Shotokan Karate club we follow the Traditional Karate Arts Canada association syllabus for our fundamental techniques and kata (forms). We also attend Karate tournaments so that we can test our techniques and forms against other Karate practitioners. The fundamental techniques and kata are considered to be the Art aspect of Karate while tournaments are considered to be the sport aspect. One or both of these two components are found at most Karate clubs.
These components are great for building confidence, spirituality, athleticism and sportsmanship. However, if these aspects are promoted as self-defense, it could lead to a false sense of ability and security because preparing for a tournament or practicing pre-determined drills at the dojo are not a reflection of real world violence. That's why when it comes to the physical aspect of self-defense, we practice techniques that have been proven to work through pressure testing. But it's important to note that Grand River Shotokan believes true self-defense starts long before it gets physical and this is something most martial arts club fail to address.
The team at Grand River Shotokan enjoys the Art and Sport aspects of Karate because its fun for kids and adults alike, it's a great character builder, it increases focus and concentration and it's a fantastic way to stay active at every stage in life. But our end game is to make sure that if things get physical, you are physically and psychologically prepared to defend yourself intelligently using Karate as it was meant to be used before it became a sport.