27th May, 2022

Shisakuteki karate training session template

Previously I have explained why running is not an appropriate method of training nor warming up for martial athletes. With this post I explain how a training session should look like to be as specific as possible to teaching and practicing Shisakuteki karate or other mixed martial arts.


A training session for Shisakuteki karate should focus on teaching and developing the technical skills and tactical abilities related to fighting.

During these training sessions, nothing but techniques and tactics are to be developed and taught: the taching of the scientific principles and philosophy associated with Shisakuteki karate do not belong to these sessions, and neither do the development of strength and conditioning for fighting.

This is because every student has individual prior knowldge and physical capabilities, each student deserves and requires individualized teaching and training. Both teaching and training can be given during strength and conditioning training sessions, but these sessions are not discussed in this post.


A training session should be divided in the following parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. Warm-up
    1. General
    2. Spcific
  3. Main part
  4. Cool-down

The ideal training session should last between 60 and 120 minutes. Novices should train closer to the lower end of the range and advanced athletes should trainer closer to the upper end. The amount of time dedicated to each part of the training session must be proportionate and appropriate for to the level of the trainees.

Introduction (about 10 minutes)

During the introduction the training objective and structure is mentioned by the coach, students should be encouraged to ask qustions regarding these topics. It is an important part of the training session but often overlooked.

Warm-up (about 30 minutes)

The duration of the warm-up should reflect the conditioning of the trainee, a novice requires less time to warm-up than an advanced athlete.

As explained previously, a general warm-up has the main objective to raise body temperature, while a specific warm-up has the aim to loosen the joints that will be used during the training session.

A general warm-up should be made of sport-specific movements such as technique drills, shadow boxing at the mirror, shadow boxing with partners, sparring. These movements should be performed at moderate intensity, and sparring should be particularly light - more resembling of shadow boxing - than actual sparring. The duration of the general warm-up should be of about 10 minutes.

A specific warm-up should be made of dynamic stretching of the joints that are involved in the main part of the training session, technique drills, shadow boxing, sparring. The movements should resemble those that will be performed during the main part of the training session, and the intensity should be higher compared to the general warm-up. The duration of the specific warm-up should be of about 20 minutes.

Main part (from 30 to 80 minutes)

The main part of a training session is dedicated to teaching and developing technical skills and tactical abilities. These skills and abilities should be explained, demonstrated and then practiced. Novices require a lot of time spent in explanations and demonstrations, while advanced trainees require more time practicing.

During this part, tools such as pads and heavy bags are used, as well as specialized training techniques such as sparring with special rules. These are necessary to develop the required skills and abilities. These techniques are required mostly by novices and intermediate trainees, while advanced trainees only require sparring.

Cool-down (about 20 minutes)

This part of the training session should be up to 20 minutes long and should include low intensity exercises and static stretching to improve flexibility, which is particularly important for fighters.

The cool-down after exercise is not as beneficial as it is traditionally thought to be, and it even may affect negatively the performance of the athlete were he to perform further training sessions in the same day (van Hooren & Peake, 2018).

Novices may need guidance on how to improve their flexibility and can benefit from supervision during static stretching training, it is also unlikely that novices will participate in more than a single training session in the same day. More advanced athletes may not need any cool-down strategy, and their training sessions may lack the cool-down entirely.


More information on training structure and methods

Hard and soft sparring

The majority of sparring should be soft contact, which is identified by purposely slower strikes with the objective to practice and learn without causing or suffering injures. Hard contact sparring, which resembles actual fights more, should be limited not not completely eliminated as it also serves different essential purposes.

Sparring hard has a much higher risk of injury, and any injury caused or received will compromise the ability to continue practicing. Sparring light does not mean that the intensity should be low, it can and should be high.