Kihon means “ basics,” or “ fundamentals.” It is the term used to describe the practice and repetition of the basic techniques of karate. Kihon can be performed with footwork or from a stationary position. It can be performed individually or in large groups. Kihon can be considered as the alphabet of karate. By organizing various kihon techniques into sequences, kata are created*. When learning how to apply kihon techniques to another person, kumite is born. Since kihon is vital to the development of proper karate technique, Shotokan students spend a great deal of time trying to perfect it. Improve your kihon skills, and all other aspects of karate improve automatically.
Kihon is taken very seriously and is taught very consistently in the dojo to ensure that correct technique is learned at the very beginning. Bad form in the basics leads to ineffective technique and injury, therefore much attention is given to correct kihon techniques throughout the curriculum. Through continual refinement, kihon becomes central to learning the kata and drills, and in depth study will lead to more advanced techniques.
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, football. Professional football players continue to practice dribbling, passing, free kicks, set pieces, etc. in an effort to maintain and perfect the more complex skills used during a football match.