Shotokan Karate


Shotokan Karate was developed by Sensei Funakoshi, in the early 20th century in Japan. It practises three main disciplines of Karate; Kihon, Kumite and Kata.

This, along with the philosophy of Dojo kun, is the foundation on which ESKA and St Albans karate is built. Dojo Kun reminds all Karateka, regardless of their rank, that the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of their karate training must extend beyond the dojo's walls.

Strive to perfect character
Defend the paths of truth
Foster the spirit of effort
Honour the rules of etiquette
Guard against rash courage


Kihon is the most basic form of karate training. Kihon consists of repeating individual or combinations of techniques many times. This includes various stanes, punches, kicks, strikes and blocks. These individual techniques are the building blocks on which the rest of your karate is built - even the simplest of movements can take a lifetime to master.


The translation of the Japanese word 'kumite' is 'sparring' and therefore is done with an opponent. Kumite can come in many forms, including basic, semi-freestyle and freestyle sparring. For this reason kumite is commonly the most competitive of the three main training methods.

Kihon Ippon Kumite and Jiyu Ippon Kumite are the most common sparring forms learnt before 1st Dan. Ippon sets 1-5 are demonstrated by Sensei Drew in the below video series.


In word 'kata' translates from Japanese as 'form'. A Kata consists of a predefined sequence of karate defences and attacks against a number of imaginary opponents. The ESKA syllabus includes 27 different Katas of which 12 are learnt before black belt. The remaining 14 are learnt as you progress through the Dan grades. An excellent series showing most kata is available below.

10th - 4th Kyu3rd - 2st Kyu 1st Kyu1st Dan2nd Dan3rd Dan+
Heian Shodan Tekki ShodanEnpi HangetsuKanku ShoWankan
Heian NidanBassai DaiJitteTekki NidanNijushihoUnsu
Heian SandanKanku DaiJinBassai ShoMeikyoGojushiho Dai
Heian YondanJionGankakuSochinGojushiho Sho
Heian GodanChinteTekki Sandan

Our Students



Beginning karate at age 6, I attended a few Dojo's until settling at a local Wado Kai club. Unfortunately, after achieving my First Dan in Wado Karate, I moved away and had no local clubs to train with. Upon moving to St Albans, I joined ESKA and felt right at home. The Sensei's have worked closely with me to help adapt my previous style to ESKA Shotokan, and I have managed to quickly redevelop my skills. My fellow students have also been incredibly welcoming and made me feel at home.

I have had oppertunity to attend many gradings, club events and national competitions since joining only 4 years ago, and recently acheived my Shodan. I am now focussing on competition.



When my daughter, who was six at the time, showed an interest in karate, we found in the St Albans club the perfect option where we could both join and train at the same time in a welcoming environment. I’ve found it difficult to overcome fitness, injury and flexibility issues but with the support of the instructors and the club as a whole, I’ve been able to go much further than I ever imagined and am now on track to achieve my black belt in 2021.


The club has a real family feel and the Sensei's are so welcoming. It’s more than karate. Emily has loved the Christmas parties, water fights in the summer and snowman competitions! Also, when the first lockdown came and schools and all clubs closed, karate continued and hasn’t stopped. The instructors kept in touch with all the kids which was so vital when everything else around them changed.


Both ESKA St Albans and ESKA Redbourn have been fantastic about supporting our son who has additional needs. They've not only shown flexibility and supported his development, but also encouraged him to challenge himself by supporting those learning at a lower grade. Something I never imagined he'd be able to do. It's a family-friendly club, which is welcoming and supportive, and it forms a significant part of my sons life outside school. They even put up with my constant questions as I have absolutely no clue about grades and belts and licences and katas...! Highly recommend ESKA.