Sports karate

MIT alum teaches Shotokan principles and philosophy

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MIT Shotokan Karate club hosted the Harvard Shotokan club Feb. 19 for a fundamentals seminar with Vazrik Chiloyan ’11, a 2nd degree black belt.
Anselmo Cassiano–The Tech


On Sunday, February 19, the MIT Shotokan Karate club hosted the Harvard Shotokan Karate club for a fundamentals seminar in the MIT Zesiger Center. Second degree black belt Vazrik Chiloyan ’11 taught a class focusing on the fundamentals of karate: the subtle details of posture, breathing, and form. Chiloyan advocated that the ability to self-reflect to the degree required to be successful in karate also brings success to other aspects of life. He coached that having self-awareness in posture and interaction with others are part of the many of the fundamentals that are trained by karate. 

Karate training relies on three principles: kihon (basics), kata (choreographed forms), and kumite (sparring). The club trains the kihon to develop fundamental basic techniques, kata to learn about combinations of these techniques and rhythm, and kumite to put basics and rhythm together along with timing to be able to put these ideas to practical use. 

The Harvard and MIT Shotokan Karate clubs, each over 30 years old, have fostered the tradition of formal karate as a way of bringing students together, even during stressful studies, to build relationships and bonds that last a lifetime. With this growing relationship, the clubs have also begun to organize a wider variety of seminars and events for spring 2017. In the first week of March, MIT will host two special guests from Japan for a seminar, taught by eighth degree black belt Kazumi Tabata, bringing together the karate clubs of MIT, Harvard, BU, Tufts, and other local karate practitioners.  

Along this same route, the MIT club is working on developing the biggest Shotokan Karate intercollegiate tournament in the east coast. At the Harvard-MIT Shotokan Cup 2017, set to take place on April 22, 2017 in DuPont Gymnasium at MIT, the MIT and Harvard Shotokan Karate clubs will be hosting over a dozen colleges in the east coast. The goal is not only to foster excitement for karate and give students the opportunity to showcase their hard work, but also to develop a deep bond, driven by karate, that will strengthen the link between colleges.