Curriculum Information


Forms ("kata" in Japanese) are prescribed sequences of moves that students must memorize, usually simulating an encounter with one or more attackers. Students learn one or more new forms at each rank.

The practice of forms is a traditional karate training method. Students work on forms to improve their execution of basic moves and their ability to combine these moves into more complicated techniques. They are also valuable for improving the student's memory and concentration.

As an option, IKS students may learn to execute forms with the addition of traditional Asian weapons (such as tonfa, sai, nunchuku, bo or fan), for extra practice in coordination.


The Independent Karate School trains students in a "non-contact" form of sparring ("kumite" in Japanese), conducted according to a strict set of rules. Points are scored when one participant throws a kick or strike that successfully evades the other's guard, commonly stopping short of actual contact with the body.

Students generally spar opponents of similar size and skill, although they may sometimes spar with instructors or more advanced students for teaching purposes.

Advanced students may make light contact to the abdomen in sparring matches. Students will also experience contact in the course of blocking opponents' attempts to score. However, for safety reasons, contact to the head is not permitted for students of any age or rank.

While highly restricted compared with any self-defense situation, sparring helps students develop quick reflexes and good tactical judgment.

Board Breaking

At the Independent Karate School, students are given the opportunity to develop focus, power, and confidence in their strikes by breaking boards.

While board breaking is not a feature of every class, it is offered as an event at our annual tournament, and it is a common element of our demonstrations for the public.

Younger students typically perform simple breaks, such as breaking one board with a downward stomp.

More advanced students may attempt breaks that require greater strength or accuracy to perform. Advanced students may also choose to execute breaks involving more than one strike, so long as they use one continuous motion. Students of sufficient age and strength sometimes execute breaks involving concrete patio blocks rather than wood.