As with anything in life, we cannot perform advanced tasks without first having learned the basics. The same is true in karate. One cannot be expected to be a world champion kumite (sparring) competitor if he does not even know the basic techniques. One cannot perform advanced techniques without first learning the basic ones. Basically, we learn to walk before we learn to run.
In Shotokan training, Kihon (basics) training consists primarily of working on stance, simple punching, moving, and kicking, as well as combinations of techniques from basic (fixed traditional) stances. These basics are often performed and perfected through repetition.
Some Basic Techniques
An example of basic techniques training in the course of a session may include the following:
* Front-stance - stepping punch - 5 times
* Front-stance - upper rising block - 5 times
* Front-stance - outside forearm block - 5 times
* Front-stance - front snap kick - 5 times
* Front-stance - uppper-rising block, counter reverse punch
* Front-stance - outside forearm block, counter reverse punch
* Front-stance - front-snap kick, stepping punch, reverse punch
* Back-stance - sword-hand block, front-leg front snap kick, change to front-stance spear hand strike
Of course the list is endless and the basics become more and more complicated as time goes on, but they are still basics. As we progress through our karate training, we also learn about sparring (kumite) usually starting off with basic sparring with fixed techniques, and progressing to free-style sparring.
Another source of good basics training is found in Kata. This is because Kata contain most of the standard Shotokan techniques in their basic form. Later as one learns the applications to the kata, the techniques may be later adapted to kumite. In this sense, Karate training consists of a symbiant circle of Basics (Kihon), Kata, and Kumite (Sparring). Leaving out any one of these elements weakens the circle.