Junbi Undo & Hojo Undo

Junbi Undo

Junbi undo translates into “Preliminary Exercise”. It’s the exercises that refer to those that should be carried out at the start of a lesson in order to warm up the body. In my opinion they should be at least 20 to 30 minutes long to prepare the practitioners body for the type of martial arts that lies ahead. For Karate they should contain the following elements:


  1. Joint Manipulations
  2. Body Warm Up
  3. Stretching


Joint Manipulations

These exercises involve gently manipulating the body’s joints starting from the head and working down to the feet. The movements could start by rotating the head, shoulders, flexing the elbows, wrists and fingers. This carries on by working your way down through the spine, hips, knees, ankles and toes.


Body Warm Up

This part of Junbi Undo is to warm the large muscles in the students body to prevent possibly injuries from stretching and ballistic movements that is seen within the martial art. Therefore, these exercises are aerobic in nature, however, they are not done to tire out and fatigue the student at this stage. They should be carried out just to get the heart pumping and blood circulation to warm up the practitioner’s body for the lesson ahead. Typical exercises are running on the spot, bouncing, jumping jacks, burpee, jumping and lifting knees into the chest. A range of these are done so as not to be mundane during this period of warm ups.



Once the body has been warmed up and prepared then stretching can commence. This is the final stage of Junbi Undo which prepares the body for the range and type of movements that is going to occur in the lesson. They should involve all muscle groups in the body, going through a range of stretching motions (too many to describe here) and holding them for a least 20 seconds. They can be carried out either with a partner or own your own. There are also many types, such as:

  1. Static
  2. Ballistic
  3. PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation)
  4. Isometric
  5. Active
  6. Dynamic
  7. Passive


Hojo Undo

This term translates to “Supplementary Exercise”. Although sometimes seen as basic techniques in the martial art, however, it normally refers to the training equipment which the Okinawans developed to condition and strengthen the body. The appearance of this equipment looks primitive and basic, being made from wood, stone and metal. Nevertheless, it is extremely good at developing strength, speed and posture that is required in Karate and Kobudo. The equipment is:


  1. Chiishi – concrete weights on a wooden pole.
  2. Ishi Sashi – hand held weights, like padlocks, made of stone or metal.
  3. Makiage Kigu – weight hanging on a rope from a wooden handle.
  4. Nigiri Game – ceramic jars filled with stones or sand to impart different weights.
  5. Tan – wooden bar with stone or metal weights at each end, looking like barbells.
  6. Jari Bako – bowl filled with sand or smooth stones.
  7. Tetsu Geta – metal or wooden clogs warn like sandals.
  8. Kongoken – metal oval bar that can be filled to vary the weight.
  9. Tou – a bundle of bamboo tied together either at both ends or in the middle.
  10. Makiwara – post or board with one end covered with hemp rope while the over is secured to the ground.
  11. Nagai Chiishi – this is similar to the Chiishi but the concrete weight is on the end of a Bo. (courtesy of Sanguinetti Sensei: Bushikan)


It is panned that a in depth article will be written about Hojo Undo and will be made available to our members via the Members’ Pages – so keep a watchful eye out!