As route setters, we must constantly look back and examine what shortcomings we have found in the tasks we set. Even if we think we are good, practice can drag motivated climbers (those who practice over and over again) into a vicious cycle. We must constantly hone our fundamentals, question whether we are embodying a reasonable climbing "type" and continue to explore and experiment by setting a sound example.
What are the basics for route setters?
Climbing is a very complex exercise, and even if you want to understand it systematically, you don't even know where the entrances are. As much as you may want to have a firm, systematic understanding of it, you don't even know where the entrance is.
We post a column on route setting.
We're going to explore the unique and wonderful art of route setting from a broader perspective.
You have to observe manners strictly and then you can violate them or break with them provided that you are still based upon the principles.
How is climbing progress measured? Improvement of grades? Increase the number of moves we can make? Add more force and endurance? With this, certainly one can say that they have improved. However, at what costs? Surely, some advocate for the fastest improvement time, but does one consider the potential for injury, which eventually may cause a plateau to be reached? After hitting this for some time, gradually, people become bored or tired, and leave the sport. If you are a route setter, you already know the facts.
So what is true progress? To us, it means nothing more than to raise the fundamental level of body, mind, technical ability, emotion, knowledge and everything else needed for climbing. It is our measure of success.
Its essence lie in the “KATA” of ancient Japanese martial arts, tea ceremonies, calligraphy and Shinto. The history of “KATA” In climbing is still in its Infancy. Although there are iconic figures who can embody it, there are few opportunities to glimpse into what the essence is. A form, formed by strong foundations.
ShoJin Holds Is used to learn and knead the “KATA” and create tasks that can help people to learn form, and seek out the essence of climbing. Triggered by the shapes and grips, the form may yet be discovered. It is not just a matter of digesting the problems and moving on, it is a way to hone your abilities, strength, mental fluidity and technical skill of those who climb.
ShoJin Holds exists because of this essential need for “KATA”, and when combined with various ideas and theories, can help our climbing environment flourish to new and greater heights, through systematic practice.
KATA literally means “form”, specifically referring to a detailed choreographed set of movement patterns made to be practiced alone, or in unison with others. It is practiced in Japanese martial arts as a way to memorise and perfect movements. It is also used in traditional Japanese cultures, such as theatre forms like Kabuki, and schools of tea ceremonies (chado), calligraphy (shodo) and Buddhism. - Wikipedia
Dō (道) should also be explained. It signifies “a way”, such as budō（武道）, chadō（茶道）, shodō（書道）. Japanese culture is focused on the process, “the way”, and this goes on indefinitely. It defines the quality of our processes. The easiest way to reach into it is to follow each culture’s KATA.
Today, it is very rare to find an environment where we can learn a definite KATA. Even if you find that environment, it's not easy to reach a level where you can apply it to practice, because it takes years of thorough and repetitive practice of the basics to acquire KATA. Practicing is an individual effort, but the environment is a big issue for those who want to improve, larne KATA.
What is the environment in which KATA is obtained? It's a climbing gym, it's a instructor, it's a challenge. In order to learn KATA, you need to have a task that allows you to learn it. That task requires consistency in the principles from which the KATA originates. The principle is the theory of climbing movements based on biomechanics, the posture of the body, the order in which power should be applied, the neural connections, the maximum power output derived from these, and the theory of failure avoidance associated with them.
It is only through the repetition of tasks ordered by grade, based on a consistent principle, that trainees learn the form, acquire movement and technique, and develop into climbers who are able to practice good, healthy climbing.
First of all, the setter himself must learn the KATA, know it, and be able to embody it. However, the reality is that we don't know where to start. In order to solve such a confronting problem, SHOJIN HOLDS was born as a teaching tool to express and practice the KATA by using the hold in a standard way, to increase knowledge and to learn easy to apply techniques.
Every hold of SHOJIN HOLDS has a specification sheet which includes basic direction (basic installation angle) and basic holding (basic holding method) with illustrations and text on features and tips on how to use them. By reading the theory of setting along with the specifications and practicing the set repeatedly within the limits, you will be able to learn the principle points step by step.
However, it is not possible to learn KATA with just a hold and a specification sheet. By applying the tips learned in the hold-restricted setting to your own climbing training and building on the basic practice, you will surely discover new discoveries and principles. This will improve the quality of the route setting and allow it to evolve into a more advanced KATA.
Setting skills and KATA of climbing are always inextricably linked. In addition, there are so many different types of climbing environments that influence each other: the quality of the task and the progress of the climber, the skill and knowledge of the instructor and the training environment of the climbing gym. The way to master that principle technique is to practice using correct hold correctly. That's where it all begins.
One is to copy a pre-existing problem.
Observe the holds intently and climb them again and again until the movement with details becomes familiar to your body. Learn the feeling of the placement of the holds by feeling that each hold is attached in the direction it's supposed to be, which can cause foot holds to come out or go out, change the direction of your arm pull, and thus change your body position.
This is a blog where problems made in Shojin Hold are updated. In the problem notes, details of the problem and the key of movements are explained with videos. You will also find columns related to the setting.
The other method is to set the hold while limiting the direction of the hold under certain rules.
At first, the task may seem monotonous. That's okay. As you adjust your distance and body position, ask yourself the difference between a position that is comfortable for you and the ideal position for basic form.
There are two different approaches to the basics of using the hold. The orientation of the hold and how to hold it. Each hold has a guideline with illustrations on basic mounting angles and basic right and left hand holding hand position.
The route setting will be a direct expression of your climbing skills. Using the basic use of the hold as a benchmark, you will be able to find your own weaknesses and skills and evolve your basic posture. An understanding of how to use the hold correctly is essential in order to incorporate that posture into the task.
Moving back and forth between set skills and climbing skills is the most important basic training for a route setter, and each skill change will create a synergy that will allow the challenge to evolve.
It's a long and hard road to gain a high basic competency in route setting.
But there is a world out there that no one but the route setters can know.
You will be impressed by the little bulge in the hold. You will be impressed to realize that the footwork is produced by the exquisite angle of the hold. It's a wonderful experience that only those who realize the importance of the fundamentals and look deep into them can understand.
Welcome to the world of route setting.
Start "Shojin" now.
The starting point for new beginnings. It is easy to distinguish the correct orientation as it discourages wrongly mounting the holds, giving you immediate feedback with an unpleasant holding sensation when you mount it differently.View All Theory
It is not just the climbers that are prompted by the holds. Route setters are likewise inspired by the subtle bulges and flowing changes that inspire new ideas and provide options for footwork. The basis of this hold is to allow a greater move selection, and through applying key skills to get the most out of the details shaped into it.View All Norm
It takes years of experience and a certain spark of inspiration to create holds that stick to the basics, are easy to use and yet allow you to explore a broad range of moves. There are a plethora of great holds in the world, and Shojinholds offers a taste of what is possible and can be used in conjunction with others to expand the possibilities further.
There are countless brands and star-studded shapes amongst them, though some can be difficult to learn basics and eek out the best possibilities. So here are some of our recommendations of the imaginative shapes and amazing holds that we have used and are hard to go wrong with.
By using these and Shojinholds, the possibilities become infinite and can help you and your team grow to new heights.
Remember, we love all holds and companies, but it’s impossible to list them all, so here are a few of our favourites!
The basic series from Metolius are simple, straightforward and a good fit for any problem. We highly recommend the Basic Edges and Basic Pinches, as they have many shapes that are not within our range and can be used to further increase the variety of basic problems that you set. The method of using this is immediately apparent if you understand our grip guide.
Freestone holds add a bit of a quirky flavour, with their exquisite bulges and troughs that allow you to reimagine moves. In that respect, they can be sometimes challenging to use, and can also be used as a test to your route-setting capabilities. It’s best suited for setters who have a strong foundation, or may be used in conjunction with Shojinholds for setter’s training.
HRT produces a very wide range of shapes, and some of the sets contain very easy to use holds for basic problems. There are of course some great holds in addition to the ones listed above, but unfortunately are no longer listed on the web catalogue. HRT’s smaller hold sets have a wide variety of shapes, and can be interesting to find unexpected moves from the holds that initially may have been daunting to use. Enjoy the exploration!
Everyone’s favourite holds! Teknik is perfect for adding a piquant flavour to your setting. It is important to note that some of the holds are quite high profile, and may end up as too large a foothold. The dragonflys series however, are not difficult to use, yet create unique moves which are perfect for accenting basic problems up to 25 degrees off vertical.
The Axis range contains very good shapes from the 2010 – 2014 line up. While we haven’t used any of the more recent shapes, we’ve been eyeing the 19.4 – 19.13 range, as it looks like simple, user friendly holds which have a subtle thumb scoop that is a signature of the brand. These are perfect for basic problems on steeper walls and higher grades. Many of these shapes are basic and easy to use.
There are many other holds that I can recommend and of course every hold can be made into a good problem, depending on the skill of the user.
The most efficient way to develop would be to determine what your skill level is and choose the right holds for that stage of practice. Especially when you’re first starting out, selecting holds and enjoying “Good-Looking” pinches and slopers without understanding can slow your growth.
If you have:
Never studied the basics
Understood the basics
It could be a good time to start by:
Setting a foundation challenge
Broadening the range through your foundation
That way, you can always apply the basic knowledge to your setting.
The effectiveness and time savings are optimized when the head setter or owner objectively judges the team and controls the hold usage on a set by set basis.
With the purchase of Shojinholds, you can always email us for support, whether it is hold recommendations or determining the skill level of your team, etc.
Please contact us at the email below to receive an order sheet.
I don't know which holds to buy. I want to know what my basic skills are. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
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We have support with remote video apps and email.
It takes a long time for a person to understand and master the basics.
Also, when learning the basics, it is important to digest them yourself one by one.
By practicing for one to three months while thinking about the basics on your own, and getting answers or hints about the questions that arise during that time in a setting course, you can dramatically increase your understanding and mastery of the basics.
Using the remote video app, we will support you in the use and selection of holds and their application by actually watching the problem and holding the holds in your hands. You can objectively judge your current basic ability in the setting and suggest specific exercises to improve.
Basic support：30min 3,000 JPY
We are happy to answer questions about the relationship between holding and route setting, the concept of setting, via email.
Although it is slower to respond than the video chat, email is better suited to support the ideas and theoretical aspects. We also use email in conjunction with the remote support follow-up to keep track of it.