There are so many martial arts to choose from, why should I learn karate?
Karate trains the mind as well as the body, resulting in improved self-awareness, discipline, confidence and will power. It is an excellent way to enhance strength, coordination, stamina, balance and flexibility. Everything that you do in your life becomes a bit easier because of your karate practise. Not only will you be able to defend yourself, your confidence and ability to handle life’s problems will grow.
What do I have to do to join?
All you have to do is attend any of our classes. If you decide you like it, you can then fill out an application form, pay the term’s tuition fees and annual registration.
What should I wear? – Do I need to buy a uniform?
Beginners are not required to wear uniforms (called “dogi”) to join the class. Any kind of light clothing that you can stretch and move easily in is fine for your first few lessons. A dogi will definitely be necessary when you wish to undertake a grading.
Do I need previous martial arts experience?
No, most of our new members have no previous experience. However, students from other martial arts backgrounds are always welcome.
How often should I practice?
In general, the more you train the faster you’ll learn. You will get better results training twice a week. You should establish a regular and consistent training schedule in order to learn techniques efficiently and make sure you do your own training. Karate takes patience and perseverance – it takes years to become proficient.
How old should a child be before starting karate?
This depends on the child’s maturity and attention span, which can vary widely among individuals. For most children, age 5 should be considered as an average starting age although we have a few children 4yr olds who have handled the classes very well.
How long are the classes?
Training days are Mondays and Thursdays, there are two 1 hour classes on each of these nights.
Isn’t 1hr too long for children?
It can feel that way at the beginning for some, especially if they are in the 4-5 age group. However the training will benefit them as their attention span increases and they become increasingly co-ordinated.
Can older adults practice karate?
We have students of all ages in our club. Karate can be practiced at any age, Older people may not be as strong, fast or flexible as someone in their 20′s (but not in all cases), but they can still practice karate at their own pace and derive great physical and emotional benefit from it.
How coordinated and physically fit do I have to be to practice karate?
A lot of our students come to karate in order to become more co-ordinated and physically fit so “no” you don’t have to be physically fit to get started. By training, your coordination and fitness will greatly improve.
Will I get hurt practicing karate?
Karate training can be very rigorous. Bumps, bruises and sore muscles are not uncommon. Serious injuries are extremely uncommon because karate emphasizes control of your emotions and techniques, as well as respect for your training partner. No excessive hard contact is allowed during our free sparring or during competitions.
How long must I train before I can defend myself?
The ability to defend yourself from attack is dependent on many factors. Certainly, the longer you train, the more able you will be. The probability of success is relative to the strength and ability of the defender versus that of the attacker(s). It is important to realize; however, that there are no guarantees! This is why strategies to prevent conflict are important and this is what we teach. You only fight if you have to. Self-defence courses that typically run from 6 to 8 weeks can be a great introduction but nothing of great lasting value comes easily or quickly. The most important thing is to learn how to avoid putting or getting yourself into bad situations and then we work on exit strategies.
How effective is karate REALLY?
This depends on you. The more you train the better you get. The most adept karate experts, who train constantly and have devoted their lives to mastering the art, are certainly able to defeat multiple, variously armed attackers under most circumstances.
The key to this is highly developed timing, reflexes, and accuracy as well as developing sufficient power to disable an attacker with a single exchange. The average karate student with only a few years of experience may not be able to do the all the things you see on TV, but even so, what they have learned could save them in a self-defence situation.
When do we get to free spar?
Basic technique and kata and then basic sparring is emphasized during the first year of practice. Blocking and movement exercises are also taught which will help students towards free sparring.
Free sparring is not included in the first few grading’s, as you will be learning attacking and blocking techniques and need to be confident in these techniques before we start sparring.
Will I have to compete in tournaments?
Only if you want too. You will be encouraged to try a minor tournament or two when we consider you are ready for it. We participate in a number of regular competitions as a supplemental form of training and a means to test both physical and mental skills.
What do I call the teacher?
In our Dojo, we call the Instructor “Sensei”, it means Teacher.
Why do we bow?
Bowing is a sign of respect. We bow when we enter and leave the dojo, at the start of class and is Common among Eastern cultures, we have no real equivalent here in the West. Bowing is both a greeting and an acknowledgement of another person’s worth. Karate students embrace the philosophy that all people are worthy of respect. Learning to respect others is paramount to correct understanding of martial arts.
How long does it take to get a Black Belt?
That is entirely upto you. Like anything the more you put in, the better you get.
When you first start training in karate you will wear a white belt (obi), which in our system is 10th Kyu. The coloured belts in karate are the “kyu” ranks. These can be likened to being an apprentice.
Starting at 10th kyu and numbering downwards, so that the highest kyu grade is 1st kyu, these are the opposite of the “dan” grade, which number from 1st dan up to 10th dan. Just before the 1st dan is a “shodan ho” grade (probationary 1st dan)
When your instructor considers that you are ready, you will be asked to sit a grading for the next belt. For the three grades 3 months of continuous training between grades is the minimum time requirement. From 6th Kyu onwards the minimum requirement is six months continuous training between grades.
Good attitude and etiquette as well as technical prowess are necessary to sit a grading. Twelve months after a student attains 1st kyu, they may then start testing for “dan” (black belt) ranks. Students who train regularly typically require about 5 years to obtain (Shodan) black belt.
Each succeeding black belt level requires increasingly more time to attain. For example, it generally takes at least 2 years to go from Shodan (1st dan) to Nidan (2nd dan), at least 3 years between Nidan and Sandan (3rd dan), and at least 4 years between Sandan and Yondan (4th dan). There are also minimum age requirements for the dan grades.