Shiranamikai lessons are positive, engaging and constructive

If you are thinking about starting karate, you’ll probably have lots of questions. We will try to answer some of the most common ones here.

QI haven’t done karate before… do you have a class just for beginners?
We have a class on Thursdays especially geared towards children who are beginners but generally, older children through to adults are welcome to join us at any time. Your instructor will teach you alongside the main group while taking care to introduce you to the techniques and exercises gradually.

QI have done karate before, can I still come?
Experienced students are also welcome. If you have had a long break from training, it may take a little time for you to build up your level so it’s a good idea to relax into things to start with.

QIs the first lesson free?
Our classes cost £10 and there is no initial obligation to sign up for multiple classes. Our kids / beginners class is organised by term but we welcome those wishing to join mid-term.

QWill I be partnered with a man/woman/child/adult/black belt?
It’s important to get used to training and partnering a range of different body types and levels. Equally, you’ll often be asked to face somebody of a similar body type and/or level.

QDo I have to be fit to start?
Not necessarily, although it will certainly help. Karate is at times a strenuous activity, but we understand that everybody is different, so will help you to build up your fitness levels gradually. Aiming to get fit before starting is most often counter-productive; better to just go to the first lesson you’re able to attend. If you have any health concerns, please consult your doctor before starting.

QWhen will I get my black belt?
3 years is the shortest possible time but for most people, attaining Shodan (1st black belt level) may take around 5 years. With this in mind, it is perhaps best to focus on regular training and practise to enable progression through the intermediate levels, with opportunities to grade every 3 months.

QHow much is all this going to cost?
lessons cost £10. For our children’s class on Thursday, we encourage payment for the term or half-term, with those joining mid-term paying pro-rata. Our regular classes can be paid at each attendance, before the start of the session, and for convenience, by bank transfer.
Whichever class you choose, you don’t need any special clothing to start with, however, karate suits can be purchased for £35/£45 from your instructor.
After three lessons, if you wish to continue, you will need to join The Japan Karate Association in England, the karate association our club belongs to, at a cost of £25 per annum.

QAre your classes for children or adults?
Our classes are suitable for both children and adults. The minimum starting age is 5 years old at our Thursday kids / beginners class. For our regular class, we accept children from 7 years old.

QWhat is so good about The Japan Karate Association?
The JKA has around 25 full-time instructors at the head office and dojo (Sohonbu) in Tokyo, Japan, as well as other officially designated representatives throughout the world. All are dedicated to karate and practise every day for their own development and for the benefit of the organisation. Regular international courses ensure that JKA Shotokan karate is consistent the world-over and that it remains true to its roots, firmly based on the ancient tradition of Bushido. Read more about the Japan Karate Association…

QHow often do I have to attend classes?
This is up to you but as with any activity, the more you practise, the better you will get. Ideally, you’ll be able to attend twice per week, and if your goal is to make progress through the grades at 3-month intervals, attending classes twice per week will help you achieve this. By training once per week it is likely that gradings will be at 6-monthly intervals or more. Training to an irregular pattern eg. once per week and missing lessons is discouraged. Try to be consistent and make up for any time lost through absence.

QI graded before, can I wear my belt?
We don’t want to take your belt away from you. Karate is one of the most popular martial arts, and with Shotokan being the most widely practised styles of karate, you’ll never be far from a dojo, wherever you are in the world. That said, it stands to reason that there will be differences between schools, even among Shotokan. But once you have been training with us for a little while we can discuss how best to move forward.

QShira what?
Shira-nami-kai. The name of our club. Shiranami (白波) is Japanese for ‘breaker’, a type of wave (literally, ‘white wave’). Kai (会) is Japanese for ‘group of people’ or more appropriately, a club.

QWhen can I start?
Now. We look forward to seeing you in the dojo!