Kumite training or partner exercise
Controlled kumite (attack and defence) with a partner

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 instructors 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.

QIs the first lesson free?
Our regular classes cost £9 and there is no obligation to sign up for multiple classes. Our kids / beginners class is by 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 most often be asked to face somebody of a similar body type and/or grade.

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) can take up to 5 years or longer. It is perhaps best to focus on progressing through the intermediate levels, with opportunities to grade every 3 months.

QHow much is this all going to cost?
For our children’s class on Thursday, we accept payment for the term or half-term. Our regular classes cost £9 each session with no need to pay for more than one lesson at a time. Whichever class you choose, you don’t need any special clothing to start with. After three lessons, if you wish to continue, you will need to join The Japan Karate Association in England which is the karate association our club belongs to at a cost of £25 per annum. Reasonable quality beginner karate suits can be purchased for £35/£45 from your instructor.

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 JKA Karate?
There are always around 25 full-time instructors at the JKA head office (Sohonbu) in Tokyo, Japan, as well as other official 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 train?
This is up to you but as with any activity, the more you practise, the better you will get. If your goal is to make progress through the grades at 3-month intervals, attending classes a minimum of twice per week will help you achieve this. By training once per week it is likely that gradings will be at 6-month intervals or more. Training to an irregular pattern or once per week and missing lessons is discouraged. Try to be consistent and make up for any absences.

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 is practised all over the world so it’s likely there will be differences between schools. 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.