FAQs

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.

I haven’t done karate before… do you have a class just for beginners?
Beginners 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.

I 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.

Is the first lesson free?
Lessons cost just £7 and there is no obligation to sign up for multiple classes.

Will I be partnered with a man/woman/child/adult/black belt?
Yes. 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 grade.

Do 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. If you have any concerns, please consult your doctor before starting.

When will I get my black belt?
3 years is the shortest possible time but for most people, attaining Shodan (1st dan black belt grade) 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.

How much is this all going to cost?
Lessons cost just £7 each. There is no need to pay for more than one lesson at a time and you don’t need any special clothing to start with. After three lessons, if you wish to continue, you will need to join JKA England, the karate association our club belongs to, which is £25 per year. Reasonable quality beginner karate suits can be purchased for £35/£45 through the club.

Are your classes for children or adults?
Our classes are suitable for both children and adults. The minimum starting age is 7.

What 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…

How 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.

I 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.

Learn authentic Shotokan karate as taught by the Japan Karate Association. Come and join our karate classes in Harrow-on-the-Hill, Swiss Cottage, West Hampstead and Stanmore.

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