If you’re thinking about starting karate
Then you’ll probably have lots of questions. We’ve tried to answer some of the more common ones here…
Is it safe? What about Covid?We implemented changes very quickly back in March 2020 to minimise the risk of transmission. Precautions include training at a 2m distance, no partner work, and the wearing of masks among others. Read more about we’re doing to mitigate the risk of transmission…
I haven’t done karate before… do you have a class just for beginners?We have a class especially geared towards children who are beginners but generally, older children through to adults are welcome to join us at any time. We will teach you alongside the main group while taking care to introduce you to the techniques and exercises gradually.
When will I get my black belt?While it is possible to attain Shodan in a 3-year period, 5 years is a much more realistic prospect. It requires hard work and dedication. With this in mind, one should focus on regular training and practise to enable progression through the intermediate levels.
Are 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 childrens’ classes. For our regular sessions, we accept children from 7 years old.
How often do I have to attend classes?This is up to you. As with any activity, the more you practise, the better you will get. Ideally, you’ll be aiming to attend at least twice per week and practise further at home. If your goal is to make progress through the grades at 3-month intervals, attending regularly 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.
I have done karate before, can I still come?Experienced students are 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 take things a little easier to start with.
Will 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.
How much is all this going to cost?You can pay per session or for the month. If you’re joining sessions regularly then paying by the month will save money. For our children’s classes, we encourage payment for the term, with those joining mid-term paying pro-rata. But you can pay for a one-off lesson. All transactions are by PayPal or direct bank transfer.
Whichever class you choose, you don’t need any special clothing to start with, eg. comfortable clothing that will allow free-movement. Karate suits can be purchased for around £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.
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 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 associations, schools, and even among Shotokan itself. Once you have been training with us for a little while we can discuss how best to move forward.
Is the first lesson free?We don’t offer free lessons but our rates are very competitive for the teaching that we offer. You can PAYG until you feel sure you’d like to continue.
Do I have to be fit to start?Not necessarily, although it will certainly help. Karate can be a strenuous and demanding 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 counter-productive; better to just take the first lesson possible. If you have any health concerns, consult your doctor before starting.
What 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 the benefit of the organisation. Regular international courses ensure that JKA Shotokan karate is consistent the world-over and remains true to its roots, firmly based on the ancient tradition of Bushido.
Shira 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.
When can I start?Now. We look forward to seeing you online, outside or in the dojo!