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. We continue to wear masks and ask those displaying symptoms of covid to not come to the dojo but instead join us online instead. 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 children’s classes which are specially geared towards beginners but generally, older children through to adults are welcome to join our general classes where they will be taught alongside the main group and introduced to techniques and exercises gradually, without pressure.
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 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 alongside regular practise at home. If your goal is to make progress through the grades at 3-month intervals, this will help achieve this. Those attending classes once per week or to an irregular pattern will be more likely to grade at 6-monthly intervals or more. We have many options for training so it should be possible for everybody to remain consistent.
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 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 partnering a range of different body types and levels as well as those similar to yourself.
How much is all this going to cost?Our children’s classes are paid for the term while our mixed/adult sessions are monthly. There are savings to be made by those attending classes twice per week.
Whichever class you choose, you don’t need any special clothing to start with, just 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 apply for membership with The Japan Karate Association in England, the karate association our club belongs to, which costs £25 per annum.
I graded before, can I wear my belt?Karate is one of the most popular martial arts, and with Shotokan being the most widely practised style 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.
Do you offer trial lessons?We organise classes in blocks for the month or alongside the school term. Taking a block of lessons gives a much broader view of karate with Shiranamikai. Parents/carers are present throughout our children’s classes so are able to see everything that goes on in the session.
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. We support you to build up your fitness levels gradually. Aiming to get fit before starting is counter-productive; it’s much better to attend the next possible lesson. If you have any health concerns, consult your doctor before starting.
What is The Japan Karate Association? What makes it special?The JKA has around 25 full-time instructors at the head office and dojo (Sohonbu) in Tokyo, Japan, as well as officially designated representatives throughout the world to ensure the standard is consistently high. All are dedicated to karate and its development for the benefit of the all. Regular international courses and competitions provide opportunities for mutual learning and understanding. JKA Shotokan roots are 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?Drop us a message and we’ll look at starting at the next available opportunity.