For your convenience, our most common questions are answered here.

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Q: Do I have to be in shape to train?

A:  No.  A student will “get in shape” by practicing with us.  Being in shape is different for everyone.  You will attain different levels of fitness based on the time and effort you put in during and outside of class.  Your sense of being in shape will change as you improve in your techniques and advance in rank.  The primary goal of this school is to achieve and maintain a state of being healthy, not losing weight.  By working to be healthy, you will attain a very desirable level of fitness.

Q: Is Karate hard to do?

A:  Again, no.  The most difficult part of Martial Arts training is beginning.  As the chief instructor of our organization Karate of Japan Federation, Dwight Holley, says “Karate is simple.  We make it hard”.  We break down the movements to its most simple element, allowing the movements to be easily learned.  Then, we repeat the movements until they become a part of your subconscious.  We want you to be able to recall the movement, should you ever need it, without having to think about.

Q: How much does it cost to get started?

A:  All new students are allowed to try 3 classes at NO COST.   In fact, we encourage you to take your time, without any obligation.  During this trial period, we can determine how best to serve you.  

Q: What is the difference between Karate and Karate-Do?

A:  As “Do”  means “path”, a way to shape one’s life, we look at the training here as one of the ways to shape your life for the better.  We work to understand the techniques of karate, not just “learn moves” for fighting.  Along with truly learning the techniques is obtaining a sense of balance between mind, body and Spirit.  There are a lot of people teaching karate.  There are very few who will help guide you along the path of karate, or Karate-Do.

Q: Why do we bow to each other before and after training?

A:  We bow to show respect for each other.  The bow in Japanese culture is as common as and similar to a handshake. When we bow before and after training we are showing appreciation to the instructor or our partner for teaching or helping us.

Q: Why do we stress courtesy?

A:  The Martial Arts were created well over 1,000 years ago for the purpose of self-defense.  In Japan and other Eastern cultures, the Martial Arts became one of the many aspects of the educational system required for “civilizing” the community.  Students are required to show good manners, mutual respect and self-discipline to maintain civilized behavior for the betterment of all.

Q: Why do we stress basics?

A: The Art we practice is similar to any other sport or art, in that consistent practice of the basic elements allows one to improve and eventually master the activity.  For example, one cannot play the piano, performing complicated pieces of music without first learning how to place your hands on the keys.  Dedication, discipline and practice is required.  Another example: If a building does not have a firm foundation, no one can live in that house, for fear of it falling.  You must have a firm foundation on which to build your house of Martial Arts.  The Basics is the formation of that foundation.

Q: Why train with kata?

A: Kata (forms) were created by Chinese and Okinawan masters hundreds of years ago.  They are moves based on imaginary defense against multiple attackers.  Those original kata have combined many techniques such as blocking, punching, kicking and shifting one’s body weight with good balance and timing.  Kata training develops skill for a great number of movements and helps one to remember those movements. It is also good for physical fitness, using all portions of the body while practicing.  This is only the tip of the ice berg regarding kata and full Martial Arts training.

Q: What is the difference between traditional and other Martial Arts training?

A: The “traditional” way is based on training the way the masters of old trained. The emphasis is always to try to stress the perfection of the basic movements.  In some “open” style training, the idea is to teach or show “moves” that impress the students.  The students may be excited and attracted to the use of the fancy and aggressive movements without any basics training in or understanding of each individual move.  Usually open styles do not train as traditional styles in the basic movements and kata; instead they may only emphasize sparring or fighting. Without a firm understanding of the basics, the student will not know what makes techniques work.  Their self-defense will be very weak.  Self-defense and improvement of the self is the point of training in the first place.

Q: When can I buy a uniform? Do I have to buy a uniform to train in?

A: You may buy your uniform anytime after registering for class. A uniform is required for training in class.  A Karate Gi or uniform was designed for the type of movements to be learned.  Other types of clothing tend to tear up and/or restrict movement.  The uniform should be purchased from this school to ensure sufficient quality and consistency.  We can usually provide a higher quality uniform at a much lower cost.

Q: Do I have to go to competitions?

A: No.  We do not stress going to competitions at this school.  Although we do very well when we do participate, competing is not what we want this school to be known for.  We are more interested in the development of the person rather having many “National Champions”.  We go to competitions for the “fun of it” and to meet other people. It is an option we take part in at this school.

Q: Why do students test?

A:  After some period of training, students want to be recognized for their progress.  It doesn’t matter if he/she passes or fails.  Testing gives students great encouragement and challenge to advance.  This is the same as any other art.  There are many different stages to advance through.  These stages in karate have been classified as novice, beginner, intermediate and advanced and are represented by different belt colors.  Testing is recognition of their technique and encouragement to strive and advance.  Those who are called black belts are basically advanced students.  But, some students want to be more advanced and some wish to have a classification – low ranking black belt or high ranking black belt.  For example, students may wish to be promoted to San Dan (3rd degree black belt).  Naturally, they have to have all the basic knowledge.  In addition they must develop the ability to be an assistant instructor and show the ability to lead.


Q: When does one obtain a Black Belt?

A: For us, obtaining the Black Belt is only the beginning of training, not the end.  The Black Belt represents one has sufficiently learned the basics, having obtained a firm foundation to grow from.  Three years is the normal amount of time required to obtain a Black Belt.  This is with consistent practice and receiving instruction.  The minimum age is 10 years old, and such a person will hold junior status until he or she has become an adult.  Not only does one have to demonstrate proficiency in physical skills, they must be mature enough to receive the responsibility of the rank.

Q: When can I test for my next belt/rank?

A: This is a question you should never ask.  The teachers and senior students will monitor your progress.  When you are ready, you will be invited to test.  Your hard work will always be recognized.  Some people will advance faster or slower than others.  Do not compete with your classmates.  Just strive to improve yourself.  Be a little bit better everyday. (Kaizen – continuous improvement)

Q: Do we use weapons at this school?

A: Yes.  But, only after you have demonstrated the ability to control your body (and self).  The weapons used are those of traditional Okinawan practice: The bo, sai, tonfa, nanchaku and oar.  Some of us with more experience and understanding of self and weapons, practice with the katana (sword).  This is reserved for the few.

One must understand the practice of weaponry is an Art by itself and their are several schools that practice the Art of Kobudo exclusively as we practice the Art of empty hand, Karate.

Q: Why do we “face the East” before and after class?

A:  We face the East to come to attention and formally greet God.  This “call to order” tells everyone we are about to begin.  It allows a time to calm down and focus on connecting with the One responsible for all.  At the end of class we again focus ourselves to prepare to leave the Dojo in a positive Spirit by remembering to honor God.

Q: Are we required to act like Japanese?

A: No.  You will pick up some of the culture, such as understanding and speaking a few words in Japanese.  Our desire is to help you understand yourself first.  An aid to understanding self is to be exposed to others’ way of life. Traveling to Japan is exciting and fun, but not required.  Practicing some of the their customs is required:  bowing to each other, not wearing shoes on the training floor, control of self, etc…

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