Starting karate can be a bit daunting, but rest assured everyone training has been
there and knows how it feels! We’ve set out below the answers to some of the questions
you may have about starting to train.
Do I need to book in advance?
Please call in advance to let us know you are coming. This helps us to plan the
lesson and gives you a chance to talk and discuss any queries you may have. Please
then arrive promptly for the class. Please complete the declaration and bring it
to the class with you (Participant Declaration).
What should I wear?
A T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms are fine. Once you have decided that karate is for
you, you can purchase a gi (karate suit). For safety, jewellery should not be worn
and long hair should be tied up.
How much does it cost?
Each one hour session for beginners costs £5.00. Other SKKIF courses may vary. In
addition, you will need to join SKKIF which provides member to member insurance.
Does it matter if I am not very fit?
It is not expected that everyone joining will be fit: for many people a major reason
for taking up karate is to improve their fitness. During the lesson you will not
be required to do any more than you are capable of doing. Naturally, if your general
health is a concern, you should discuss taking up karate with your doctor first. Whilst
you should advise the instructor of any health issues, it remains your responsibility
to train within your own limits.
Does my age matter?
No, Soke Kanazawa has just retired and he is over 80! Again, if your general health
is a concern, you should discuss taking up karate with your doctor first. At Dartmoor
Karate, we only teach adults and so the minimum age is 18. Lessons at the SKKIF
club in Launceston are geared towards adults and older children or children training
with their parents.
Will I get injured?
Karate is a physical sport where you learn self-defence. Whilst serious injuries
are possible, and you must accept such risks, the reality is that serious injuries
are extremely rare. Karate is taught in a controlled environment, but you will need
to be able to block punches and kicks and as a result for most people, injuries don’t
go beyond the odd bruised arm or leg. You will be required to complete a participant
declaration confirming that you understand the risks.
Will I be expected to break blocks of wood?
No - this is something for the films with little practical use!
What will I do in the lesson?
See below for a description of a typical karate lesson. The lesson will take account
of the fact that you are a complete beginner and will teach you the basics of two
or three of the simplest punches and blocks.
I'll feel self-conscious!
Almost certainly you will!! That is perfectly natural. However everyone one else
training will have felt exactly the same as you on their first lesson and so will
understand how you feel. Nobody will laugh at you or expect you to be top of the
class on your first lesson. Stick with it though and soon you won't even think about
Typical Lesson Format
Warming up and stretching exercises for at least 10 minutes in order to minimise
the risk of injury when training.
Kihon – the whole class will train together in basic kick, punch and block techniques
with the higher grades doing multiple combination techniques.
Kumite – this refers to the practical application of attack and defence techniques,
normally in pairs, within a safe, set environment. The form of kumite varies according
to the grade: initially the attack and defence movements and the time of attack will
be fully pre-planned, whilst at its highest level for black belt grades and above,
the attack and defence movements are free in type and time.
Kata – a set sequence of attacks and defences performed against an imaginary opponent.
The number and the complexity of the moves varies with the grade of the student.
Beginners start at 9th Kyu and make their way up through the Kyu grades (coloured
belts) to reach 1st Kyu. For each grade there is a syllabus of Kihon, Kata and Kumite
which increase in complexity as the student progresses through the grades. The minimum
period of time between Kyu gradings is 3 months, and the minimum period of time between
1st Kyu and 1st Dan black belt, is 6 months based on training twice a week. For most
students however, longer periods of time will be required between gradings in order
to ensure that they are able to perform the syllabus to the high standards required
by SKKIF. Whilst some clubs like to push all students through gradings every couple
of months simply as a money making exercise, we think that it is more important that
students grade when they are genuinely of the necessary standard to pass that grade
and wear the belt. Obtaining the coveted black belt is therefore likely to require
a minimum of three to four years dedicated training.
Gradings are conducted on a regular basis either by Kyoshi Carpenter or instructors