Dartmoor Karate


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Karate for Beginners


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 it.


Typical Lesson Format




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 from Japan.