What is Karate?
Karate is an eastern martial art, initially developed in Okinawa from the 1400’s which was imported to mainland Japan in the early 20th century before being spread around the World from 1950’s. Karate is primarily a striking art concentrating on punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open hand techniques, although it also contains elements of grappling, throws and locks.
What are the benefits of Karate?
The benefits of studying a Martial Art and Shotokan Karate in particular are wide and varied, but some of the best are listed below:
- Discipline – From a kids class perspective, Karate is based on a hierarchical system led from the top by the instructor who is in charge of the class. Students are expected to stand still, concentrate, follow instructions and try their hardest, all of which are enforced by instructors, assistant instructors and senior students. Ultimately a students’ ability to concentrate, pay attention and resolve problems all improve as a result. However, it is the self discipline that Karate develops which is arguably the most important as it teaches practicing at home, a willingness to learn and a drive to improve. It is the self discipline aspect that really applies to our adult classes too.
- Respect – The disciplined nature of Karate in a good organisation breeds respect, not only for the instructor at the front of the class but also a respect for your peers and more importantly increased self respect, as Karate will improve confidence, help develop social skills and also teach how to react in the face of adversity. We constantly reinforce the need to show courtesy and consideration to everyone in the dojo but also in every day life.
- Self Defence – Karate is an effective self protection/defence art form and at Total Shotokan Karate Dojos we ensure that this is taught. However, in our kids classes we couple this with a strong anti-bulling message ensure that what is being taught isn’t being used for the wrong reasons. From our adult members, this approach is coupled with a view on the law around self defence and soft skills (communication, body language etc)
- Health – We guarantee that by training in our classes, you will get stronger, more flexible, have increased cardio vascular fitness and you will lose fat. It is also a get boost to your mental health as it provides stress relief, improved self confidence and provides a new exciting social group.
Karate’s forefathers developed a set of rules for Karate, known as the Dojo Kun, which stress the importance of the behavior that is both expected of, and developed by, those who train in Karate. See here for more information.
At Total Shotokan Karate, especially in our kids classes, we do focus on these principles. We seek to develop good human beings who aim to perfect their own character and there we encourage and expect them to show integrity, honesty, loyalty, effort, hardwork, respect, courtesy, consideration and control of their behaviour.
However, it is important to remember this quote from Yasuhiro Konishi (founder of Shindo Jinenryu Karate)
“Karate aims to build character, improve human behavior, and cultivate modesty; it does not, however, guarantee it.”
How much is it?
The first lesson is always free to see how you enjoy it.
We then offer Beginners Courses which contains:
- A month’s training (2 lessons a week for adults and 12-16’s. 1 lesson a week for under 12’s)
- A Karate Suit
- A years insurance/license
- An exam at the end of the course to progress to your first belt
These cost £90 for an adult, £60 for a student, £60 for a Junior (12-16 – Key Stage 3 & 4) and £50 for a Child (7 – 11 – Key Stage 2). Kids classes are available at the London dojo only.
We offer family discounts for multiple family members training together. Contact us for more details
What should I wear?
For your first few lessons, just wear loose fitting sports clothes. Clothes that allow you to move freely but also ones that aren’t your best and you don’t mind getting pulled or scuffed. After that we will get you in a Karate suit if you wish to continue.
Will the lessons be in Japanese?
Whilst we use Japanese terminology we will always explain it in English too.
Some quick words to help you get started:
Dojo = Training Hall
Sensei = Instructor
Oss = A karate word used universally to acknowledge something. Can be used as hello, yes, excuse me, I understand etc.
Rei = Bow
Gi – Karate Suit
Ichi = One
Ni = Two
San = Three
Will I get hurt?
We control your progress and whilst we will push you towards your limits we will never put you in a serious situation until you are confident and ready.
Will I have to fight?
Karate is a fighting art, so you will fight eventually, however you will not be expected to do so until you are confident and ready. Within the first few lessons, you will be placed with a partner to learn some fighting drills. However, these are structured, controlled and will be taught in a safe manner, ensuring that you learn what you need, are pushed physically & mentally and undertake steady progress.
How often should I train?
For adults and Juniors over 12 we strongly recommend you train twice a week to ensure that your progress is maintained. For Children under 12, once a week will be sufficient initially but twice is obviously better.
Who will teach me?
Our main instructors are:
- London Dojo – Adam Cockfield Sensei who is a 5th Dan with over 25 years of training and over 15 years teaching experience
- Hertfordshire Dojo – Dan White Sensei who is a 4th Dan with over 25 years of training and over 15 years teaching experience
They will take the majority of the lessons, although you may be given one of the other highly qualified assistant instructors to give you more personal attention.
I’m out of shape, will I struggle?
Karate is a demanding physical activity and it will improve your strength, flexibility and cardio-vascular fitness plus it will help with losing or maintaining weight loss. However, as with all of the training the progress is steady and although you will be put out of your comfort zone, you will not be expected to keep up with the more experienced students technically or physically straight away.
So what are you waiting for?!
Remember you don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great!