Frequently asked questions for new Karate students. These are the most common questions that beginners to Karate ask.
What should I wear?
Wear what ever you will feel comfortable in bearing in mind that you will be moving about and doing some stretching.
I did judo for a bit and we trained in bare feet, will it be the same in this class?
A lot of karate classes train in bare feet, however we train in training shoes as you will probably be in shoes if you ever get attacked. Tradition is great but realistically preparing you for modern reality is our main aim.
Who will be there?
Most of our classes usually don’t have many more than ten students, there will be the main instructor and often another instructor assisting. You may find that there are other new people there as well as yourself, parents are encouraged to stay and watch and often enjoy viewing the classes.
Is the class strict?
The class atmosphere is that of a relaxed disciplined environment. New people especially are given plenty of guidance and encouragement. Often you might be paired up with a more experienced class member, rather than another beginner, so that they can give you some extra help. We have all been beginners at some point and know what it’s like, we also know how what you learn on that first lesson really sticks in your mind.
How long will the class go on for?
Certainly to start with a one hour class is enough as there will be a lot of new information and skills to absorbed. Once you have got to grips with the basics you may be invited to stay on for an extra fifteen minutes.
What will I be taught in my first ten lessons?
At first you will be taught very simple things to make you less lightly to be attacked. You will learn techniques to counter common attacks and you will be trained how to hit hard.
There are a group of exercises at the start of each lesson to help you concentrate, improve your balance for kicking and to give you a better posture.
You will be taught a breathing exercise to help you be concentrated and calm.
Over the weeks you will hear little story’s and sayings that get across the attitude philosophy and history of the martial arts.
Will I be doing spinning and jumping kicks at head height?
You can’t run before you can walk is a very true saying, for quite a while you will concentrate on learning just one kick well aimed at an attackers lower body or knee. This kick, a low front kick is a practical powerful technique that even someone who was good at the flash stuff, would probably use in a real situation. High kicks spinning kicks and jumping kicks are all taught to students after they have got the basics, but get the basics first!
Do I need to be fit?
The group of exercises that you will be taught at the start of the class are not that demanding, they are done by people of eighty years of age in Tai Chi Plus.
It is important for you to gradually increase your level of fitness and the circuit
training that we do does improve your stamina and is a much enjoyed part of the class. By sticking with the class you will become fit and that will also make you mentally stronger, all of this will help you to come out on top in a nasty situation and its a better way to be anyway.
How old do I have to be?
You need to be six years old or over to join this class unless you have an older sibling in the class who can help you.
What are the kicking shields and focus mitts for?
To get the feel of a technique, such as a front kick, it is very useful to practice it in thin air, you can do this at home without having any martial arts equipment.
The next learning phase with a technique is to feel what it’s like to use it on something solid that has enough give in it that it doesn’t hurt you. Your balance will be effected when you hit a target and your body must learn to adjust on impact or you could fall over. Practicing a move in the air is good and practicing it in slow motion in the air is even better but in a fight you only hit the air when you miss! Hitting a kicking shield focus mitt or heavy bag lets you feel what it’s like to land a solid blow and let’s your body get used to adjusting to the impact.
Sometimes a kid will do things to me in the playground that are not as serious as a proper fight but are annoying, what can I do to make them stop without punching them and getting into trouble?
They used to call this horse play, it can be annoying and they are testing you out. In this class you will learn little tricks that will make someone back off but not do enough damage to get you in trouble.
When can I take my first belt?
There is a minimum time period of three months before the first belt and then between the other belts. After three months of regular training you will be pretty familiar with the requirements for the first belt. You can progress all the way to black belt if you are prepared to give the long term commitment required. Even if you only trained up to the first belt you will learn some useful skills and will have had a worth while experience.
What do I have to do to pass the test for the first belt?
For the test for the first belt you will have to be able to remember and demonstrate at least five of the warm up exercises. You will be asked to hit the kicking shield or focus mitt with five effective and strong strikes. Also you will need to demonstrate and explain the significance of the bow. A basic grasp of the centre line drill is another requirement as is also instinctively keeping your guard up. This may seem a lot for a first belt but just on its own it is a complete self defence course and will make you better equipped to deal with aggression even if you don’t want to move on to the higher belts.
What are the main three things that doing this class will give me?
- The confidence that comes from being able to deal more effectively with aggression from others.
- An increase in your fitness, better balance coordination and agility. Whatever you learn from karate will help you with any other physical activity that you go on to do in your life.
- You will learn to be more comfortable with yourself and have the ability to calm yourself down by using the breathing exercises as long as you practice them. With all these three things its a question of the more that you put in the more you will get back, anyone can get really good at karate if they put in the effort and keep it up.
I hope the above covers the questions that you are most likely to have about your first class? Karate is a lot of fun, it gives you a great sense of achievement and if you get good at it other people respect you for your skill in this ancient tradition. Always feel free to ask questions because that will help you learn.
Come and learn Karate in our Children’s Karate Class.