Frequently Asked Questions
Q:What is Shotokan? Shotokan is a Japanese form, or style, of karate. This karate style originated in Okinawa and was developed by a schoolteacher named Gichin Funakoshi. Shotokan karate utilizes body actions, contraction-expansion, rotation, vibration, and shifting to achieve dynamic movement, punching, kicking, and striking. Ultimately, the application of these body actions to move, set a stance, kick, block, and strike, uniquely classifies the type of karate known as Shotokan.
Q: What color belts do you use and what do they mean? Shotokan uses 6 colored belts and the black belt – a total of 7 belts. Colored belts are classified by the term of "Kyu". The black belt levels are classified by the term "Dan". There are 10 kyu levels and 10 dan levels. Note: Some kyu levels use the same color belt.
Q: How long does it take to become a black belt? About four years of consistent training. A black belt is not a "final destination" - it is a benchmark that shows you have mastered the basics and are prepared for the advanced training that follows.
Q: I'm in my 20's, or 30's, or 40's, even 50 plus years old. Is it to late to start karate? It is never too late. We have students of all ages, shapes and sizes, with varying physical abilities. Training is individualized - just give your "personal best" and you will succeed.
Q: What do I wear when training? For the first month sweatpants and a t-shirt are fine. This will give you time to decide if Karate is for you before you invest in a Gi (uniform). We are a traditional shotokan club and wear white uniforms.
Q: I can't attend every class, can I still join? Of course. There are no attendance requirements. You will get more out of the training if you can train more frequently, but if a scheduling conflict prevents you from doing so, you are welcome to attend whatever classes you can.
Q: How often are examinations held? 4 - 5 times a year. Students must train consistently for at least three months between tests. You can progress at your own pace, testing only when you and the Sensei feel that you are ready.
Q: What if I am not in shape? This is a great place to start!! You will build flexibility, strength and endurance gradually. You will still get sore muscles....but that's a good sign! Shotokan karate provides excellent over-all body conditioning while also learning self-defense, self-confidence and other skills. If you have concerns, a visit with your doctor may be a good idea.
Q: If I move can I transfer my rank to another club? Yes, your rank card is honored by every ISKF club in the world.
Q: Doesn't Karate promote violence? This is a popular misconception, promoted by movies. Traditional Karate is in fact the complete opposite of this perception. Karate does not condone violence, it teaches us how to avoid it and never to resort to it. Master Funakoshi taught that "The ultimate aim of the art of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants."
Q: Do I have to learn Japanese to learn Karate? No, you'll end up learning to count, the basic technique names, the Kata names, and some related terms. Instruction is given in both English and Japanese. As you move up in rank you will notice more commands are in Japanese.
Q: Is Karate a religion? Karate is not a religion or a philosophy. Karate will actually complement your religious and philosophical beliefs in that the training is designed to make you a better person.