Karate is a system of self defence and physical culture originally developed and refined in Okinawa and Japan. The word is formed from the Japanese words Kara (empty) and te (hand), symbolizing that its practitioners are unarmed, but use hands, arms, legs and feet as defence and striking weapons.
There are several fundamental styles of Karate that all conform to the above definition, but use slightly different training methods, placing a different emphasis on issues such as the speed, strength and range of techniques. Shotokan is a style of Karate that emphasises a balanced development of all these aspects. This is a system which instils confidence and self-control. Gichin Funakoshi, a teacher of physical education from Okinawa, originated the Shotokan style. He introduced it to Japan in 1922, where it was developed extensively by the Japanese master, Masatoshi Nakayama. Because of this development there have been very few changes, and the Shotokan style has spread to become the most widely practised style of Karate throughout the world.
Karate can be practiced by men, women and children, our students range from the very young to senior citizens. Anyone who is in reasonable health can train. Karate students who train regularly will improve their self-awareness, self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as their fitness.
Your training will be structured into three main sections – Kihon (basic moves), Kata (set combinations of techniques) and Kumite (sparring with a partner). Each section has a range of difficulty to suit the different grades (level of achievement). A typical class will last for 1½ to 2 hours, beginning with a warm-up session, followed by:
The hard physical training required to reach a high-level of skill in Karate will promote overall good health, fitness and well-being. The concentration, commitment and dedication required all help to build a strong, confident and determined character. There is a Dojo Kun (training code) which is followed to ensure a disciplined training environment, it also serves as a guide for general behaviour, so that a true student of Karate, will fight with words, using his fighting skills only as a last resort.
All students are entitled to take grading examinations after set periods of training. Senior examiners conduct these gradings, and there is a grading syllabus for all levels. Coloured belts are used to denote the grades of students. There are 9 kyu (below black belt) grades, starting with an orange belt for the lowest grade.
With regular and correct training, a student can achieve their 1st Dan (black belt) In 3 to 4 years.