FREQUENT QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

HOW FIT DO I NEED TO BE TO START KARATE?

There is no pressure to be fit, as you work at your own pace or as hard or easy as you want. We start the class with a good warm up and stretch so you will be ready for the training that follows. Karate will provide you with the skills necessary such as improved flexibility, coordination, balance, muscle strength and muscle tone, not to mention fat loss. You will notice an improvement with each class.

We often hear concerns such as "I have no coordination, I am not flexible enough, I am not fit enough", but remember, you train to get fit. You don't need to get fit to train.

You wont develop a "Karate muscle". Karate training exercises almost every muscle of your body. Will you be sore after your first ever Karate training session? Quite likely! But this is completely normal for any exercise activity that you're not used to. It would equally apply to Salsa Dancing or to your first ever round of Golf!

DO YOU HAVE BEGINNERS ONLY CLASSES?

Students are often worried joining in with other students who have already been training for some time. At Miyagi Kan, we do have some classes designed specifically for beginners however, you are more than welcome to attend the seniors classes.

By placing beginners in with the more advanced students, they are able to copy correctly what the other students as well as the instructor is doing. And as we practice partner work, you will be paired with a more advanced student who can correctly show you what to do. In this way we are able to teach you Karate at a much faster rate.

DO I NEED A KARATE UNIFORM?

To start with for your first class wear something comfortable such as a T-shirt and shorts or track suit pants. We don't wear shoes so you also don't need expensive gym shoes.

Later on if you decide to continue we can provide you with a Karate Gi at a special student bulk rate that will last you for many years to come. The Gi is the traditional uniform of Karate, and its main purpose lies in its functionality.

A Gi has the advantage that it is very robust and comfortable at the same time. Typically a Gi sports quite short sleeves and pants, so that you don't get caught with your finger or trip over yourself. It allows you great freedom of motion, and for a beginner it also has a psychological effect, as it makes you feel more "real" when you wear the Gi, and you also feel as if you fit in better with all the other Gi-wearing students.

AM I TOO OLD TO START KARATE

With advanced age, everyone may find one or another technique harder or impossible to perform. Let this not deter you. Karate is a martial art, and as such it is a self-defense system, not a display of superhuman ability and athleticity. There is no shame in not being able to pull off a triple spinning flip kick. Chances are that in a real situation a simple front kick would have been the better option anyway.

All the benefits of Karate in terms of self defense skills and improved health still apply, regardless at which age you start. With increased maturity you will also be in a better situation to judge what exactly YOU want to gain from Karate training, and you will be able to focus on that in our classes - this way you'll gain maximum enjoyment and benefit from Karate training, regardless of your age.

WHAT ARE THE INJURY RISKS FOR KARATE?

The injury risk in Karate is lower than in most other sports. All contact is controlled and the most you would expect is the occasional lump or bruise. Our classes are meant to teach Karate - thus Gung-Ho bone breakers and street thugs are not welcome, and you wont find them in our classes.

Broken bones and noses as well as knee and joint injuries common with most popular sports are in fact very uncommon in Traditional Go-Ju Ryu Karate.

I HAVE BACK, SHOULDER, KNEE PROBLEMS … CAN I STILL DO KARATE?

As we grow older we all have some legacies of previous sports played or work related injuries. With Karate training you can simply work around them, if something in the training is not good for you, we can do something else.

The general rule is: It is your body and you know it best, so when training be aware of anything that may upset your injury.

In principle, Karate training strengthens the back muscles, and also the muscles and tendons around the shoulders and knees. However, if you contemplate to start Karate as a beginner, it is better not to ascerbate existing problems with a new sport that contains movements that you're not familiar with. Always consult your medical practioner before commencing training in any martial art. If you have minor physical problems that may or may not interfere with your training ability, let your instructor know before training so that your safety and physical health is ensured.

DO YOU HAVE A BELT SYSTEM AND WHAT DO THE COLOURS MEAN?

The grading system in Karate has been introduced for a variety of reasons. In modern day, it is a sign of having achieved a particular skill level, that gives the student an indication on how they are progressing. As a visible sign, the colour of one's belt lets other students in the class know what skill level to expect from their fellow students. This makes partner training easier, and the newer students know where to look for the more experienced students.

The grading procedure typically involves a training session where experienced Karateka (typically black belts from 1st Dan onwards) examine the performance of the students, including basic techniques, Kata, and sparring. In general, the further you advance in the study of Karate, the more precision and also fighting spirit is expected in the performance of all techniques. Familiarity with Dojo etiquette and also a good grasp of the Japanese terminology is also increasingly expected.