The Karate School is a Special Space

Most people have never been in a karate school prior to beginning training and they do not know what to expect or how to behave. When parents enroll a child in our program Martial Arts is often a new experience for their family. Think of the Dojo as a “special space” where a sacred art is taught, which requires all people who enter its doors to have the “right attitude”. It is very important to maintain the correct energy in a karate school so that everyone stays safe and sound. Many years ago karate was taught only in secret and only to students who had passed an interview with the Chief Instructor. We are all very fortunate that martial arts is now available for everyone to learn.

For those who are not students here we ask that you observe certain conventions when coming into the school. Please speak quietly as classes are in session and the office staff is working diligently to keep the school running smoothly. Please go to the Front Desk if you have a question, comment or problem and politely engage that staff member who will then try to help you. Under no circumstances is a parent to interrupt a class, or an instructor between classes in the karate school. Please let your student enter the school by themselves. Please wait outside the school for your student to come out to you after class to encourage their independence. From this training they can learn to do everything for themselves, which helps them become independent and strong.

Martial Arts is very safe to practice. Actually it is #26 on the list of dangerous sports, right after Golf. Part of what keeps Martial Arts safe is the discipline with which instructors (Sensei) approach their teaching. Bowing may seem strange to new students, but it is a Martial Arts tradition that contributes to safety. We do not bow anywhere else we go, so when we bow in karate class it wakes us up to where we are and what we are doing. In the martial arts it is also a sign of courtesy, which is important in maintaining the correct attitude of respect for the Sensei and our training partners.

How we present ourselves for class is also important. Clean feet and clipped toenails are a must for karate class as is a clean uniform and properly tied belt. The correct length for karate pants is just above the ankle. Slip on shoes are helpful for younger students to wear on the way to class so that they can take them off themselves, place them neatly in the shoe rack and put them on to go home after class. Boys and men generally wear nothing under the gi (uniform) top. Girls and women may wear a white tee shirt which is tucked in, or a sports bra under the gi top. Remember to leave your jewelry at home for karate training. By maintaining proper decorum and observing the conventions of the Dojo we perpetuate a tradition that develops excellence of attitude and behavior.

© 2005 Sensei Robert H. Mason

Ten Teachings in Karate

Written By Sensei Austin Smith

Ankoh Itosu was one of the greatest karate teachers who ever lived. He taught karate in Okinawa over a hundred years ago. He taught ten concepts about learning karate and how karate could change your life.

The aim of karate is not only to train the body. If you train at karate, you will eventually gain the insight and inner strength to understand what truly has value in life. Never fight over insignificant matters; do not fight thugs or bullies. Avoid such people as often as possible.

Training in karate will make your muscles powerful and your body strong. As a result,you’ll develop a courageous spirit.

You cannot master karate easily or in a short time. The process is like a heard of cows grazing across a field. No matter how slow the heard moves, it will eventually reach the end even if it moves slowly. It could cover a hundred miles. If you train one or two hours every day, your body will change after three or four years you will start to get to the core of karate.

The weapons in karate are your empty hands and your feet. You will develop these weapons through training. Keep your shoulders down, focus on your breathing and develop your power. Learn to maintain a good stance. It takes thousands of correct repetitions to perfect each basic move, so practice regularly every week.

In the upright stance of karate, you must keep your back straight and your shoulders down, while keeping your legs strong, and then focus your attention on yourcenter.

There are many movements in karate. When you train, you must try to understand the aim of the movement and its application. You have to take into account all possible meanings and application of the move.

When you train in karate, you should train with the intensity of a real fight. When you block or thrust, you should picture an attacker. In so doing, you will gradually master real self defense skills.

Your training must be according to your bodily strength. If you train, too hard for too long, your face and eyes will flush and you could hurt yourself.

People who train in karate usually enjoy a long life. This is because the training strengthens muscles, improves the digestive organs, and strengthens the blood circulation system.