If you are new to karate you will no doubt have a number of questions; in this section we aim to answer some of those by describing a typical lesson and explaining the behaviour expected in the dojo.
A Typical Lesson
A typical lesson begins with a period of stretching and warming up, designed to include all joints and muscle groups. Following this, the lower and higher grades will split up.
The main part of the lesson is generally split into three parts: kihon, kumite and kata.
Kihon (Basics) - This covers basic and fundamental techniques such as kicks, punches, blocks and steps. The more advanced the karateka, the more complicated the combination of techniques they will be required to perform. Training kihon helps not only to improve techniques but also to develop breathing, posture and core strength.
Kumite (Sparring) - Sparring is controlled at beginner and intermediate levels, and at more advanced levels freestyle sparring is used. This is excellent for general fitness and provides an opportunity to learn control by matching your movements, breathing, power and techniques with those of your opponent. Although the odd bruise can be expected, more serious injuries very rarely occur during kumite due to the controlled nature of the training.
Kata (Form) - Kata represents the 'Spirit' and true 'Do' (Way, Path) of Karate. They are designed as a pre-arranged series of offensive and defensive techniques, performed against multiple imaginary opponents. Each kata has its own character. Some are heavy and powerful whereas others are far more graceful and flowing in their nature. Some, however, contain a mixture of both and each kata has its own unique timing. Each kata begins with a Rei (bow) and has two focus points at which the karateka expresses his attitude by shouting (Kiai). For more details of the kata required for each grade - see our Grading Syllabus page.
As karate is a historic martial art it is accompanied by a certain amount of tradition which karateka are expected to adhere to:
In order to train, all members of the club must have a valid KUGB license. This is important as it covers insurance. It costs about £25 and needs to be renewed each year. A license should be applied for within two weeks of joining the club.
Karate is suitable for people of all ages. Parents of children are welcome to stay and watch the class, and we would encourage friends and family to come and support members at grading sessions.
The Benefits of Karate
Karate is a system of self-defence and physical culture, originally developed and refined in Okinawa and Japan. The word 'Karate' is formed from the Japanese words 'Kara' (empty) and 'Te' (hand), symbolising that its practitioners - Karateka - are unarmed, but use their hands and feet as striking weapons. There are many benefits to learning karate:
Benefits for Children
Karate can be particularly beneficial for children. The training methods are ideal for children's lifestyles and needs. The promotion of good health is second to none. The vigorous training methods used give an intense all round workout developing fitness, strength and suppleness. The structured training system of karate creates self-discipline in children, improving behaviour in many other aspects of their lives, as a result of which parents and teachers continually report on the improvement in the behaviour of children who train regularly at KUGB clubs. Its 'sparring' methods and practice dramatically improve reactions and greatly increase the ability of a child to block attacks and defend themselves. The positive value of Karate is now recognised by the education authorities and children can now use Karate as part of the GCSE and A level in Physical Education. Children are actively encouraged to take part in the numerous championships for children held by the KUGB throughout the country.