Karate is suitable for people of all ages. 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 (training hall).
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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).
At the end of the lesson, the students return to the line, kneel and perform Mokuso (breathing exercises to relax the body and empty the mind). A kneeling Rei (bow) is given to the Sensei. On the Sensei’s instruction, the students then stand and Rei (bow) in turn to the Sensei from the end of the line (highest grade to lowest grade).
For more details of the requirements for each grade please visit our Grading Syllabus.
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:
• It provides a good cardiovascular workout and beneficial, all-round exercise.
• It promotes good health, improving general well-being and vitality.
• It greatly improves assertiveness and self-confidence.
• It is a dynamic, exciting and enjoyable sport.
• It improves reactions and muscle strength.
• It provides an effective form of self-defence.
• It is a great way of making new friends.
• It improves focus and concentration whilst relieving stress.
• It promotes self-discipline and respect to others.
• It promotes perfect posture by relying on core stability.
Karate can be particularly beneficial for children.
The training methods are ideal for children's lifestyles and needs. The emphasis of our program is on establishing self-discipline and courtesy. The structure of respect is built into our karate instruction. The programs provide confidence and character building by assisting the students to accomplish their goals. Sunderland Karate Central teaches students to have self-control over his or her body and develop the ability to stand up to peer pressure and other intimidating situations. 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 the S.K.C club. The movements of karate develop coordination, increase strength and flexibility, which is very important especially in growing children. The promotion of good health is second to none. The vigorous training methods give an intense all round workout developing fitness, strength and suppleness. The awarding of the the higher levels of Japanese karate belts gives the students the sense of achievement and accomplishment. We keep this very much in mind. The length of time for achieving belts can be from three to six months. We award stripes on the belts while a student progresses through a particular belt. Training for these tests, enhance the student’s ability to concentrate as well as plan for and triumph over hurdles. Students are exposed to sparring in a controlled atmosphere under instruction of our instructors at all times. The foundation of Sunderland Karate Central is it’s self-defence value. We are very careful to teach our students to use common sense before self-defence and never to be abusive or offensive. The result of our program is a self-confident individual who does not need to bully or show off to others.
The positive value of Karate is now recognised by the Education Authorities and children can now use Karate as part of GCSE and A Levels in Physical Education, as well as being an approved activity for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme.
Children are also actively encouraged to take part in the numerous events held by the Club.
As karate is a historic martial art it is accompanied by a certain amount of tradition which karateka are expected to adhere to:
• Always bow on entering and leaving the Dojo.
• In the Dojo always address instructors as "Sensei".
• Never leave a class early without asking permission from the Sensei.
• If the Sensei speaks to you respond by saying "Oss", as a sign of respect. This is also relevant in situations such as when bowing at the start or end of the class or during Kumite.
• It is important always to arrive on time for training sessions. If you are late, make sure you warm up outside the dojo so as not to distract the class, then take up a kneeling position at the front of the class where the Sensei can see you and wait for his permission to join the class. On receiving permission, bow and then join in at the back of the class.
• While it is advisable to attend your first few sessions in normal loose clothing, once committed to karate you will need to purchase a Gi (karate suit) for training in. This must be kept clean and in good condition.
• If during a training session your Gi or Obi (belt) becomes loose, bow to your Sensei then turn your back to adjust it and bow again when turning back to face him.
• Keep yourself in a suitable condition for training. This includes cutting nails and removing jewellery. If jewellery cannot be removed it should be covered with tape.
• Do not eat in the Dojo and only drink water if allowed by the Sensei.