As a first timer in the martial arts world, it’s hard to know what to look for, so we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and objective guidance. We hope it helps you find the right martial arts training for you!
First, it’s important to consider your needs and assess each school’s ability to meet them. Many schools offer a free trial, or allow you to observe a class. Take advantage! You’ll get a chance to drive to the location, check out the facility, and see instructors and students in action. Pay attention to what you see. Is the class organized? Well-communicated? Does the instructor demonstrate knowledge and experience? Introduce yourself to the teacher and ask questions! You’ll be able to get a feel for the general demeanor and go home with a better idea of what you’re looking for.
Consider the Following Karate Questions:
1. Who are you looking for? Yourself? Your child?
Some schools are built around karate programs for young children; some focus on adults. Others have a blend.
2. What are you looking for? Self-defense skills? Traditional training? Fitness? Short/long term training?
Each school offers a different approach, from tradition to trendiness. Most are a combination; however, it’s important to see your needs being met by the curriculum. For example, self-defense is inherent in martial arts, but some instructors don’t show students how to apply their basics to defensive scenarios. In general, karate class should both work you out and teach practical application in addition to fundamentals. Look for a school where students are breaking a sweat AND learning useful skills to maximize the benefits of training.
3. Is convenience a factor? Cleanliness? Quality?
Consider each school’s location, class schedule, and instructor quality. To make regular training a habit, you’ll want to give yourself the best scenario possible.
4. Are classes taught by competent instructors?
Sometimes, schools boast of their “master” instructor, but you’ll find teenagers teaching the classes. Do your research to make sure you’re getting a qualified, professional teacher who communicates well and knows how to manage the classroom. Keep in mind very few organized martial systems register “masters” (especially under age 50!).
5. What’s the cost and commitment?
Many schools offer inexpensive rates, while others are inflated. For a professional karate education with full-time instructors, you will pay more than your average gym membership. Still, think about what you’re getting. Is it a mass-training atmosphere, or is attention given to students’ personal training needs? Are you nickel-and-dimed for gear and testing? Is there a contractual obligation? Take these thoughts into account when inquiring about cost. Beyond the trial course, karate training should be a commitment, not an activity to drop in and out of. Skills are cumulative and require dedicated training to be used effectively. Students should not expect results from a casual training atmosphere.
1. Can I get into shape taking karate?
2. I keep seeing the word dojo on your website. What does it mean?
3. Do I need to be in shape before I start martial arts?
4. Why is karate known to help with self-discipline, focus, and attitude?
5. How does karate pave the way for lifelong learning?
6. Will karate training be too hard on my body?
7. How do 4-6 year olds learn martial arts?
8. How does the belt rank system work?
9. Does this dojo have access to higher education?
10. How do I get started?
11. How soon do students spar?
12. I have rank in another system/organization. What is the process for transfer students?
13. Do you participate in competition?
14. Do you have an after-school pickup program?
1. Absolutely! A healthy diet and regular training are transformative. Karate training requires strength and flexibility, cardiovascular conditioning, and posture alignment. Students get to know their body and what it can do–then we work to expand range of motion and strength. We use a variety of movement disciplines in the classroom to support and balance the demands of technical training. Instructors are intentional about personalizing training to help each student overcome obstacles and achieve their fitness goals.
2. Dojo is a term specific to Japanese karate. It means “place where we study the way”.
3. Prior fitness is not necessary, but helpful. Your sensei will consult with you to get an idea of your physical fitness and tailor your training/tailor instruction to your needs. Please understand that if you’re coming straight off the couch, you will need to slowly build your pace. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
4. Karate develops certain attributes because it requires them. Traditional instruction facilitates this process. The best way to understand this is to observe, or experience a class.
5. Karate is scientific, but its essence is artistic; therefore, karate training is a process, as are the accompanying benefits. We work to develop martial artists who embrace this process. These students experience a lifelong journey learning a discipline, taking their “activity” beyond the beginner level and applying that experience to their daily life.
6. For injury prevention and joint health, good physical fitness, posture, and alignment could not be more important. These are the backbone of our training regimen. Especially with beginners, we emphasize physiologically correct movement habits to avoid unnecessary wear-and-tear from incorrect movement.
7. Younger children practice gross motor skills needed for good physical health and coordination. They work the building blocks of movement, basic karate techniques, and advance at their individual paces. When a 6-7 year old child exhibits the maturity and skill to move up, they can attend more serious beginner/intermediate kids’ classes.
8. Belt rank signifies experience and ability level. As each student demonstrates sufficient understanding of the curriculum, their belt color darkens. Promotion requirements are structured by technical knowledge and performance, spirit, and attitude, as well as respectful demeanor outside the dojo.
9. Absolutely. New Visions offers regular local and regional opportunities for advanced training, as well as supplemental classes within the dojo.
10. Getting started is simple. Contact us to set up an appointment for your first lesson. Wear comfortable clothes when you come in for your introduction to the dojo, instructors, and curriculum. Then, choose which class times are right for you and when you’d like to start your trial. When you register, you’ll receive your student uniform (gi).
11. Generally, students begin sparring after gold belt – 2 to 3 months into training. Beginners ease their way into the sparring scenario with shield and partner drills before live partner sparring. Current students make a point to work with beginners at their comfort level. All sparring is well-supervised and essential to growth in awareness, proper judgment, reaction timing, and control.
12. Transfer students are case-by-case. In these scenarios, we consider technical knowledge, practical experience, and skill. Students coming from other Wado schools may hold their rank, but should be prepared to fill in any gaps in curriculum and training time. Any transfer students interested in training at New Visions should contact the school to schedule a trial class.
13. Yes we do! Please see our competition page for details.
14. We do not offer an official after-school care karate program, as it would change our function from karate school to a childcare facility. We do offer a variety of class options Monday-Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. From time to time, parents have designated the dojo complex, Sugar Valley Marketplace, as a bus stop for Shayne Elementary and Oliver Middle. We are happy to accept students off the bus so long as they take the first class and have a ride home afterward.