- New joiner questions: New to karate? What is the minimum age? Am I too old? Do I need to be fit? Is it for men & boys or women & girls? What should I expect? Will I get injured? Is Senshi Karate family friendly? Is Senshi Karate safe for my children? Is the instructor is CRB / DBS cleared?
- What do I need? What should I wear? What equipment do I need? Is there a book I can buy?
- Benefits of karate Fitness & flexibility. Self-confidence & respect. Family time. Complements ballet, football, dance, musical theatre. Frienships. Fun. Discipline & focus. Improved posture and co-ordination. Memory. Teamwork. Mental resilience. Goal setting. Self-defence
- Venues: Are there changing facilities at the venues? Is there parking at the venues? Can I get to the venue by public transport?
- Other: Do I have to take part in competitions? Why do I need to obtain a licence? How often can I grade? How long before the average person gets to black belt? What style of karate does Senshi Karate teach? How can I be sure Senshi Karate classes are good quality? Can I do my DofE with Senshi Karate? What do the Japanese terms mean?
1. New joiner questions
New to karate?
Never done karate before? No problem. Beginners and new members are always welcome. There’s no need to book, you can just turn up. But you can contact us ahead of the class if you want to let us know you’re coming so we can discuss fitness and any injuries you may have.
What is the minimum age?
6 is the minimum age at Senshi Karate. Children younger than that often struggle with coordination and concentration.
Am I too old?
Haha, you’re hilarious! No, you’re never too old. Be realistic though. If you start karate when you’re older, you might never do full splits. You won’t be as fast as a 20-year-old. And you’ll probably never get to 9th degree black belt. But you can still get to first degree black belt. And, according to a recent report, karate might be just what you need if you’re aged 40-60. Click here to take the How Are You test to find out more. There are plenty of other benefits of starting karate too.
Do I need to be fit?
No. If have a medical condition you need to be careful. Otherwise, you can build up your training and get fit as you go.
Is it for men & boys or women & girls?
It’s for everyone. We have a mix of children and adults, boys and girls, men and women. Our Sensei’s daughters train regularly. You don’t have to be 6 foot tall and weighing 15 stone to benefit from karate. Karate is great even if you’re short and light. Here are some of our students:
What should I expect?
It should be enjoyable. Karate is not for everyone; equally, there are those who dedicate their lives to karate. If you don’t like it, that’s no problem. The first class is free so you’ve not lost anything.
Will I get injured?
Senshi Karate does not practise full contact karate. While injuries can sometimes occur, we teach control and discipline. Those simply looking for a fight have no place in our club!
Is Senshi Karate family friendly?
Is Senshi Karate safe for my children?
Of course. Senshi Karate does not teach full-contact karate although injuries sometimes happen. More info about child protection here.
Is the instructor is CRB / DBS cleared?
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Per class: Adults & children £6 each, pay as you go
- First class is FREE
- 10% discount (rounded to nearest pound) if you pay for a full term upfront.
- Unlike other activities, we don’t tie you into onerous monthly or annual contracts. Annual membership to Senshi Karate is FREE. Train when you like, take time off when you like.
- 25% off all uniform & equipment bought through the club
Uniform: If you want to continue training, you will need a karate “gi” or uniform. You can buy this yourself or choose any from Blitz or Ki and ask Sensei to order it for you to get a 25% club discount. Budget £15-20 for a cheaper uniform.
KUGB Licence: You need an annual licence from our association body, the KUGB to be able to take part in their events and to be able to grade. It is also your insurance cover. This is £24 for kids under 16 and £27 for adults. You can apply for your licence online. This fee goes to KUGB, not Senshi Karate.
Gradings: Every 3-6 months you should be ready to take the grading for your next belt. These are run by a senior instructor from the KUGB. Budget about £25-35 for the training class before hand and the grading itself.
Mitts & gum shield: If you enter competitions or as you get to senior grade, you will need approved mitts – about £10 – and a gum shield – about £5.
There is no charge for awesomeness…or attractiveness.
– Po, Kung Fu Panda
3. What do I need?
What should I wear?
Regular karate students wear a gi (karate uniform) in class. If you are a beginner and don’t have a gi, wear sports clothing or loose clothing suitable for stretching and flexing. If you continue training, you will need a white karate gi. You can buy this yourself or choose any from Blitz or Ki and ask Sensei to order it for you to get a 25% club discount. Budget £15-20 for a cheaper uniform.
What equipment do I need?
As you get to higher grades or if you want to take part in competitions, you will need sparring mitts and a gum shield.
Is there a book I can buy?
4. Benefits of karate
Karate is good for the body, the spirit and the mind. Here are 13 reasons why you and your child should take karate classes.
Fitness & flexibility
Exercise improves health and it is a great way of burning calories! Counting steps is dull, come to karate instead. Stretching and flexibility help keep the body supple and moving. Interval training is a great way of helping control body weight and you don’t have to take up running. Karate offers all of this. It’s great for kids. And according to a recent report, karate might be just what you need if you’re aged 40-60. Click here to take the How Are You test.
Self-confidence & respect
Exercising and becoming fit and training alongside others teaches students how to interact in a confident manner. It teaches you to speak to new people, to do a martial shout in a crowded room and perform in front of others. It teaches you to respect yourself and others.
Often children and parents pursue different activities meaning precious little time for the family as a whole. Karate allows parents to train with their children. No need to drop-off and then pick-up later or to stand outside in the cold rain. Senshi Karate is run by a family who train together. Don’t just drop off your kids and pick them up later – try it out too. You never know, you might love it as much as we do!
Complements ballet, football, dance, musical theatre….
“Karate is not for girls.” Do people really say that these days? Senshi Karate has at least 50% women and girls in the class who love karate.
“Karate doesn’t work with football / ballet / dance.” While the timing of the classes might conflict with ballet, football, dance etc, the muscles you use are the same in all activities. Strong core muscles are important too to keep good posture and reduce the likelihood of back problems, especially if you hunch over your phone or tablet. Karate gives you a strong core, good flexibility, fitness and balance. No need to choose one or other. All these activities work together nicely.
Some students start karate classes with their friends. Some start on their own and make friends when they get there. Karate classes allow you to meet new people and make new friends or engage with existing friends in new ways. Even if you don’t know anyone, doing karate together immediately gives you something in common and sharing experiences brings people closer.
Yes, karate has Japanese etiquette and Westerners find that a little odd. But karate also allows you to have fun. It’s not just about being serious, it’s about having fun and enjoying yourself. And let’s face it, sometimes mistakes can be hilarious!
Discipline & focus
Karate requires concentration and it provides a great opportunity for children (and adults) to learn discipline and focus. How many times can you say that about the iPad generation?
Improved posture and co-ordination
Karate helps muscle development and in particular helps build core muscles. This helps you literally stand tall(er) and the techniques help improve hand-eye coordination.
Students learn new moves and some basic Japanese terminology and work hard to memorise things. As a result some students say they find their memory improves.
Working with a partner or as part of a karate team helps instil teamwork. Supporting your partner or team is a vital life lesson.
Most people have good days and bad days. It’s the same in karate. One day you do everything brilliantly, another day it doesn’t seem to work. Coming back to class after that teaches you to keep going, even when it gets tough. It also allows you to “get in the zone” and forget your problems for a while!
Whether you want to be fit, increase flexibility, be more confident, meet new friends or get that coveted black belt, karate gives you something to work towards.
Karate is about self-defence, of course it is. Nobody likes violence and fighting is not the answer. In karate, there is a well-known saying “Karate ni sente nashi” meaning you don’t strike first. But that doesn’t mean you wait to be attacked. Karate teaches you techniques to help diffuse situations with aggressors. It also gives you the confidence to avoid conflict. And, of course, if necessary to defend against attackers. Karate includes awareness training, meaning you are less likely to get into trouble in the first place. Avoiding violent situations in the first place is by far the best defence.
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Are there changing facilities at the venues?
New Haddo, Greenwich has no changing facilities but you can change in the toilets.
Meridian Sports & Social Club, Charlton has rudimentary changing facilities & showers.
Is there parking at the venues?
New Haddo, Greenwich has no onsite parking. In fact, parking is very limited in the whole area. Nearest pay & display is on Norman Road or there is a car park in Burney Street. You may be able to park on some of the side streets, but check the timings so you don’t get a parking ticket! You’d be better off using public transport.
Meridian Sports & Social Club, Charlton has onsite parking and on-street parking nearby.
Can I get to the venue by public transport?
New Haddo, Greenwich:
- Train & DLR: 2 minute walk from Greenwich rail and DLR station
- Bus: Nearest bus is 177. Routes 129, 180, 188, 199, 286 and 386 also stop nearby. See TFL’s Greenwich bus map.
- Boat: Thames Clipper to Greenwich Pier
Meridian Sports & Social Club, Charlton
- Bus: 53, 54, 380, 422, 486 getting off at Cemetery Lane stop; 469, 386, 291, 244, 178, 161 getting off at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. See TFL’s Charlton bus map.
- Train: 20 minute walk from Charlton or Woolwich Dockyard rail stations.
Do I have to take part in competitions?
You can if you wish. The KUGB, to which Senshi Karate is affiliated, runs several high-quality competitions a year and it is a great way to meet fellow “karate-ka”. But you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
Why do I need to obtain a licence?
How often can I grade?
You may be eligible to grade every 3 months. It is up to your instructor to decide if you are ready. No one wants you to fail least of all your instructor.
How long before the average person gets to black belt?
As the saying goes: “An average person can’t get a black belt”. The average person does karate for a while but they quit before they get to black belt. Every person who gets to black belt is driven and focused. If this is you, and you train twice a week or more and are good enough, you might earn your black belt in about 3 years. Many people take 4-5 years or more.
Daniel-san… Karate here [taps his head]. Karate here [taps his heart]. Karate never here [points to his belt]. Understand?
– Mr Miyagi, The Karate Kid
What style of karate does Senshi Karate teach?
Senshi Karate teaches traditional shotokan.
How can I be sure Senshi Karate classes are good quality?
Senshi Karate is a not-for-profit club, meaning the motivation is the karate, not the money. It is affiliated to the KUGB, Britain’s largest shotokan karate organisation. The instructor continues to train regularly and attends the senior KUGB courses. All gradings are conducted by KUGB senior examiners, not by Senshi Karate.
Can I do my DofE with Senshi Karate?
Yes. If you’re aged 14-24, the Duke of Edinburgh Award’s website says “As long as you pick something that requires a sustained level of energy and physical activity, the possibilities are endless.” Karate fits nicely into that and Senshi Karate is listed in the Opportunity Finder section on the official website. What are you waiting for? Contact us or turn up to the next class!
What do the Japanese terms mean?
If you’re looking to practise outside class, the syllabus is here so you can look up videos of the moves you need to work on. Here are a few to start you off:
- Oi tsuki (stepping punch)
- Age uke (rising block)
- Soto uke (body block)
- Mae geri (front kick)
- Gedan barai (downward block)
The following excellent kata videos are by Sensei Paul James, 6th Dan with our KUGB friends at Ikkyo Karate in Aberystwyth.
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Contact Frank Jennings for more information email@example.com