What is Karate ?
The literal meaning of the two Japanese characters which make up the word “Karate” is “Empty Hands”. This, of course, refers simply to the fact that karate originated as a system of self defense using various parts of the human body as effective weapons.
The role and benefits of karate in the modern age is multiple.
- Self defense: Karate as means of self defense has the oldest history going back hundreds of years. The regular training in karate based on scientific principles prepares the muscles, the joints, coordination between various moves and balance enable the practitioners of karate to be prepared , both physically and psychologically, to defend successfully against any would-be assailant.
- Physical Art: As physical art karate is almost without equal. Since it’s highly dynamic and makes balanced use of a large number of body muscles, it provides excellent all-round exercise, and develops coordination and agility. Many men and women of all ages therefore, to date, have taken up karate, in addition to its usefulness as self defense, to be in top physical shape.
- Mental: Karate is a mind body exercise. Research proves the benefits of regular karate training help improve neurocognition, attention, memory and learning.
- Discipline: Karate particularly in the JKA is considered as a highly disciplined routine that is to be followed by all practitioners in and out of the dojo that are monitored by the senior instructors of the organization. This in turn benefits the daily life of the practitioners.
- Sport: Karate was introduced as a sport by the JKA in October 1957 by hosting the 1st All Japan Karate Championships in Tokyo. Presently the JKA hosts regional (Example: Asia-Oceania Championships) and world championships periodically besides the JKA national organizations that hold their own national championships in their respective countries. This year the world witnessed the inclusion of “karate” as an Olympic Sport staged in the Tokyo Olympics 2021.
What is Shotokan Karate ?
“Shoto” (meaning pine weaves) was the pen name of master Funakoshi Gichin (10 Nov 1868 - 26 Apr 1957), the Okinawan teacher responsible for introducing the Okinawan martial arts “karate-jutsu” in the Japan mainland in the year 1922. Soon master Funakoshi’s art of karate-jitsu gained immense popularity across the Japan mainland and received the support and appreciation of master Jigaro Kano, father of Judo and the elites of the Japanese society. In 1939 master Funakoshi established a dojo to accommodate his huge followers when his senior students named the dojo - “Shoto-kan”, meaning “hall of Shoto”. This historic ‘Shotokan Dojo’ was completely destroyed in 1945 during world war II by the allied air-force strike. Later, after the war got over master Funakoshi’s students, mostly from various universities where master Funakoshi used to teach, re-grouped in November 1948 to establish the Nihon Karate Kyokai / Japan Karate Association with master Funakoshi as the Supreme Master of the organization. It is therefore, needless to say that the foundation of karate taught in the JKA is “Shotokan”; refined, developed and modified through years of study and research by the masters of the JKA.
Training Related Queries
When can a child start Karate ?
A child can start karate as early as 5 years of age.
Can both boys and girls learn Karate ?
Karate training is open to both boys and girls.
Can Adults join Karate classes ?
Yes of course ! Even Adults can join karate which will aid their general health, fitness, work as a stress buster and also teach self defense skills.
I am 80 and I want to learn Karate. Is it possible ?
Yes. Age is not a barrier at all to learn Karate. Worldwide there are karate practitioners of all ages. If you have any medical issue then please disclose that to your Sensei privately prior to getting admission.
I don't have any previous experience in Martial Arts. Can I join ?
No previous experience is needed to start Karate. Your Sensei will help you learn and progress in Karate. So there’s nothing to worry about.
What do I need to get started with my Karate training ?
Your willingness and enthusiasm is all that is needed to get started.
Enrol under a branch dojo of JKAWF INDIA and your Sensei will guide you at every step.
For the first few classes you can train in sports attire or a comfortable T shirt and track.
However, you would need to get a Do-Gi (Karate uniform) as soon as possible. A Do-Gi is also mandatory when you are looking to appear for your exams.
How many classes are conducted per week ?
Usually classes are held twice a week. But it would be best to check with your Sensei or Dojo in charge to get the details.
Can I take breaks and rejoin if needed due to exams ?
Yes you can. Exams, important work or emergencies do come up in everyone’s life and we understand that. However, whenever possible continue to practise at home when you are away from the dojo. JKA videos are a good reference which would help you.
Will my child become violent after learning Karate ?
Not at all. In fact your child would become a better human being after learning Karate.
Is Karate all about fighting ?
Absolutely not. Karate doesn’t teach violence. O’ Sensei Gichin Funakoshi in fact preached that “there is no first attack in Karate”. Karate is all about discipline, manners, culture, respect, self realisation, pushing yourself to cross the comfort zone, character building and many more. Karate is a method of self defense and sport too.
Will my child get hurt ?
Hurdles in our life make us stronger. Children fall from a bicycle when they learn to ride.
So, yes in a Karate or in any martial arts class they might get hurt. However, all training is under the supervision of a qualified Sensei where the program is designed to make a child stronger and bounce back as a better individual.
Can a special child learn Karate ?
Yes. Special children or children with limitations can learn and compete as well. In fact Karate is going to help them become stronger both mentally and physically.
Fees Structure Related Queries
What are the monthly fees ?
Please check with your Sensei or Dojo administrator for details.
Do I need to pay fees if I am on vacation ?
If you have enrolled in a program then you need to pay the fees. Consider the dojo to be just like your school where fees are paid for the academic session. However, under special circumstances where you face difficulty in paying fees, you may discuss it with your Sensei.
Is there a discount if I pay for the entire year together ?
Discuss this with your Sensei and surely s/he will accommodate your request.
Will you refund my fees if I leave after a few months ?
Fees paid towards a program that you have signed up for cannot be refunded.
It’s like the no refund policy on the food that you just ordered and tasted.
Fitness & Health Related Queries
I am not fit. Can I join Karate ?
You are not expected to be fit to join Karate. On the contrary Karate will make you fit.
Will you guide me in health and fitness ?
Your Sensei will advise you from time to time or suggest you attend other workshops conducted by other Sensei. Health and Fitness are integral parts of Karate training.
Will Karate improve my overall health ?
Yes. Karate involves activities and drills at different intensity levels. Regular, systematic and proper practise will definitely improve overall health.
I have physical limitations, still can I join ?
Yes, even with limitations you can practise Karate. JKA also has special categories where you can compete.
Exam Related Queries
How many exams are conducted in a year ?
Kyu exams (which are the colour belt exams) are held 3 or 4 times a year.
Black belt exams are held once a year.
How soon can I get a Black Belt ?
If you train diligently and appear for colour belt exams on time, then you can obtain a ‘Shodan’ Black Belt (1st Degree Black belt) in about 3 - 3.5 years.
Can I appear for exams if I am training in a different dojo which is not part of JKAWF India ?
You need to be a member and train in a JKAWF INDIA affiliated dojo for a stipulated period to be eligible for exams based on your skill.
I have a 3rd Dan in Judo. Can I transfer my rank ?
Judo and Karate are two completely different Martial Arts (It’s like Basketball and Volleyball). Therefore you would have to follow the JKA Karate syllabus, train in it and appear for your Karate rank.
I have a 3rd Dan in another style of Karate / Taekwondo. Can I transfer my rank ?
Other styles of Karate and Taekwondo has similarities and overlaps with JKA Shotokan Karate. Your previous training will help you make progress in the JKA syllabus. Therefore, train in the JKA syllabus as per the advice from your Sensei who would suggest you for an appropriate rank transfer.
I have a letter of recommendation from my Sensei who is a 10th Dan. Can I directly appear for the 5th Dan Black belt ?
Nope ! Only your preparation and skills as per the JKA syllabus will earn you a rank.
A letter of recommendation will earn you a big hug from us and a warm welcome to our dojo.
I dont want to train but appear for JKA Exam. Is that possible ?
Training at a JKAWF INDIA dojo is mandatory for eligibility to appear in exams.
JKA Related Queries
What is the advantage of getting a certificate from JKA ?
Certificates issued by JKA HQ, Tokyo or JKAWF INDIA are recognised worldwide.
It is a prestigious Diploma in the world of Martial Arts, which can be compared to a degree in Science or Engineering from the MIT or IITs.
How can I become a JKA Licensed Examiner ?
Even to become an Examiner you have to appear for an Exam ! No freeway there.
You need to attain minimum 3rd Dan in JKA, acquire Instructor and Judge qualifications prior to appearing to be a Licensed Examiner. You need to study and have special guidance for the qualifications.
What are the qualifications I can get from the JKA ?
The JKA awards Dan diplomas, License for Instructor, Judge and Examiner.
Is JKA certification recognized by the NKF and WKF ?
Yes. JKA certifications are recognised by both NKF and WKF.
Will JKA Dan help me get a job as a Karate Instructor ?
JKA will not help you get a job. However, qualifications from JKA will help you get an edge over other applicants who don't have a JKA qualification.
Online Training Related Queries
How do these online classes work?
Online classes are conducted for groups and hosted via Zoom or similar apps. The link for the meeting is shared prior to the class via Whatsapp.
How many students will be there in an online class ?
Focussed classes which are conducted as per belts are held in smaller batches of 15 - 20.
However, inter dojo practise sessions are also held sometimes which have a large number of students joining. Rest assured that your Sensei will pay attention to every student.
What kind of device is required for online classes ?
A mobile phone, tablet or laptop/ computer equipped with a webcam along with an internet connection of suitable speed is needed to join the online classes.
How can my postures or techniques be corrected in the online mode ?
Your Sensei will help you set up suitable reference points in your room and observe you over via video and help you correct your posture and techniques. Your Sensei will make every effort to show the techniques from various angles and would also complement the classes with additional diagrams and videos for reference.
What kind of space is required to attend the classes at home?
A clean space without any obstruction would be ideal for practise. An area of at least 2 square meters would be good to have. Make sure that the camera is placed in such a way that your entire height is visible during the classes. Also do ensure that you are visible at all times.
In case of any injury or air lock what needs to be done ?
Techniques are practised and taught with due care to avoid injuries. Try to practise in a clear space without any carpets or sharp objects or tables etc near you which can obstruct practise and cause injury. Parents are advised to supervise the training while joining from home.