What to know before choosing karate classes near you?

Most of us have heard about Karate, a martial art recognized by the whole world embracing national and international sports. Due to the present condition related to bullying, murder, rape, molestation, abuse, and frequent random fights anywhere and anytime, parents are enrolling their wards to Karate institutions for physical and mental stimulation, and self-defense. Before, looking for the best karate classes near you, you must acquire some mandatory knowledge about particular martial art.

What is karate?

Karate is a form of martial art that is first developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom. The terms ‘te’ signifies ‘hand or ‘tii’ in Okinawan. Karate evolved from the native Ryukyuan martial arts. It has the influence of Fujian White Crane Kung Fu. 

In Japanese, the word karate means ‘empty hand’; ‘kara’ means ‘empty’ and ‘te’ means ‘hand. Again, in Kanji, ‘Kara’ means Tang Dynasty or in simple terms ‘China’ and ‘te’ means ‘Hand’ which join to form Chinese hand or Tang hand, Chinese techniques or Chinese fist.

Karate consists of punching, kicking, elbow, and knee strikes. There are open hand techniques like ‘knife-hands’, palm-heel strike, spear-hands, etc. The modified version of karate adds throws, grappling, restraints, joint lock, and strikes at vital points.

A person who practices karate is known as ‘Karateka’. 

Can an individual practice Karate as self-defense?

Anyone can practice karate as self-defense. Many people religiously practice it as an art or ‘budo’, and also as a combat sport. Traditional karate puts stress on self-development. 

 The contemporary Japanese style of Karate is more concerned about psychological elements that can be incorporated into the right attitude or ‘Kokoro’. It includes fearlessness, leadership skills, perseverance, and virtue. Sports karate puts emphasis on competition and exercise. Some styles include weapons.

Karate training has three parts:

  • Kihon:- fundamentals or basics
  • Kumite:- Sparring
  • Kata:- Forms

How long is a karate class?

Usually, a karate class or session goes on for around 90 minutes. Though online karate classes can differ in time, yet most of the sessions are over an hour.  

General segregation of the activities with time:

  • Meditation:- 5 minutes
  • Warm-up:- 10 minutes
  • Stretching:- 15 minutes
  • Punching and blocking:- 15 minutes
  • Kicking:- 15 minutes
  • Sparring:- 15 minutes

Usually, senior-level practitioners extend the time and practice more which can go approximately up to 3 hours or beyond. Professional karatekas who participate in competitions and demonstrations have to practice at least around a couple of hours on a regular basis.

Is karate dangerous to learn for kids?

You must not let your kids practice karate or any other sport involving rigorous physical activities without the supervision of a trainer, coach, or sensei. Karate involves kicks, punches, elbow strikes, knee strikes, stretching, different stances, and movements, grappling, throws, etc. Hence, it can injure a kid who has no knowledge of how to control or block the moves. Novices and children who are in lower level kyus don’t know how to control their thrust or how to touch the opponent to punch or kick or strike lightly and take back the hands and legs. Again, kids who are getting hits don’t know how to block or dodge the hits. Hence, both sides can hurt each other.

That doesn’t mean that Karate cannot be learned. With the supervision of a skilled coach or teacher in a dojo or school and a guardian at home, children can easily learn martial art without getting hurt.

Is karate hard to learn? How long does it take to learn karate?

Karate is not hard to learn if you practice regularly according to the guidance of your trainer. The higher the belt level is, the tougher the stances and movements are. But, as an individual gradually passes each level with complete learning and giving exams, he or she is not supposed to face extreme difficulty in the higher stage. You must work on flexibility, strength, and other aspects needed to become a master in karate.  

It takes years to learn the entire course. Actually, Karate is not about a particular syllabus. The syllabus is for those who want to win medals in a competition. But, those who wish to be a Sensei or Shihan or pursue Karate as a disciplinary way of life, should keep on practicing this art for a lifetime. Usually, it starts from a white belt and ends in a black belt. Then, it is up to the individual whether he or she will continue after achieving black belt and earn the ‘dan’ degrees like first dan, second dan, third dan, etc. 

Are free online karate classes safe and effective?

If an individual is minutely following the instruction of a Sensei providing online training, then he or she may not get hurt. Another reason is the absence of a sparring partner who can hit hard. If done right, this martial art is extremely effective.

 In Dojo or normal offline practice areas also, it is safe because seniors and trainers remain present while karatekas are training. Sparring has been made limited and only light touch is allowed to avoid any kind of injury. The techniques are given more emphasis. 

The safety and effectiveness depend on the offline school or online training programs and the teacher who is teaching. 

How do you train at home in Karate?

Get a routine designed by a trainer to practice karate at home.  If you can’t afford to go to a karate school near you, you can check online training, or get yourself enrolled in one. Google ‘online karate classes near me’ and you will get all the happening classes. After all, it is online and it doesn’t matter where it happens. You are going to learn by watching your laptop or smartphone, however.

 Always start simple at home and practice each move that you learn in each class. 

Suggesting some home activities for you:

For cardio and strength:

  • Hit a heavy bag
  • Do shadow boxing
  • Use jumping rope
  • Squats
  • Crunches
  • Push-ups
  • Lunges
  • Burpees

Give at least an hour for practicing the techniques of kicks, punches, stances, feet movements, and hand movements at home. Do the combinations. Do the same thing repeatedly like 50 punches (straight punch, hooks, uppercut, etc.), 50 kicks (sidekicks, slap kicks, front kicks, etc.).

How many levels are there in karate? What are those levels?

The belt levels of Karate vary depending on the type like Goju-Ryu, Shito-Ryu, Wado-Ryu, and Shotokan. 

Presenting the karate levels from lowest to highest:

  • White Belt
  • Yellow Belt
  • Orange belt
  • Green Belt
  • Blue Belt
  • Purple Belt (in some styles)
  • Brown Belt: Third, Second degree, and First degree
  • Black Belt (First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth degree)

The most standardized ordering system is white- yellow-green-brown. Some Karate institutions make use of ‘white first degree’ for yellow, and ‘white second degree’ for orange. In some schools, the blue belt comes between green and brown belts, whereas, other schools provide purple belt after blue belt. 

Certain institutions award the orange belt after the white belt. After achieving the first ‘Kyu’ rank, the karatekas have to proceed towards the ‘Dan’ ranks. Tenth Dan is the highest level till now and it is very rare. It is given to the very few people who practiced karate for over 40 years and have earned a 9th Dan degree. Also, some masters got it posthumously. 

What are the types of karate?

While searching for ‘karate classes for kids near me’ online, you must gather some knowledge about the types of karate and decide to opt for one for your child.

Karate is basically a weaponless way of defending oneself, but some forms use weaponry. 

Shotokan:

Gichin Funakoshi founded Shotokan in Tokyo in 1938.

Features:

  • The karateka uses both the upper and lower body for producing direct and forceful punches and kicks.
  • Striking force is generated through various parts of the body like hands, fingers, arms, legs, elbows, feet, and knees.
  • This type doesn’t depend entirely upon circular movements.
  • The practitioners concentrate on breathing, speed, form, and balance.

Goju-Ryu:

This style is formed upon the modern principles of hard and soft. The techniques include hard and closed fist punches and soft strikes with open hands. 

Features:

  • Precise, circular, and flowing movements
  • The importance is given on breathing techniques for producing harmony between brain and body.
  • The karatekas divert or block the strikes of opponents with angular movements, and hard and sharp kicks and punches.

Uechi-Ryu:

Kanbun Uechi founded Uechi-Ryu in Okinawa during the early 1900s. This style is inspired by the ancient Chinese fighting system.

Features:

  • Circular blocking
  • Upright stances
  • Low kicks
  • Open-handed strikes

Wado-Ryu:

In Japanese, Wado means ‘harmonious path’ or ‘way of harmony’. In 1939, Hironori Otsuka founded it. Certain elements of Jiu-Jitsu are included in this form.  

Features:

  • Evading strikes
  • Punches and kicks during counterattacks
  • Spiritual discipline
  • Works on the peacefulness of mind

Shorin-Ryu:

Karatekas learn how to balance mind and body.

Features:

  • Katas include sharp kicks, strong and upright posture, and close-handed punches.
  • Avoiding strikes through definite body movements
  • Sparring with counterattacks focusing on reducing the ability of the opponent to stay upright.

Kyokushin:

In Japanese, Kyokushin means ‘ultimate truth’. This karate style is aggressive.

Features:

  • High kicks
  • Full-body contact sparring
  • Aggressive punching
  • Knee strikes
  • Karateka learns how to kick an opponent’s head and other body parts.

Shito-Ryu:

Kenwa Mabuni founded Shito-Ryu during the 1920s. Currently, Tsukasa Mabuni, granddaughter of Kenwa Mabuni, is the sole leader of Shito-Ryu.

Features:

  • Fluidity and speed
  • Sparring and katas
  • Many katas use short and close to ground stances. The style matches Sumo wrestling.
  • Close-handed punches
  • Kicks
  • Elbow strikes

Ashihara:

It is a full-combat style.

Features:

  • Karatekas move their bodies in circular patterns around each other. It creates a problem for the opponent to attack. Strikes can be dodged easily. 
  • Long-reaching punches
  • High kicks
  • Full body contact

Chito-Ryu:

Chinen Gua, a man from Eastern China, founded Chito-Ryu in the early 1900s. He earned a unique name as O-Sensei Chitose. His ambition was to build a karate school that can develop the health and character of karatekas. 

Features:

  • This style focuses on self-defense. Hence, it believes that there is no need for a first punch.
  • Katas with punches, full-body balancing, circular movements, and high kicks
  • Sparring techniques teach karatekas to make the opponents disable by disturbing their balance. 

Enshin:

The word ‘en’ signifies ‘unfinished’ or ‘open’. The term ‘shin’ signifies ‘inner’ or ‘heart’. Hence, the entire word ‘Enshin’ means ‘Open Heart’. 

Features:

  • Circular movements in Katas
  • Focuses on instilling humility, confidence, and resilience 
  • Open hand movements
  • Kicks
  • Closed-hand punches

Kishimoto-di:

This karate form is lesser known. 

Features:

  • This style represents a soft form.
  • Twisting and sinking physical or body movements through the waist
  • Karatekas learn to avoid blows by moving little
  • Karatekas make use of their body weight, core strength, and opponent’s momentum for making their moves effective.

What are the rules in karate?

  • Kumite matches happen on a matted floor square. The measurement is 8 meters x 8 meters. Additional 1m is provided on all four sides. This space is known as a safety area.
  • Competitors have to exchange bows after the judges and referee take their respective places.
  • The fighters have to apply kicks, punches, and throws for getting a score. The classification follows as Waza-ari, Yuko, and Ippon. The points are 1, 2, and 3 respectively. 
  • The referee commands ‘Shobu Hajime’ and following it, the fighters start their fight.
  • If a referee thinks or finds out that a particular scoring technique can be used, he or she commands ‘Yame’. The judges, fighters, and referees have to recommence their original positions. Judges will give their opinion via a signal. In case, a fighter gets a score, the referee identifies him or her and the specific area attacked, and finally awards the score that is Waza-ari, Yuko, or Ippon to the particular fighter. Then, the bout restarts after the command ‘Tsuzukete Hajime’.
  • If one fighter leads by eight-plus points during the ongoing match, the referee halts the boot and then declares that competitor a winner.
  • If no fighter can get clearly eight leading points during the entire match, then the fighter with more points becomes the winner.
  • If both the fighters score equal points, the judges and the referee decide the bout’s winner.
  • If a fighter is knocked down and can’t continue, then the fight ends.
  • If a single fighter is disqualified, the fight ends. 

FAQs

Is karate the right sport for you?

Anyone can learn Karate at any age. If you have interest, dedication, patience, and will power to learn, then Karate is definitely right for you. 

How Much Should Karate Lessons cost?

The cost depends on the institutions, location and country. 

Are private karate lessons worth it?

Private karate lessons are definitely worthy if you religiously follow your trainer’s instructions. You have to practice daily. Furthermore, your trainer can concentrate on you separately in a private class. 

What do you learn in karate classes?

You will learn:

  • Control
  • Awareness
  • Self Defence
  • Focus
  • Balance
  • Self-confidence
  • Humility
  • Discipline
  • Respect
  • Goal orientation
  • Patience

Can I learn karate at 25?

YES, you can definitely learn Karate at 25 if you want to. There is no age limit to learn Karate. If you can’t decide, look for karate demo classes and attend them. The trainers will guide you. 

Karate summer camp ideas:

This is for karate institutions or karatekas who wish to teach self-defense and certain exercises to kids and adults.

  • Organize summer camp and invite kids and their parents.
  • Pick a good place with open space, ground, or even land.
  • Teach basic drills and kicks, punches, dodging, etc.
  • Prepare a self-defense demonstration and show it.
  • Pick up random kids and teach them easy self-defense techniques that they can apply if in danger.
  • Make them do cardio workouts like jogging, hopping, etc.
  • Tell the parents and the children about karate and its usefulness.
  • If possible, show nun-chuck skills, knife, and gun defense.
  • Give them good food during the break.

In short:

Any form of karate is effective if learned properly and deliberately. Check a few institutions near you. Look for online training. Talk to the teachers and ask your questions. Get yourself or your child into a Karate class and practice regularly for a supremely healthy mind and body.