This list is based on feedback and questions from beginners, parents and people new to Seido Karate.
Do I need to be fit?
As with any physical activity – Karate is more enjoyable the fitter you are. Being fit also allows you to focus more on the task at hand rather than any feelings of physical discomfort.
Your fitness level isn't necessarily a barrier at the start. After their first few classes, many people become motivated to increase their fitness to help them learn new Karate skills more easily.
Our classes typically include an exercise component – and over time your fitness will increase along with your skill level.
Everyone is encouraged to be aware of their own fitness and health and to train accordingly.
Will it hurt?
The short answer is : Yes, sooner or later your Karate training will involve some form of physical discomfort.
The ultimate goal of Karate is to free ourselves of our self-imposed limitations. Most people dislike physical discomfort – whether it is pain or sore muscles from exercise, shortness of breath, feeling exhausted or simply being “hot and bothered” – as long as these conditions are managed to safe levels they allow us to challenge ourselves and often surprise ourselves when we achieve beyond our assumptions.
- Can I do 5 more press-ups?
- Can I go for a run for 10 minutes longer?
- Can I do a bench-press with a 5kg heavier bar?
Often, we experience “pain” during exercise with little or no physical risk – and the discomfort that goes with it is simply the desire to make it stop, or perhaps fear that we aren't fit enough or strong enough.
Pain, in this sense, is very personal, and for each person who trains in Karate, is one way in which we can challenge ourselves to go beyond our limitations.
Do I need to know Japanese?
Most modern Karate styles have their origins in Japan (in particular, Seido's origins can be traced to Okinawa).
The chairman and founder of Seido Karato Do is ‘Kaicho' Tadashi Nakamura, who was born and lived the early part of his life in Japan.
The Japanese terms for body parts, stances and basic techniques and counting are introduced gradually as each student advances.
What uniform or equipment will I need?
Karate Do ('Empty Hand') requires only you and appropriate training clothing – traditional 'gi' or track pants and t-shirt.
See also What should I wear to start attending classes?
How long does it take to become a black belt?
While each person varies in their ability to learn new skills and their physical capacity – as a rule of thumb it takes around 5 years from beginning training to being invited to promote to Shodan.
Will I be 'sparring' straight away?
For many people the idea of fighting or physical combat is cause for concern and probably not something they will seek out.
In the past, martial arts styles tended to include fighting or ‘sparring’ from the very first class – and little or no quarter was given to the less experienced. Unsurprisingly, people often suffered injury and many never returned.
Whether this was simply a ‘traditional’ approach or perhaps ‘strong’ or ‘macho’ – it tended to limit the scope for involving a broad cross section of society in the martial arts. Dojo’s tended to be dominated by young, fit and strong men.
Founder Takashi Nakamura identified this as a fundamental problem and made it one cornerstone of Seido Karate Do, that anyone can train safely and be constructively challenged within a safe environment.
For this reason, sparring isn’t introduced until the 2nd or 3rd year of training – depending on how quickly each person progresses. And even then, a strict awareness of the skill level and ability of your opponent governs each person’s conduct during sparring classes.
How often can I train?
Classes are either open or focussed on a particular skill level. Hence, the further you progress, the more classes you can choose from.
Please also see the Beginners
page for more information.
Why do you say "Oos"? What does it mean?
Written "Osu" – this term can vary slightly in meaning in different contexts. It is typically meant as an acknowledgement following an instruction from an instructor – as in "I understand" or "I follow".
It is also used as a greeting and sign of respect when senior grades enter or leave the dojo floor or a training room.
Can I sit and watch a class?
Yes - visitors are welcome.
Why do you bow at the beginning and end of each class?
We bow to acknowledge the spirit of the dojo and all the people who train there, both past and present. It has no religious connotations, it’s merely showing respect.
Why do you do Push-ups on your knuckles? Does it hurt?
Push-ups can be performed in many ways – and not all involve the knuckles. In general the action strengthens the muscles involved in performing a punch – including the wrist and hand, forearm and upper arm and shoulder. In addition, push-ups help with core conditioning – of the abdomen, pelvic floor and back muscles which stabilise torso and upper body motion.
As described in the section "Will it hurt?" – push-ups can involve "an opportunity to surpass one’s limitations" – aka, some discomfort.
What should I wear to start attending classes?
You can by all means train in a white gi jacket and pants, and a white belt, however, for beginners, t-shirt and track pants is fine.
Which classes can I join in as a beginner?
Please see "How Often can I train?"
Do adults and children train in the same classes?
Yes they do. But there are separate children’s classes. Please see the timetable.
Is 'sparring' compulsory?
Sparring should be seen in the context of challenging ourselves to overcome our fears and limitations. While strongly focussed on developing character and self-awareness, our Karate training also draws heavily from past historical periods in which physical self-defence was essential.
Sparring is both a physical challenge in terms of fitness, and the challenge of applying our skills in a less predictable setting – with a real human opponent rather than when ‘shadow boxing’ or using a training pad or bag.
Is Karate violent?
The term ‘violent’ is often a moral term – implying physical force used for bullying or domination.
However, physically defending yourself or others is a totally positive use of physical force – which strengthens communities and builds relationships.
In the context of carefully controlled, safe training and personal development, it is incorrect to label martial arts as ‘violent’.
Will I learn to use weapons?
Karate can be translated as Empty Hand – traditionally focussed on techniques without weapons. Once you reach the level of Shodan (1st Dan Blackbelt) you will begin to learn the Bo and Jo.
A core philosophy is that your time training as a Kyu Grade student is focussed on increasing your skill, strength and focus and awareness of your body and mind. When you reach the level of Shodan you have learned how to be a beginner – a philosophy referred to as “Beginner’s Mind”. Weapons skills are then built on top of these foundations.
What is all the shouting for?
The ‘kiai' (“kee-aye”) is a short exhalation of air which tenses the diaphragm, focuses effort,
and, often, intimidates an opponent. This can be traced back to the origins of the term ‘battle cry' in which combatants
would lift their spirits and energy with loud chants and cries.
What do I need and how much it costs?
You would have to pay for two badges that would need to go on your gear. It's £8 for both. Obviously the geat itself. Which ranges from £30 to £100. Please ask Kyoshi Jon about this and he would be able to give you advice depending on your needs.
Then you would need an insurance(first month is free) after it's £10 per year.
You would also have to pay every time you grade. It's £20. Normally it's one grading per year. It also depends on how many classes you attended and your abilities.
Other gear: shin guards, mouth guard, groin guard, chest guard, fingerless bag gloves. Everything can be order through us with our respected providers.