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  • How do I start?
    Turn up to a beginners class either Monday 6pm, Thursday 6pm or Sunday 11am. These classes are specific for you, and your first month is FREE. Simply turn up and train. No previous experience or particular level of fitness is required - this is a learn and improve as you go process. Wear clothes that you can easily move in, a tee-shirt and shorts or track pants are great. It is a great idea to arrive five minutes before class and make yourself known to one of the Black Belts or other class members, who will assist you from there. When you have decided that this is for you, enrol at the office or by email.
  • 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”. Yet, 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. 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.
  • 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 five years from beginning training to being invited to promote to Shodan.
  • What uniform or equipment do I need?
    Karate Do ('Empty Hand') requires only you and appropriate training clothing – traditional 'gi' or track pants and t-shirt.
  • How may classes can I do?
    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.
  • 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 Tadashi 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 second or third year of training – depending on how quickly each person progresses. Even then, a strict awareness of the skill level and ability of your opponent governs each person’s conduct during sparring classes.
  • 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.
  • Can I sit and watch a class?
    Yes - visitors are welcome at any time. Watching a class is a great way to see what happens and to meet the people who make our club what it is.
  • Why do you bow at the beginning and end of every 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.
  • What should I wear?
    Karate Do ('Empty Hand') requires only you and appropriate training clothing – traditional 'gi' or track pants and t-shirt.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • Why do you do push-ups on your knuckles?
    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 answer to the question ‘Will it hurt? – push-ups can involve an opportunity to surpass one’s limitations.
  • Do adults and children train in the same classes?
    Yes they do. But there are separate children’s classes. Please see the timetable.
  • 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’.
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