I’m thinking of taking karate.. a little nervous tips?

I’m thinking of starting karate to get a little healthier, and also for fun. But I thought I would like it better then forcing myself to go to a gym which I know I would just quit after a day. So I thought this would be more fun, and more motivating. I’ve also been interested in karate since I was like 11 (I’m 19 now lolz). Am I to old for tournaments? Because I’m interested in those too. But are they scary? And is it like boxing where you actually hurt the person? And how do rankings work? I’m a little new to all of this, but I’m hopefully starting in a month. Oh and how long does it take to move up a color?

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9 Responses to I’m thinking of taking karate.. a little nervous tips?

  1. Joe says:

    Find a school that focuses on combat defense, not sports and winning tournaments. I think Jiu Jitsu might be better.

  2. Nicole says:

    There are many different schools/associations offering karate – my son tried shorinjiryu, but the school shut down where we live. He has been a member of authentic shotokan karate for the last three years and has just completed his black belt grading. With regards to your questions, it really depends on the school as to whether or not they part take in tournaments… not all do. My son does sparring drills and free fighting, but most classes involve contact free training. The gradings (and associated belt colours) also differ between schools. It depends on how much you train (and practice at home) as to when you will be invited to grade higher. If you train twice a week, and practice at home, you might grade up once or even twice a year.
    Hope you enjoy your karate… it’s a really great physical and mental work-out.

  3. Connor says:

    I say just go for it, I used to do it but now my GCSE’s came up and I haven’t got the time but keep in mind that it is quite mentally challenging as well as physically, but you will really enjoy it and you get great stanima and strength from it, good luck

  4. Starlin Grimes says:

    watch kung fu panda one and two enjoy …inner peace….

  5. Jas Key says:

    I practice martial art mainly to have fun and keep fit. It is definitely a better way to keep at keeping fit than just lifting weights. However if you want to have that super buff cut look martial arts by itself will not do it. It will more likely to slim you down and build a thin bulk. Just fyi.
    It’s not scary and you will be eased into anything that you will do, so you won’t be doing anything before you are ready. There are tournaments in sparring and in forms with karate. Depending on the style you go to the sparring might be light point sparring (painless) to full contact no gear sparring (very painful), but as stated before they will train you until you are ready before making you do anything so not to worry. Ranking also tends to differ from style to style, but the systems always begins with white belt and ends at 9th dan black belt with color belts between the white to black.

  6. samuraiwarrior_98 says:

    Well guitar I think you just need to take this one step at a time first. Focus on finding a good school and instructor and it really pays to shop around when doing this. This in itself will be a challenge because there are so many McDojos and places that will take your money and nickel and dime you to death and have you in some long term contract before you know it. Avoid them and signing any long term contracts with them.

    Once you find what you think is a good school and instructor ask them if they compete at all. Some don’t and since that holds some interest for you down the road you will want to find a school that does do some competing. I never forced my students to compete and it was just a way for them to test their skills, knowledge, and ability against other similarly trained martial artists under controlled conditions. Some of my students competed and some didn’t and promotions were never based on competition.

    As for your age you are not to old by any means but at some tournaments you do sometimes encounter students and instructors that don’t mind hurting someone for the sake of winning a three foot plastic trophy. There are bad or mean instructors and competitors just like in the movie Karate Kid and when you are matched against them in sparring you need to know what you are doing. Students of mine that competed never were allowed to compete until they had some time, knowledge, and a little experience under their belts which usually was not until the end of their first year of training. I have seen an instructor talk a white belt with little or no experience into competing and then that white belt was getting knocked around because it was the adult mens division and he had only been in martial arts for a month.

    As for ratings there are a number of local as well as a few national rating organizations out there and you can look at joining those if and when you start competing. I competed in NASKA for about 12 years total and was ranked in the top ten by them in senior and executive black-belt forms, weapons, and fighting several of those years. Competing at that level as well as internationally which I also did can get pretty rough so that is not for beginners or those just starting to learn about competing.

    Promotions for you will be based on what the instructor where you train determines. That will be based on time and the standards that he follows or has established and this will vary from place to place based on how high those standards are. I would avoid any school where you could obtain a black-belt in less than about five years.

  7. eleanor says:

    Welcome. Congratulations on your excellent choice. (OK, slight bias, I hate gyms too.) Don’t worry about knowing anything or nothing to start with. All beginners are ‘a little new to all of this’ so you’ll fit right in. Ask your questions but also be patient, you’ll learn everything you need to eventually.

    As some other people said, make sure you find a good dojo. Go and watch a class see how the junior grades are taught and decide if you can learn from that sensei. Take a look at the senior grades – do you want to be like them? Talk to a few students after class, don’t expect people to be falling over themselves to greet you (why should they give up precious learning time to someone who may never come back) but they should be polite, friendly and ready to answer your questions. Google “Mcdojo” to read about scam dojos; noone really agrees on what is acceptable and what isn’t but you’ll get the idea of ‘danger’ signs. The more you see, the more likely it is that the dojo is a scam.

    To your specific questions:
    No, you’re not too old for tournaments. Most competing associations host competitions with categories for adult beginners. You’ll be a little scared at your first one, but you’ll have support from sensei or a senior student anyway. In most sport karate you’re not attempting to injure the person and a lot of beginner categories have very strict rules on the amount of contact. That said, minor accidents do happen and you may find yourself a little bruised or stunned but not seriously injured.

    Rankings are called grades and these vary between dojos. Most dojos I know have nine junior grades (colour belts) and then grades of black (don’t worry about them yet). At first the grading will be demonstrating that you can do the basic techniques, but you don’t have to be able to do them perfectly. As you get more experienced you’ll be expected to show improvement in your basics, add in kata, and then fighting techniques. Some places have formal gradings, some will grade you in class when you’re not even aware that you’re being assessed and some places do both. Don’t get too caught up in grading quickly. Remember that if a school can get you to black belt in three, five or ten years it is because the standard is set at a level that can be reached in three, five or ten years.

    Most importantly of all, trust your sensei. He or she will teach you what you need to know when you need to know it. I’ve found it best as a beginner to only learn in class and only read what sensei tells me. In the arts where I have more experience I can add independent learning as I can distinguish between things that will help me and things that will hold me back if I try to use them.

    Just remember, karate is a journey and not a race.

  8. Marni says:

    There are different types of karate. The main difference between types is different belt colours. Of course there will be differences in style too but it is still karate. The more experienced you are the more differences you will find between styles. Type is not the most important factor to look for when choosing a dojo.

    In most tournaments you have 2 options. Either compete sparring (fighting) in which case you will get hurt slightly but the aim of the game is to earn points NOT kill the other person. Or you can compete in Kata which is a series of movements that flow into each other. In kata you have no actual opponent so it is risk-free. But in a good dojo nobody should force you to compete. Tournaments can be very busy and it can easily make an inexperienced person feel nervous but in a good club there should be no huge pressure to win. The important thing is to take part and enjoy the experience.

    The belts. Different types of karate have different belt colours but as a general rule belts with yellow or orange on them are fairly low and ones with blue, purple or brown are closer to black belt. The white belt is just a part of the gi (clothes) and you don’t need to do a test to get it. All the coloured belts are known as kyu and all the black belts are called dan. In my class there is a legal minimum time gap between belts. For the first few belts it is 3 months and as the belts get harder they take longer to earn. In my class when you grade your result can be fail, 3rd class, 2nd class or 1st class but some clubs have a fail, pass, merit and distinction system. An important point is that kyus are numbered with the highest number being the easiest belt. So if somebody tells you they are (say) 9th kyu don’t be too impressed! Dans however (the black belts) are numbered with the first dan called 1st dan. So if somebody says they are 9th dan be very impressed!

    The most important thing in karate is to find a good dojo. Here are some points that I think are important.
    The sensei is a black belt.

    The sensei does not claim to run the worlds best karate classes. Striving to be the best is fine and not the same thing as thinking you are the best.

    You do a variety of things such as sparring, partner work, kata, techniques and pad work. Some sessions will not cover all these things but a class which focuses on one aspect and eliminates all others is a bad thing.

    When competing the emphasis should be on trying the experience rather than just on winning.

    There should be a rule that there has to be a gap of so many months between gradings.

    I don’t approve of skipping a belt. However that, like all these other things is my opinion. Some classes allow it. Some don’t.

    The sensei shouldn’t constantly try to sell you stuff. Some equipment is required for gradings but it partly depends on what aspect of karate you choose to focus on. For example if you want to focus mainly on kata you might not need sparring gloves.

    This website is very helpful for choosing a good class but some points in it are definitely matters of opinion. I do not agree with the author that the only useful part of karate is sparring and neither will most senseis. http://mcdojo-faq.tripod.com/#whynoblackbeltforkids

  9. Hghghg says:

    There are many different schools/associations offering karate – my son tried shorinjiryu

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