Karate FAQ

Some of the Frequently Asked Questions on Karate Training…

Q. What style of Karate do you practise?

A. We practise a Traditional Okinawan/Japanese style of Karate-Do (Way of the Empty Hand) known as Shuri-te (After the area it was taught – Shuri City in Okinawa, and Te – meaning Fist). The more recognised style name is Shito Ryu (Founded by Mabuni Sensei), and more precisely our Ryuha (Style/Family) is – Itosu Kei Shito Ryu (Named after Itosu Sensei one of Mabuni Sensei’s Teachers) (Pronounced – Itosu Kei Shito Ryu = It-Toss-Sue Kay & Shito Ryu = Shh’Tow Ree-oo)

Q. What is the Training Like?

A. Classes go for 1 hour and are made up of a mixture of basics (Kihon), forms (Kata), non-contact sparring (Kumite) and self-defence exercises (Goshin). There may be a special emphasis on any one of these elements at any given class or any combination of them. About once a month there is a special class known as Shugyo which increases the intensity and aerobic requirements in the class. Gradings are usually held within the Saturday classes in the last week of the month. Students are encouraged to train within their own limits, and up to their potential.

Q. Do I have to be Fit?

A. Karate is for all people, no matter what level of fitness you may have, no matter what age (Children start from the age of 3). Fitness levels will increase throughout your training. You do not have to perform any other form of Fitness exercising as a pre-requisite or to supplement your Karate training. Karate is an all-round fitness exercise without concentration on any one part of the body. A Karate practitioner’s fitness will remain high well into their senior years.

A solid 10 minute traditional warm-up is performed at the beginning of each class which provides excellent fitness training.

Q. Is it safe for Children?

A. We modify the training for our Children’s class for reasons of safety and appropriate forms of technique for children’s minds and sensibilities. Non-Contact Karate is much safer than many team sports and experiences very little injuries. We have had no serious injuries in our children’s (or adults’) class since the inception of the club. Safety is a paramount issue in our training, and is constantly reinforced throughout the classes. Above all, our children develop a keen sense of safety consciousness through their training, which extends into their school and home life, to the extent that their lives are much safer in general because of their training!

Q. Do I have to go in Tournaments?

A. Tournaments are not compulsory, however, a tournament is often the only way to safely experience a combat encounter as close to reality as possible. For this reason, tournament training and participation is encouraged as just another part of your training. Even if you have no interest in the sport and competitive side of Karate, we encourage you to at least experience this aspect of sparring training.

Q. I have an “X” Belt in “Y”… Do I have to start again at White Belt?

A. If you have a recognised Rank from the Australian Karate Federation (or any member Country of the World Karate Federation) or from one of the Traditional Ryuha (Styles) you can keep your current Rank. You will be required to learn any of the Basics, Kata and Sparring Forms from earlier ranks within our style, if you have not done so, or if your style differs significantly in it’s form. If you have a rank from another martial art (such as Judo, Aikido, Jujutsu, etc) you will have to start at 10th Kyu (White Belt). Your experience and ranks in other Martial Arts are treated with respect at our Dojo.

Q. Do you teach Self Defence?

A. Throughout all of our training, there is a strong element of self-defence work built into our basics and the analysis (Bunkai) of Forms (Kata). At each grade there are specific exercises and techniques designed to address specific modern day defensive situations. The Chief Instructor has also trained under Police Self Defence Instructors, Bill Turner of the Queensland Police, Sensei Michiharu Mori of the International Yoshinkan Aikido Federation, Sensei Graham Keleher (AAMA) who is also a former Qld Police Self Defence Instructor. Since 2010, the Senior Instructors of Kodomon Karate-Do have been working with a Military Combatives curriculum and have launched a Self Defence program from 2011 in association with Paul Cale’s Kinetic Fighting program which is now taught to all members of the Australian Defence Forces, and several Australian Police forces. Sensei Irvine was the first Civilian accredited to Operator Level 5 (Instructor) in the Kinetic Fighting (KEF) Program.

Q. What is the Lineage of your Style?

A. Sensei (Chief Instructor) Glenn Irvine (6th Dan) has trained under both Sensei (Teacher) Graham Keleher, (7th Dan Chief Instructor of the AAMA, Former Qld State Junior Coach, and Oceania Representative to the World Karate Federation Technical Committee) and Sensei Sadaharu Fujimoto (8th Dan Founder of International Karate-Do Shobukai and Former Japanese National Coach). Fujimoto Sensei’s Teacher was Hiroshi Kinjo (9th Dan Shuri-te) who studied under Hanashiro Chomo & Oshiro Chuko, both Students of Itosu Yasutsune.

Sensei Irvine also studied Yoshinkan Aikido (Prov. 2nd Dan) under Michiharu Mori (7th Dan) who was an Uchideshi (Live-in Student) for 10 years under Kancho Gozo Shioda (9th Dan), Founder of the Yoshinkan Style of Aikido, who in turn was also a long term Uchideshi of O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba (10th Dan), Founder of the Martial Art of Aikido.

Q. Do I have to do a certain amount of Training?

A. One (1) night a week is OK, but real progress is made, and the curriculum is designed around at least Two (2) classes a week. We train on Monday, and Thursday Nights, as well as Saturday mornings.

Q. How often do I have/get to do Gradings?

A. There is a class number guideline within the grading system. (~12 classes to Yellow Belt, 18 to Orange, 30 to Green, and then 40 and up for all the other coloured belts up to Provisional Black Belt. In the Dan Grades the progression is over years of continuous training eg. 2-3 years to 2nd Dan, about 3-5 years to 3rd Dan etc. The Dan Grade requirements include an average 3 class per week training frequency.

Q. What are the grades in your school?

A. Starting at 10th Kyu (White Belt), then 9th Kyu (Yellow), 8th Kyu (Orange), 7th Kyu (Green), 6th Kyu (2nd Green), 5th Kyu (Blue), 4th Kyu (2nd Blue), 3rd Kyu (Brown), 2nd Kyu (2nd Brown), 1st Kyu (3rd Brown), Shodan Ho (Provisional Black Belt), 1st Dan, 2nd Dan etc. to 8th Dan.

The same progression applies to the Sub-Junior (7-10 years) and Junior Grades (10-17 years), with variations only in the curriculum content for the junior groups.

Q. How long will it take to get to Black Belt?

A. If you regularly train 2 classes a week, continually, it will take you 3 to 4 years to reach Black Belt on average. This period will essentially double if you only train 1 night a week. Attaining the Black belt is a very personal effort, and many factors apply, apart from a training duration, not least of which is the appropriate attitude and spirit.

Q. Is your Karate Full/Semi/Non Contact?

A. We practice Non-contact Sports & Traditional Karate. In effect this means minimal contact, to the extent of light cloth touch to the body area, and no contact to the head. However, this is a Martial Art, and some bodily contact should be expected with blocking and during sparring etc. Judgement errors can happen, as with any sport, however, our Karate is safer than most body contact sports. There has never been a serious injury in an Australian Karate Tournament throughout the entire history of the sport in this country.

Q. Do I need to get a Uniform/Gi/Dogi straight away?

A. The requirement for a Uniform only starts after your first grading (to yellow belt, ~12 lessons). This usually gives you (or your child) ample time to assess your/their commitment to the Art/Sport, before outlaying this expense. However, the uniforms are inexpensive, at ~$50 for a complete uniform for children and ~$50 for adults. The uniforms are available at the Dojo, with a 1 week waiting period from order. A club badge is required on the uniform, this is included in the yellow belt grading or is $5 sold separately.

Q. What is your Training Philosophy?

A. “Karate is a Way of Life”. One of the most renowned Masters, Funakoshi Sensei, immortalised that saying in the title of his most famous book, and it holds true to this day. Karate-Do IS a way of life, a way of self-discipline, self-awareness, confidence and assertiveness. It encourages the finer aspects of character development in both our youth and our adult students. One of the principles of our style is: “As my strength increases, I will endeavour to cultivate a gentle heart”. We take pride in guiding our students on a path that not only increases their potential in body and mind, but also creates good and principled citizens in society. We believe that the Dojo (Training Hall, or Hall of the Way) is a safe haven, a place of learning, and a place of equality, where effort and perseverance is transformed into progress and achievement.

The Japanese characters “Nintai” hang on the wall of our Dojo. This word means “Perseverance”, one of the most important principles taught and reinforced in our daily training.

Q. What is Karate like compared to other Martial Arts? (Is it Better than other MAs?)

A. No Martial Art is better or worse than any other Art. They each have different strengths and weaknesses. Karate concentrates on striking attacks using an even distribution of body weapons, there is little grappling and groundwork. Kung Fu (Gung Fu) is a generic term for Martial Arts in China and has many similarities and origins to Karate. Taekwondo is the Korean equivalent to Karate and predominantly uses leg attacks for range and strength. Judo uses grapples and throws in the main, Jujutsu is similar to Judo but less sports oriented and more self-defence focused. Aikido is similar to Jujutsu with locks, takedowns and throws, but has the philosophy of harmonising with the attack and causing little harm to the assailant. Hapkido is the Korean equivalent to Aikido. Kendo is the sport of Japanese Fencing derived from the traditional fighting art of Kenjutsu.

Kodomon Karate-Do is a National and State Member of the Australian Karate Federation
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