Levi practicing sword
Levi B. practicing Iai (self defense with the sword)

Q: Am I too old to start karate?
A: Absolutely not! Karate is great for young, athletic kids, but many adults start their training later in life. Fit youngsters may be able to kick higher and move faster, but adults tend to grasp concepts faster and form a deeper connection with the art. Adults will still see the same benefits as children including increased fitness, enhanced focus, and improved self confidence.

Q: Do I need to be in good shape to start karate?
A: Nope! Anyone of any fitness level can start karate. If you can make a fist, you’re ready for your first class. We also find adult karate students become motivated to eat better and work out outside of class so they can improve their karate performance! The best way to get in shape for karate is practicing karate, period.

Q: How old does my child need to be?
A: We prefer children to be six and older, but we’ve made exceptions for siblings of students, for children training with their parents, or for children who demonstrate they can follow direction. Students of all ages learn the same material in our dojo, and we do not have a dedicated program for younger children at this time.

Q: I’m an adult. Will I have to train with kids?
A: Adults are welcome to jump into our intermediate/advanced class, where they can learn at a faster pace and get right into some practical material, as well as work with our adults and older teens. There are some children in this class, but they have achieved higher ranks and are expected to demonstrate better behavior than the younger students in the basic class. As our program grows, we hope to have a dedicated class for adults.

Q: Will I get beat up? Do I have to spar?
A: All of our partner work and sparring is done in a safe, controlled manner. Students are expected to challenge one another, but do so with an attitude of care and respect. Sparring may include light contact with protective gear, and we practice several judo techniques including throws, sweeps, and joint locks as students progress in rank. That said, if you’re looking for a full-contact sparring program for boxing or MMA, you may want to find another gym.

Q: Do I have to learn Eastern medicine or Eastern religion?
A: No! There are no religious teachings in our training, and students are encouraged to “bow to what they believe in” when they bow to the front of the dojo. We sometimes discuss elements of Eastern medicine or Zen philosophy in a historical context as they relate to the martial arts, but nobody will be asked to compromise their own religious beliefs. When we bow to one another in class it is simply a sign of mutual respect and has no religious significance, nor does it indicate subservience or fealty.

Q: How long will it take to earn my black belt?
A: This depends on the individual student’s dedication, but a general guideline is 4-6 years. We cover a lot of material in our style, and we expect physical skill, knowledge of our style (Shuri-ryu), and a reasonable ability to defend oneself. As such, we also expect a level of maturity, so we do not issue black belts to kids and younger teens.

Q: How much do classes cost?
A: For one person, the cost is $90/month. Additional family members in the same household are $60/month, topping out at $210/month for 3-5 family members. There are always at least three classes per week available to new students, and there is no limit on attendance. The karate membership includes jodo and kobudo classes when the student is of appropriate rank and maturity, but we also offer jodo-only memberships for $50/month. Parents or siblings of a karate student are discounted to $30/month.

Students practicing outdoors
Summertime outdoor practice!

Q: What about hidden fees?
A: We have no surprise fees or membership upgrades. Students are expected to purchase a uniform and patches on enrollment (barring special offers or incentives), and to purchase new belts at rank promotion. Intermediate and advanced students may be asked to pay a nominal testing fee for rank tests conducted outside of class times (currently $20). Protective gear such as a groin cup and athletic supporter are highly recommended, especially for male students. Higher ranks may choose to purchase sparring gear or weapons when they attend those classes, but no students are excluded due to an inability to afford gear.

Q: Can I try a class before I sign up?
A: We encourage everyone to try one class for free! This gives new students a chance to meet the instructor, see how classes work, and to have an opportunity to ask questions or discuss individual needs.

Q: Sounds great! How soon can I start?
A: New students can join any time! Our classes are structured so you can jump in and start learning right away. We return to each of our content areas frequently, so students never really “miss” anything. Simply fill out our contact form, email us, or call us at (309) 863-5315 and we’ll help you get started!