FAQS  (Fequently Asked Questions)


The following are common questions regarding karate. If you have a question that is not listed here, please send us an email and we will be glad to answer the question for you.

What is Karate?
"Karate", literally "empty hand", is a form of self-defense developed over the last century or two in Japan and many other Asian countries. Today, the regular practice of Karate helps students become healthy, well-coordinated individuals, both physically and mentally.

Where does Karate come from?
Very briefly, Karate has descended from very old fighting systems which were developed by Buddhist monks as a physical and mental discipline in China. Created by observing and copying the natural fighting moves of various animals, Karate then spread throughout Asia, and, eventually, the world.

How does it differ from Boxing or Judo?
Judo (gentle way) and boxing are primarily sports, with self-defense, or "martial", applications. On the other hand, Karate is a martial art with some sport applications. Additionally, Karate utilizes both hands and feet, as opposed to a boxer’s punches, and is not primarily involved in "throwing" techniques as in Judo.

Are there different kinds of Karate?
Yes. As Karate was traditionally taught from individual to individual, many different "styles" have emerged over the years. Further, many original types of Karate developed differently as they spread to different geographic regions; some coming to emphasize certain fighting philosophies or basic techniques. To the novice, these differences are unimportant.

At what age is a good age to start Karate?
There is no ideal age. The best age is when there is interest.

What about the Religious aspect of Karate?
We teach no religious part of Karate, we believe that is a personal choice.

Can women benefit from Karate?
Greatly, since proficiency in Karate is not dependent upon size or muscular strength, and yet is a very practical form of personal development and self-defense.

Can children benefit from Karate?
Certainly. Over the years, we have heard many parents describe positive results with children who lack confidence, concentration, discipline or even who are hyperactive.

Do I need to buy my child's uniform for the first class?
No. We believe that children should earn the uniform by doing extra things around the house. We call it "Learn to Earn".

How often should I come to Karate?
There is no magic number. Some come once a week, others come three or more times per week. The main thing is you are always learning, each time you workout.

Do I have to attend tournaments?
No. We do encourage, about four hand chosen tournaments a year, but they are not mandatory.

Where can I obtain a class schedule or belt test schedule?
Class Schedules and Belt Test Schedules are available here on the website or you can pick up a printed copy at our university.

Can I special order gear from the Karate University?
Absolutely, Speak with one of our Instructors, Karate representatives, or one of the staff at the front desk about ordering uniforms or equipment. We will soon have our ONLINE STORE available for you to make your purchases even more convenient.

What are the Classes like?
A typical class starts with an easy stretch and warm-up, followed by a fun aerobic workout. While you are getting into shape firming, toning, losing body fat and increasing endurance, you will learn basic martial arts self defense techniques  – kicks, punches, knees and elbows. We complete with a relaxing stretch and cool down. Let the instructor know before class if you have any sensitive areas (neck, back, knees, etc.) Exercise can be modified to accommodate your needs. For your safety, the workout is steady and at your own pace. No matter what your level of intensity (beginner, intermediate, advanced) the focus is on using your muscles (dynamic tension) to do the work, not momentum or speed.

How Long is the Class?
The class is 40 minutes, which starts with a 8 –10 minute stretch and warm-up, followed by 30-35 minutes full body workout and strength training, ending with a relaxing 5 minute cool down.  Because attendees deserve the benefits of a complete workout, class starts promptly at scheduled times. Arrive a few minutes early to start warming up and get yourself ready for Karate.

What should I wear?
If you are just starting, wear comfortable exercise clothes. The Karate GI is an excellent article of clothing for these exercises and training. Karate Fitness incorporates traditional martial arts self-defense techniques and is conducted barefoot. For added safety, for intermediate and advanced students, complete sparring gear are highly recommended. Bring a towel and a bottle of water, if you like.

Is Karate for Women and Children?
Yes, most definitely! Karate is for all individuals -- small, tall, young or old. The American Karate Black Belt Association's youngest students are 4 and our oldest is 75.

Will I be able to defend myself physically?
Students of American Karate, knowing that they can handle themselves in a physical conflict, feel confident, and thus are able to avoid most confrontations without resorting to a physical fight. If there is no avoiding a fight, the student of Karate learns to disable his or her opponent quickly.

Is Karate good for my health?
Yes. Because Karate involves both stretching and cardiovascular exercise, it is extremely good for your health. Furthermore, unlike many other activities, Karate uses almost all muscle groups. This means that your body becomes very well balanced rather than overworked in specific muscle groups.

What kind of Karate is taught at American Karate University?
American Karate is a similar technique to TaeKwonDo, however many efficiencies have been brought into the art.

How does one benefit from Karate instruction?
Karate teaches practical self-defense skills, develops confidence, promotes coordination, and positively influences self-discipline. The physical and mental benefits of Karate are earned through sincere and earnest practice.

Is Karate difficult to learn?
As in any worthwhile pursuit, discipline and hard work are necessary for total accomplishment. It would be false to describe Karate as "easy", but there is nothing in Karate that cannot be attained through effort, desire and practice.

How long does it take to learn karate?
The Masters teach that karate is a continuing learning and living experience. However, from the moment you step on the training room floor and perform your first technique, you are on the road to Black Belt, and to the mastery of Karate.

How does one progress in Karate?
At our facility, there are ten belt ranks which one must earn before becoming eligible to test for Black Belt. Each belt ranking has a specific skills assessment and time requirement.

How long does it take to receive a Black Belt?
Each rank has prerequisites that must be satisfied both in terms of number of classes required and subject matter learned. As a rough average, a regularly practicing student could earn his or her Black Belt in about four years.

How does a student get a Black Belt?
After having satisfied all the requirements of the ten belt ranks and received his or her recommendation from an instructor, a student may be tested formally by the association test board  or through specific testing by a quarum of certified AKBBA Black Belt instructors. The TEST board consists of a number of high ranking Black Belt instructors who evaluate candidates’ performance during the testing procedure. Upon receiving his or her Black Belt, the student is then registered with the American Karate Black Belt Association as a certified Black Belt.

How can I get started?
The way that we integrate every new student into our school is through our Free Two Week Introductory Program. The program consists of four lessons with a Black Belt instructor. Each lesson is approximately 40 minutes long, giving you a great opportunity to try the training and see if Karate is something you would like to pursue.  Any member of our professional staff would be happy to set up a time for you to see our facility and speak to you about the possibility of your taking advantage of both our Introductory Program, and all that The Karate University has to offer!

How early should you start your child in the martial arts?
While the martial arts are an enjoyable and very worthwhile activity for children, it should be recognized that progress will take consistent class attendance, some practice and support from the family (kids can't drive themselves to class).

How early to start a child really depends on the individual child and their level of interest and maturity. Many professional schools have age specific classes and curriculum programs for children as young four, five or six years old. These programs are very popular and can be a great way for a child to learn concentration, self-control and start to develop more coordination.

Programs for children of this age usually are less demanding than mainstream martial arts programs and bypass much of the serious self-defense training in favor of more age appropriate and fun activities.

What style should I choose?
The only style that really matters is the teaching style of the instructor. Yes, styles vary and you may prefer one style over another, but style should be a secondary consideration. The first priority is finding an instructor that you feel comfortable with and who can motivate you to come to class twice a week.

All styles have their strengths and weaknesses. While it would be nice to say that your body type or flexibility should match up with a certain style, it's more important to match up with the right instructor and school.

The most popular martial arts in the United States are comprised from a number of basic systems. These systems are generally referred to by their geographic origins.

Again, you can see how much more impact the style of the instructor will have rather than the style of martial arts being taught.

What kind of facility should I look for?
Here it's important to trust your first impressions. The modern martial arts school is clean, well lit, spacious and has a good family atmosphere. The mirrors are polished, the floor is clean and the dressing rooms in good order. On the wall you might see photographs of recent school events and outings and there should definitely be an area for parents or family to sit and watch the classes.

Beware of any school that doesn't allow you to watch the class. Particularity if you are a parent looking for a school for your kids, You should have real concerns about a school that doesn't allow you to watch them work with your child. An instructor might say that they don't want the child to be distracted by the parents, but the truth usually is that the instructor doesn't want to be accountable to the parent.

Conversely, professional instructors will always recommend and insist that you stay and watch. They know that once you see the positive lessons they are teaching your child, that you'll be even more supportive of the training. The truth is that the instructor who encourages you to take the time to watch your child in class is doing you and your child a great service. In today's busy world, the tendency to drop off a child and not take the time to share the experience of learning a new skill is all to prevalent.

We have always found that the kids whose parents were in class and supportive seemed to do much better and be more well adjusted than the drop off kids. Children, more than anything else, want their parents to take an interest in them and be proud of their accomplishments. Martial arts, taught by a professional, has a series of "victories" for each child ranging from a new belt or stripe on their belt to other forms of recognition for the child. That recognition is greatly enhanced when the parent is there to share in the pride.

Consider a professional martial arts instructor as a part of the team whose goal is to instill a strong sense of self-pride and confidence in your child. As a parent, your presence in that classroom is critical to the success of the team.

What should I do if my child wants to quit?
There will come a time when your child says, "I'm too tired to go to class today." This is a critical point in a child's training. This is when you help teach them about follow through and the never-quit attitude.

Don't be concerned about "pushing it on your child."  Children wouldn't go to school, brush their teeth or clean their room if you didn't "push it on them." There's a big difference between helping a child follow through on a goal they agreed to and force-feeding something on a child.

When you begin Karate classes, agree with your child on some short-term goals such as green belt or brown belt with the understanding that there will be no quitting until the goal is achieved. The real goal in the training should be black belt, but until you've had a chance to really understand what it takes to earn a black belt, it's best to set a more reachable initial goal. Once you've determined that black belt is your goal, commit to it with full enthusiasm.

Remember, it's unrealistic to expect a child not to, at some point, rebel against the effort. This is natural and should not lead to quitting. Quitting can quickly become a bad habit.  Facing these types of challenges is part of the training inherent in the martial arts.

How can I motivate my child to continue?
Staying with a goal without quitting is an integral skill that has to be instilled by the parent. This is the very foundation of goalsetting and achievement. Quitting is the very foundation of under-performance and failure. The world is full of great starters. Teach your child that its the ability to set goals and see them through to their completion that's most important.

When you've been attending with the child and know exactly what's been happening in class, you can help re-motivate the child into getting to class by reminding them of how much they enjoy the last class and that they can look forward to seeing their friends in class.

How can I provide additional support to my child?
The best way to support your child in Karate is to take the discipline and respect taught in the classroom and employ these rules at home.  Respect for others from your child is accomplished by appropriately responding with "Yes, Ma'am", "No, Ma'a", "Yes, Sir", "No, Sir", instead of "YEAH" - and other disciplines taught in class provide children with positive reinforcement.

Setting aside short practice sessions where you and your child work on the self-defense, kicking, blocking, and kata's techniques taught in class.  These practice sessions should only take about 15 to 20 minutes and go a long way in helping them do better when they return to class.

What are testing fees?
We charge an additional fee when you take an exam to move up to another belt. These testing fees are published in the student manual and are based on the belt rank test being taken. Typical fees are between $30 to $100.

A black belt test is a much more involved exam and often has a number of expenses tied to it for the school. For that reason you can expect to pay $100 for a black belt exam. This money offsets the additional preparation the school has to make in order to promote someone to black belt and is a fair charge.

What belt rank should my instructor be?
In most styles of martial arts, there are ten degrees of black belt. A new black belt earns a first degree and then it works up from there to tenth. The problem is that with the lack standardization in the arts, what defines a fifth degree black belt or a seventh degree black belt varies so drastically, that the rank doesn't really convey a meaning to the general public.

There is a saying by Joe Lewis, one of the legends of American martial arts. Lewis, when asked what degree black belt he was, would answer, "There are two types of black belts. Good ones and bad ones. I'm one of the good ones." The point of the statement is that beyond earning a black belt, rank has little if anything to do with quality of instruction.

This is a critical point to understand. Just because someone has received a high rank within an art doesn't make them a good teacher. Indeed, sometimes the opposite is true. Some black belts are more focused on their own achievements instead of helping the student achieve.

It's very hard to say what rank beyond black belt a professional martial artist should be. Clearly, a school owner or chief instructor should be a black belt or the equivalent depending on the art. Also, if your goal is to earn a black belt, then you have to have an instructor that is at least a second or third degree, so they promote you to first-degree black belt. A first-degree black belt cannot promote someone to first degree black belt. In most systems you have to be one or two degrees higher to promote someone. For instance, an instructor would have to be a third degree or fourth degree to promote a student to second-degree black belt.

Beyond that, the rank of the instructor will actually mean very little to your classroom experience or the quality of your classes. In fact, when choosing a school, you should probably avoid schools that use their ads to tell you all about the ranks the instructor has. What he has accomplished is not as important as what he can do for you, so don't be mislead by claims of grand master or 10th degree black belt. That's not as important as finding an instructor who cares about his students and makes that his focus instead of seeking all the attention himself.

Occasionally, a Beginner Adult or Youth/Child class will be led by a High-Brown or Red Belt student, under the direction of a Black Belt Instructor.  These training requirements are mandatory Teaching and Assisting assignments are a requirement for all students who are at the advanced belt levels.  These training requirements allow a student to learn and develop teaching techniques established by our facility. 

Should I find a "champion" instructor?
Looking at the phone-book ads, it's almost impossible not to find a champion. It seems harder to find an instructor that doesn't claim to be a champion of some sort. Like rank, tournament titles mean very little if anything to your experience. Just because someone has won an event, doesn't mean they can teach you or your child.

In fact, the hard-core competitor often has a difficult time toning the training down for the novice or for kids. For instance, John McEnroe is a great tennis champion, but I don't know if I would want him as my child's tennis coach. That's not to say titles are a bad thing. It's just not an important aspect to look for or be concerned with. Since just about everyone in the phone book is a champion of some sort, simply ignore the claims and focus on what they can do for you.

 

How long will it take me to achieve a particular belt ranking/level?

 

While there are minimum wait time limits associated with each belt level for testing, it does not take into consideration your ability to perform specific skills-based tasks in order to pass the exams.  Lets assume that you practice daily, attend all classes, are able to accomplish all the skills as instructed, showing proper attitude, technique, power, form, and abilities, here is a schedule that estimates how one might progress and the time taken to accomplish the belt rankings:

 

BELT RANK Minimum Wait Time Accumulate Time
White    
Gold 1 mo 1 mo
Orange 1 Mo 2 mos
Green 4 mo 6 mos
Blue 4 mo 10 mos
Purple 6 mo 1 yr 4 mo
BrownL 6 mo 1 yr 10 mo
BrownH 6 mo 2 yr 4 mo
Red 8 mo 3 years
Black 9 mo 3yr 9 mo
II Black 2 years 5 yr 9 mo
III Black 3 years 8 yr 9 mo
IV Black 4 years 12 yr 9 mo
V Black 5 years 17 yr 9 mo
VI Black 6 years 23 yr 9 mo
VII Black 7 years 30 yr 9 mo

 

Missing some questions and answers??

Thank you for taking the time to read and review the questions and answers posted here. I hope these answers to commonly posed questions has been beneficial to you and have helped you make a more educated decision on how Karate can be of benefit to you and your family.  If you have further questions, you may either call our facility or simply send an email to us. We will respond quickly and if your question is one that we have overlooked, we will add it. 

Thank you, again.

The Karate University............