What is karate?
Karate is a martial art that originated on the Japanese island of Okinawa. There are many great histories written about karate, but these days Wikipedia provides a comprehensive overview;
What is Shukokai?
Over the years karate has developed into a number of distinct styles. Shukokai was developed by Chojiro Tani in the 1940s and is a branch of the Shito-ryu style of karate. There is more detailed information on our national website;
How much does it cost?
We operate a “pay as you learn” policy with no joining fees or monthly charges. It is simply £5 a session each time you can train. Family rates are negotiable and your first session is free.
What do I have to buy?
You will have to buy a karate gi to wear during training and a license that covers your insurance. Karate gis come in varying degrees of quality and cost so if you are unsure then feel free to ask for more information at the club.
We recommend you train several times before committing to buying your own kit. Though all are welcome at the club, we understand that sometimes either the club or karate itself is just not right for you. Be wary of clubs that ask for a lot of money up front.
Is there a minimum age?
Usually the minimum age at which we accept children is eight years old. However, we will often make exceptions for younger children if they are accompanied by an older sibling or parent. Children under the age of six will struggle with the technicality and concentration required for karate training.
Is there a maximum age?
No. Karate is accessible for adults of any age, from those completely new to karate to those who are returning to martial arts after a prolonged absence.
What should I wear for my first session?
Loose or stretchy clothing is preferable as karate is a full-body activity.
Do I need to be physically fit?
Though a basic level of fitness will greatly benefit your training, it is not a requirement. Karate training is itself a great way to increase fitness.
How often should I train?
The more you train, the faster you will improve. Training twice a week is a good minimum, but if that isn't possible then home practise between sessions is the key.
Is it dangerous?
Karate training focusses on control and respect, so injuries are rare. We thoroughly warm up and stretch before we train to avoid any pulls or strains. Nevertheless, all of our instructors are trained first aiders just in case.
Can I watch?
Yes that's absolutely fine, though we ask you to be quiet and respectful while you do so. Many people like to watch a session before deciding to join in. This is also fine and is a good way to get a feel for what the training is all about, particularly if you are new to karate.
What is a grading?
A grading is a formalised assessment of a student's progress where they are tested on their knowledge and technical abilities. Coloured belt gradings are conducted in the club when we believe a student, or students, are ready. Usually it takes between three and four months of training beetween gradings. Black belt gradings are conducted biannually and are an association-wide event that normally takes place in Manchester.
Please note that we will never put you in for a grading we do not believe you are capable of passing.
How long until I get my black belt?
This differs for every student as improving at karate requires patience and dedication. With regular training a student can achieve a black belt in four years, though more likely it will take five. It's important to note that belts in karate are awarded on merit and not attendance. The student who puts in the effort every session will reap the rewards much sooner than one who does not.
Do you compete in tournaments?
We do, though we are not a dedicated "sport karate" club. Our training is focused on the more traditional aspects of karate and a student's participation in any given tournament is entirely optional.