united english karate federation


Information for Students

Karate is an art that is best learnt by listening, watching and practicing rather than from books, videos or websites. This is why your first lesson is likely to be quite confusing, because there is so much that is new and different to what you would do in an ordinary lesson. This confusion soon disappears, because it is not due to anything being difficult to do or understand, but because there seems to be so much of it. If there are more experienced students in your class, it's good to remember that they all started the same way as you.

A typical lesson will consist of some stretching exercises, some practice at punching and kicking (individually, not at each other!) then paired exercises which allow you to work through pre-arranged moves with a partner, and finally 'kata' which are series of techniques perhaps 20 or 30 moves long performed as a single form.

Some Japanese words will be used in the lesson, but these will be explained at the time, and you will soon be using them completely naturally just as you already use the Japanese word, 'Karate'. There is a glossary of the most common Japanese words in the reference section of this website.

Karate is famous for having a white uniform (called a 'gi') with a belt whose colour indicates your level of achievement. You have a white belt when you start, and you are awarded belts for passing formal examinations called 'gradings' where you have to demonstrate what you have learnt in class. The most common question for new students to ask is, 'How long will it take for me to get a black belt?'. The answer is that it depends entirely on the student, and no instructor can tell how long it will take.

Every year, your club takes part in competitions, and there are two Gasshuku or camps where you and even your parents can train for 3 days and take part in various activities.

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