FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How much does karate cost?
Answer: I understand we need to shop around... its a staple of our culture. But, in Japan, to walk in a dojo and first ask, "how much is it," is quite impolite. You see, real martial arts is not daycare or a gallon of milk. It is very serious and is certainly not something you "shop around." It is an art and one seeks an instructor, be it art, music, or martial arts, based on reputation. Asking the price of something without knowing anything about it is kind of backwards.
Question: How do I get started?
Answer: Send an email or call to set up a time to talk to the instructor. This is a very important time for you to get to know a little about the program. You will learn that you get to try it for a while for free and you do not need a uniform to get started. If you like it, you can pay your first month's tuition, get your uniform, and get started. Its that simple. There are no contracts, no application fees, and no membership fees. Membership is automatic. Only certified black belt members pay a nominal annual fee to our International Association.
Question: I already have a rank in a different style. Can I wear that belt in your school?
Answer: It depends. If I have an MBA does that mean I can go perform open heart surgery? Of course not. You might say that martial arts are not so different. I am telling you they are. Cross-grading is done, but it is done on a case by case basis. Our rank is based on a curriculum. Either you know it or you don't. Your rank reflects that. After doing Japanese swordsmanship for 15 years, I went to Japan. I had to start over. It was the best thing I ever did.
Question: How old must one be to get a black belt? How long does it take?
Answer: Children do not have the maturity level to be a black belt. Again, "Junior black belts" is a marketing scheme...there really is no such thing. In our dojo, all black belts have to know the same material. Probationary black belts are issued at a minimum age of 13 and a minimum training time of 4-5 years. The black belt actually means nothing in the grand scheme of things. It simply means you know the basics. The Japanese term for a 1st degree black belt is "Shodan," and simply means "first level." It's the Western world that has placed the allure of the BLACK BELT on an over-inflated level of accomplishment.
Question: What equipment will I need to start?
Answer: A white karate gi (uniform) is all you need to start. Over time, as you gain more experience, you will need sparring gear. If you begin the study of weaponry, you will need to purchase the requisite weapons. If you take up the study of Iaido, or Japanese Swordsmanship, you will need at least a wooden practice sword and the proper uniform. Your Sensei will advise you on what you need as you go so don't worry!
Question: When do I test?
Answer: Our students test when they are ready. There is never any pressure to test. You need to be in your current rank for at least 4 months before you can test. There is a belt testing fee which includes the belt and certificate.
If your question is not answered here, don't hesitate to call us or send us an email.