Frequently Asked Questions

The following are common questions regarding karate. If you have a question that is not listed here, please e-mail us and we will be glad to answer the question for you.
Q. What is the difference between Karate and TaeKwonDo?
A. Karate (Empty Hand) is a Japanese/Okinawan martial art that utilizes more hand techniques.  Kicking techniques in our style of Shorin-Ryu emphasize lower kicks (ankle, knee, shin, thigh, groin, ribs) . TaeKwonDo (Way of the Hand and Foot, sometimes referred to as Korean Karate) is a Korean martial art that mostly emphasizes kicking techniques.
Q. What style of Karate do you teach?
A. We teach the traditional Okinawan style of Karate called 'Shorin-ryu'. This translates to 'The Pine Forest Way' and is a descendent of the original White Crane style of Shaolin temple boxing in China. Our school is a member of the American Karate Federation, a branch of the original Matsubyashi-Ryu style.
Q. How long will it take to master Karate?
A. A student will begin to acquire essential skills after only a few classes. It takes many years to master Karate but important lessons are learned every step of the way.
Q. How long will it take to get my Black Belt?
A. It takes an average of 2 to 4 years for an adult to attain Black Belt level and a little longer for children. You cannot achieve your Black Belt until you are a minimum 16 years old.  The Black Belt is only the beginning of your journey.
Q. Karate looks like a violent, aggressive activity. Doesn't karate training promote violence?
A. A popular myth is that Karate is violent and aggressive. This is mainly due to television and the movies. On the contrary, Karate subdues the overly aggressive, hyperactive person and draws out the more passive. Our golden rule is 'There is no first attack in karate', meaning it is for defensive purposes only.
Q. I feel as if I am too old to start Karate. Don't you have to be young and strong to begin training?
A. You can start training at any age. Everyone works at their own level. This is true no matter what belt you attain. Safety is our number one concern and if an exercise or activity gives you problems, you are not required to do it.
Q. What is the average age of students training in your dojo?
A. Our students ages range from eleven to the late forties.
Q. What are your class times and locations?
A. Please refer to the Class Times and Locations page of this web site.
Q. I notice there are 2 classes per week - do we attend both classes or only 1 class?
A. Students are encouraged to attend both classes, but the number of times you practice is up to you. The more often you train, the easier it is to learn.
Q. My son/daughter is very nervous about joining. Can parents stay and watch during class?
A. Parents are encouraged to stay and watch.
Q. Do I have to sign a contract?
A. No contracts! There is a registration form that must be filled out that states the student's name and address, telephone number, and a liability waiver. Please note there is no registration form on this web site - you must sign up at our dojo (school).
Q. Are there any religious connotations in your style of Karate?

Nagamini Osensei said "Karate and Zen are One (Ken Zen Ichinyo)".

Zen is not a religion, philosophy or system of ethics, but it enables us to reach the source of all religions, philosophies, and ethics. Zen is learning to know ourselves, to go beyond the contradictions within that ordinarily imprison us, and on to a more harmonious and natural way of being. Zen transforms our everyday lives here and now through the practice of ZAZEN meditation.

Zen has a long and complex history, going back 2,500 years to Shakyamuni Buddha in India. It has schools, traditions, ceremonies, monasteries for monks and nuns and center's for lay-people. It has sacred texts and libraries full of commentary. It figures in modern detective stories, comic strips and collections of provocative anecdotes. In the East, a whole range of activities have been transformed by Zen - architecture, gardening, calligraphy and drawing, pottery-making, tea drinking, theatre, music, the "warriors' way" of attack and defence with sword, bow & arrow and body; but any activity, including karate, can be brought to life, freed by Zen.

Q. How are your classes structured?
A. The first half of class (30-45 minutes) is for warm-up exercises, strength building (push-ups, sit-ups etc.), stretching for flexibility, and basic techniques and floor drills. The second half of class is devoted to basic and advanced Karate techniques.
Q. How many instructors are there per class?
A. On average there are 2 instructors per class.
Q. How are your belt levels structured?
A. Our belt levels are: White, Green, Brown, and Black. There are several intermediate ranks within each color of belt.
Q. Can I come in and just watch a class to see what you do?
A. Spectators are welcome anytime.
Q. What are your fees and terms?
A. We are a non-profit organization. Each student pays a nominal fee of only $10.00 per month to the city of Burlington for the use of the community center. You also will need to purchase your gi (uniform).  That is it!!
Q. When do classes begin and how do I sign up?
A. Classes are ongoing. We run our programs year-round, even through the summer. Students can sign up at any class, any time during the year. All you have to do is come down during a normal class session to register - or e-mail us first to check on this weeks class schedule.

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