Benefits for Families
Karate is an ideal activity for families because ZOKU allows people of all ages to train together in the same class. Parents may train alongside their children, while brothers and sisters of all ages may also train in the same class.
It’s been said that families who 'play together, stay together'. This is because sharing an activity keeps families closer in the following ways:
It offers the family a common interest, always giving them something to talk and laugh about.
While a hierarchy exists at home, in the dojo all family members are equal, this allows parents to establish a relationship as friends with their children.
Training in karate allows families to set goals together, and work as a team for their achievement.
Benefits for Children
Not only will children be getting regular exercise, but it helps develop grace, co-ordination, balance and timing along with benefiting hyperactive children and raising energy levels in lethargic children.
Because of the Japanese style of karate, children can learn discipline, courtesy and sensitivity through training.
It is known that some children leave karate because they think they have failed to be good and so leave karate in frustration, but they should actually think that this failure is necessary for success - and the opportunity for improvement.
Overall, children learn to develop strong spirits for facing the harsh realities of life.
Benefits for Adolescents / teenagers
Teenagers have a rough time with exams, school and peer pressure. It is important for them to have cooling off periods, especially if they are revising hard for exams. Taking just one hour out per week from studying, helps them to calm down, get some fresh air and refresh their minds, before going back to their paperwork again. This has been proven to help attitude and stop depression/anxiety, compared to those who study every free hour of the day!
Between the ages of 11 and 15 teenagers go through big growth spurts. This can cause rapid increase in clumsiness, lack of co-ordination and lack of leg control. The teenagers bones are growing at a quicker rate than the muscles and therefore have trouble controlling their legs (especially in kicks). They may get pains in their knees and shins and can also get cramps due to cooling down too quickly. Karate will help with muscle tone and getting power and control back into their legs. The child needs to double the amount of warmups they do and not use any weights to increase their muscles (this can be dangerous). There may be about 5 weeks of really bad' daddy long legs' feeling and falling about, but it will then suddenly pick up again.
Benefits for Young Adults
Between the ages of 18-40 years old, this is the time people develop their careers, start families and lifestyles are established, so it is important for this group of people to get as much exercise as possible to have a healthier life later on. Regular training in karate promotes the good health and sound mental attitude necessary for a long and pleasant life.
Benefits for People Over 40
Over 40 years of age, the body starts to deteriorate, so karate serves to improve and maintain good circulation, clear complexion and proper functioning of the nervous system.
The body is purified by the sweat of training, however karate is hard work and so people give up because it's not what they had expected.
People knowing about real dangers can make them grow stronger, with less susceptibility to disease and greater powers of recovery. Today men and women need stimulation that comes from experiencing a small amount of danger and receiving minor injuries.
As a beginner
Arriving at your first lesson
Most new students phone up, email or visit the club before they start their first lesson. This way we can answer any questions and make sure there will be a space ready for them.
On the first lesson, we ask for you to turn up 10 mins before the lesson, so that a medical and consent form can be filled out. Your payment also needs to be paid at this point, which covers you for 4 consecutive weeks (4 lessons in a row with no gap). These 4 trial lessons allow you to see if you like us and for instructors to see if it is appropriate for you.
All new students are asked to pay a months trial fee (you can't decide if you like it from 1 lesson). Then when it comes to the 4th week, depending on how your trial went, you may be asked if you wish to stay, via a letter. You are asked to take approx 2 days to make a decision before letting us know.
If you decide that karate is not for you, you have no obligation to stay.
If you decide that you wish to continue, then a one off membership will need to be paid. This membership package includes a karate suit, white belt, A years licence, zoku suit badge, syllabus book, attendance cards and 1 whole month of training.
What you should wear
We normally suggest that people wear jogging trousers and a tshirt (you can get very warm, with jumping about). All students train in bare feet. No jewellery should be worn and hair must be tied back if it's long.
What happens in the trial lessons
A typical lesson is what you can expect to do in most karate classes. There is a thing called the 3 K's (Kata, Kumite and Kihon) which ideally should be covered in a lesson for everyone above blue belt. However, there are odd weeks where the lessons are completely different. Classes for beginners generally follow this outline:
1) Stretching and warm-up exercises.
2) A kneeling bow to begin the class.
3) Explanation as to what will be covered in the lesson
4) Basics training including blocks, strikes, stances, kicks and punches - probably being the longest part of the class for beginners
5) Pad work. Kicking or punching on a focus pad to get correct technique and control of power.
6) Terminology. Learning a small part of the Japanese eg counting to 5
7) self defence
8) Question session where new students can ask any questions
9) Warm down and stretching.
10) Bow out to finish
Other Things during a class as a higher grade:
Stamina, power, cardio-vascular, flexibility training
Bunkai training (meaning and kata breakdown)
Terminology training (Japanese)
Awareness & movement training
Fun lessons (Memory, trust, imagination)
Freestyle & Sparring
Used to do Karate with us
Belonged to us before? Want to start training again?
Students leave ZOKU for many reasons and many decide to return at some point in their life. Reasons students leave vary, but the general reasons are:
Education or Work commitments
Too young or immature and will return in a year or 2 years time
Family, partners and having children
All returning students are very much welcome to return but are required to phone, email or come and see us beforehand.
We need to make sure your licence is updated before you start training, so a form will need to be filled in. We also need you to fill in a new enrolment form, so that old information can be updated. A new badge may also need to be purchased...if you do not have a ZOKU badge!
All returning students do not have to pay membership again, as they payed lifetime membership when they started with us. Students can return at the same colour belt that they left with but may need to buy a new karate suit from us (especially if you have grown out of the old one).
Currently doing karate somewhere else or somewhere else in the past
Do you do karate already? Want to change clubs or associations?
We get quite a few karate students wishing to join our club from other associations. They wish to leave (or have already left) their old association. We will require a phonecall, email or face to face chat to discuss your needs and answer any questions that we both may have.No permission is needed from your old Instructor or association to join ZOKU. All students will need to produce their current or expired licence and certificates to confirm their grade and we will get you to fill in an enrolment form. Even if you have paid a membership package at your old club/association, you will need to pay for a Zoku membership package and also apply for a zoku licence.
.1) If you are coming from another Shotokan Karate Club then we can generally let you be the grade you already have.... but due to the colour schemes which vary greatly, the colour may need to change. Most students will just train wearing their old belt until they get upto the standard we require for that grade. In some cases, this may be 6mths to year before they are ready to grade again.
2) If you are coming from another karate style we will need to test your ability and decide if we can start you at one of our assocation colours, if not we may have to start you from beginner, as some karate styles are not at all similar.
What Martial Art?
What Sort of Martial art do I want to do?
Knowing that you want to do a martial art is the first step but what type do you want to do? There are so many martial arts providing lessons, so you need to consider what sort of things you want to learn. Here are a few most common martial arts:
Translates as 'Empty Hand'. Its uses Kicks, punches, strikes & blocks for its basic work and then sweeps, holds and locks for it more advanced work. Part of the training is on your own doing kata (forms) and some with a partner for sparring and self defence. Karate teaches you to defend yourself and to never make the first attack. Power and strength is not essential, as body movement & speed is the key factor. Great for all abilities, ages and flexibilities and there is a ranking system with different coloured belts going all the way from white to black belt. Karate is great for all round body fitness, stamina, discipline and general confidence. Karate is a Japanese martial art which only uses the hands and feet as weapons.
Translates as 'The gentle way'. This martial art comes from japan and is well known for its throwing techniques, as well as its controlling of an opponent once on the floor. Timing, speed and leverage to get an opponent off balance is vital, whilst using the least amount of physical strength necessary to overcome them. Great for all age groups and abilities. Judo has a grading system from white to black.
Translates as 'The way of the Hand & Foot'. This martial art comes from Korea and is well known for its high & spinning kicks. Taekwondo has elements such as patterns, sparring, self defence and break-tests. Although this is a martial art for all age groups, a certain amount of flexibility is needed to get the kicks head height. Taekwondo has a grading system from white to black.
Translates as 'Time & Effort' and comes from China. It is a martial art which trains the mind and body and is a way of life for the practitioner. It is about controlling the 'chi' in the body and using the opponents strength against them. Kungfu has defensive movements like the movement of various animals (eg monkey, tiger, snake etc). Kungfu uses weapons such as nunchuku, knives, staffs and swords, as well a the hands and feet for punching and kicking. Kungfu has a grading system from white sash to black sash.
Translates as 'The gentle art'. It is a Japanese martial art which relies on skill rather than strength or power. Its aim is to absorb and attack and then convert that energy back onto the attacker. It uses techniques to throw your opponent and then control them once on the floor with holds and locks. Jujitsu sometimes use small weapons for practice and it is a very beautiful martial art to watch due to its circular and flowing movements. Jujitsu has a white to black belt grading system.
Weird reasons people join a martial arts club
Most people are attracted to the martial arts because of marketing, movies, friends, driving by a neighbourhood school, children whining to become power rangers, or an interest in Asian culture for one reason or another. Here are some strange reasons that have been identified over the decades as being typical for people just starting out:
You saw an action movie and you enjoyed the excitement (want to be the next Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee?)
You would like to be able to beat up a particular person and teach them a lesson (eg another man is looking at my woman.)
You would like to fight against others in combat and defeat them without getting arrested or getting killed.
You think the movements are beautiful, and you would like to look beautiful while you perform them
You want to become a better person by following the Asian philosophy of Zen Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, or Shinto.
You saw Shogun and wish to become a Samurai, wear swords and kimono, and drink tea while looking all puffy and disciplined.
Your kids want to do karate because you let them watch Pokemon too much, and you want to spend time with them.
Proper reasons to join a martial arts group
People have all sorts of reasons for wanting to try a martial art and all (actually only some) of them are the right reasons.
When you join a club discuss with your instructor the purpose and aims of you joining. All instructors will make a note of this and will help each individual conquor their goals.
Reasons people should join a martial arts group:
Want to be able to defend myself and learn some self defence
Want my child to learn some discipline and ettiquette. Keep them on the straight and narrow
Want to make friends and join a club of like minded people
Want to get fit / healthy and gain some flexibility
Want to find a sport or club that my child will stick to
Want to find a club or activity and pastime, that isnt too expensive
We know some people who attend and they have recommended you
Want to join something that I can progress and see my achievements
Aims people wish to achieve once they have joined a martial art:
Would like to become a black belt one day (Most common answer)
I would eventually like to enter and win in a competition
I hope for it to help me become more confident and outgoing
I would like to be good at something for a change
I hope to be able to look after & defend myself & family
I would like to pass some gradings and get some new belts
i would like to become a teacher of karate myself, one day