Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
by Allen Yuen, Sensei

Who can learn ?

Karate is for the whole family, so everyone can learn: male or female, young or old, strong or weak, large or small. The recommended minimum starting age for children in our regular classes is seven years old.

Why do I need to learn?

Everyone needs to learn self-defence! Violence in our society is a reality that should not be ignored. It is in our homes, in our schools, playgrounds and sports fields, at our work place, on our streets; it can be around the next corner wherever you may go. Control of crime and violence and our own personal safety is too important to be just left to the limited resources of our Police and security services. Learning how to avoid being attacked and what to do in such an event is a very practical move towards the future safety of you and your family.

Do you have to be physically fit to start?

No. You only train at a pace that best suits your own level of fitness. You focus more on improving your own ability rather than competing against other members of the class. This is one of the reasons why training is more enjoyable, safer and easier to learn and improve.
If you have any health problems or any concerns about physical limitations or fitness, then you should consult with your physician before you join or participate in ANY physical activity.

I have never done any Martial arts before, do you have beginners classes?

Yes, beginners are most welcome in all our regular classes, which are very easy to follow provided you go at your own pace. Most beginners, without any previous training, are able to do more than 90% of the class straight away. All you need to start is wear clothes that you feel comfortable exercising and stretching in, then go to the class about 15 minutes early and introduce yourself to the Instructor. Feel free to ask the Instructor any questions you may have and please inform him if you have any physical limitations. You can also just go and watch a class but if you really want to know what the training is like then you need to join in.

Is it a safe activity for my child and can the classes be at all dangerous?

There are always inherent dangers in learning how to do any physical activity. Minor injuries, such as bumps and bruises can be very common when learning martial arts and with children there is no exception. In fact this is often viewed as just part of the learning process and can actually help in the physical and physiological strengthening of the child. Because the techniques are all well controlled and the training is very disciplined and well supervised the risk of serious injuries are rare and considerably less than with other popular sports. In terms of personal safety there is of course much more of a danger if your child does not learn martial arts.

Who is the Instructor?

Only highly qualified and well-trained Instructors are selected and officially appointed by Chief Instructor Shigeru Ishino the President of the Shorinjiryu Genbukan Karatedo Federation. Feel free to ask to see your Instructor’s Black Belt certificate or contact the hombu dojo to check. With a certified Instructor, you can be sure great professional care will be taken with your tuition and training. Additionally each instructor must submit an application for a criminal background check with Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) Criminal Record Check. CPIC is operated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) under the stewardship of National Police Services, on behalf of the Canadian law enforcement community.

How much does it cost to join your classes?

Lessons generally cost less than an average exercise class and is cheaper than most popular sports, because you can train without buying any expensive equipment. Some clubs offer monthly rates and family discounts as well depending on whether the dojo is in a private or public facility. There are no lock-in long term contracts, just pay for monthly or in some public facilities, such as Artillery Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre, for the length of the registered program (usually offered as 8 week programs) .
Ask your local Instructor for all the information on fees.

What different coloured belts do you have and how many grades up to Black Belt?

There are 10 grades to Black Belt in our club/dojo as follows: 10th Grade White Belt, 9th Grade White Belt with Yellow stripe, 8th Grade Yellow Belt, 7th Grade Yellow Belt with Orange stripe, 6th Grade Orange Belt, 5th Grade Orange Belt with Green stripe, 4th Grade Green Belt, 3rd Grade Green Belt with Brown stripe, 2nd Grade Brown Belt, 1st Grade Brown Belt with Black stripe, then 1st Degree Black Black Belt.

Do you teach martial arts weapons such as the Bo, Sai etc. ?

We do teach traditional martial arts weapons at the higher rank grade levels.
For self-defence training it is only against more commonly used weapons such as a knife or stick attack.
Also note that carrying any weapon, even for self-defence purposes, can not only be both inconvenient and dangerous but it is also illegal.

Do you teach Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) ?

What we teach is not like what you see on TV or Pay-per-view.
The techniques of MMA are typically from Western Boxing, Jiu-jitsu/Judo, Wrestling and Thai kick-boxing. Shorinjiryu Karate has elements of these,but we are not training people to fight professionally like in the UFC Octagon. There are some specialty gyms in your city if that is what you are seeking.
Someone wrote an article in the Ottawa newspaper, just after the Ontario Government declared MMA to be a legal sport in Ontario (Aug 2010). The writer suggested that it should not be called mixed martial arts (MMA) but rather mixed fighting arts. The jist of his article was that there is a different mind-set between MMA and Martial Arts.


Q & As


Can anyone learn Karate/Martial Arts?

Yes – anyone who can walk or engage in regular physical workout can learn karate. It is open to everyone regardless of race, age, sex, or religious affiliation. It is never too late to begin practice. There is no limit in the learning and mastery of karate techniques. You do not have to be a gifted athlete to learn Karate/Martial Arts. The more one practices, the more he or she will improve and each day he/she will be better than the one who has never started. To progress in karate, repetition and determination are the MOST IMPORTANT tools you will need.

How many classes per week are there?

Currently we train once per week on Wednesday at 6:00 pm to 7:00pm. It is encouraged that students also practice at home.

What is being taught?

Structured classes provide safe purposeful challenges and include:.
general physical conditioning, basic techniques (kihon), forms (kata), pre-arranged sparring (kumite), sports competition sparring (shiai) and self defense.

Is the training safe?

There is always the chance of an injury in any type of sport. To minimize injury a thorough warm up period is alloted. Martial Arts in general are considered to be High Risk sports because of the physical contact involved, however safety gear and practice equipment are provided to minimize the risk of injuries.

Is Karate/Martial Arts Fun!

Not only do you benefit from learning the techniques and routines that karate provides, you do it with other people that share a common interest. Any extra curricular activity you involve yourself with should be a release from the stress or anxiety that is built up in our daily routines. People involved in karate can established friendships for life.

Will Martial Arts training make me more aggressive?

The emphasis of all Martial Arts training is that it is for self protection only. Stress relief and physical fitness are benefits of mind and body development that in the end leads to other positive attributes. The individual will be more confident, self disciplined along with improved concentration, coordination, strong moral values and good character.