As a first time student come to the facility a little early if possible. Usually you have to go to the change room first to change from your street clothes into some loose fitting clothes or into your Karate uniform.
There are usually a few other people there so it is nice to chat a little before you begin the training. It is good to work out together but the personal connection you can make with others also enhances the whole experience. These are other people who are equally interested in karate, maybe for the same reasons that you have. It is good to get to know them.
In the change room you may also see folks putting on different coloured karate belts. Don’t feel embarrassed about your white belt. Hang in there. Everyone starts with a white belt. Soon enough you will ready to test and upgrade your white belt for another colour.
After you leave the change room you enter into the dojo. Some schools have a series of revered chants and bows. Do not get intimidated by some of the dojo etiquette, you will learn it all in time. We simply bow when we enter the room, then find a space out on the floor to begin some pre-practice warm ups. Some people like to make sure they get properly warmed up and stretched out, doing a few strength exercises like sit-ups or push-ups. Others may be asking questions or refreshing their memory of their last workout. The dojo experience should be a very natural and relaxed atmosphere.
Most people are physically weak or even a bit timid when they start karate. That is part of the reason that they are there. If you really want to improve myself, don’t give up. You can do it. Just keep going and practicing. Sweat!
Karate is an amazing work out for not only the body but the mind.
Keep training for a couple of years and you will see some dramatic positive changes in yourself.
At the end of the class ask questions. Instructors are here to assist and guide you through your growth and development as a karate-ka.
Be proud! You are now a member of one of the most prestigious sports in the world.
If your dojo experience is not like this, please be cautioned that some North American instructors attempt to model the style of some of the old Japanese University Karate clubs. The atmosphere in the dojo was made to feel like an extreme military camp. Intimidation will not maintain students or their interest. If that type of environment makes you feel uncomfortable you might consider looking elsewhere to train. One that is conducive to a friendly and co-operative environment.