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 We would like to answer any questions you may have. This section will be divided into two parts. First, questions about Karate generally and second, about Fushin Ryu specifically. If there is a something you would like to ask that isn't mentioned here please send an email or feel free to phone us.

So many martial arts to choose from, why should I learn karate?

Karate trains the mind as well as the body, resulting in improved self-awareness, discipline, confidence and will power. It is an excellent way to enhance strength, coordination, stamina, balance and flexibility. Regular exercise can improve both the quality and longevity of your life and that it makes people feel happier and more alert.There is also evidence that exercise can help cognitive brain function. Everything that you do in your life becomes a bit easier because of your karate practise. Not only will you become more confident and able to you can defend yourself, your confidence and ability to handle life's problems will grow. Karate training results in one feeling less conflict within, as a result of increased "Inner harmony" and "Inner strength".


What do I have to do to join?

All you have to do is come to any of our classes and try it out for a casual fee of $10.

If you decide you like it, you can then fill out an application form, pay the term's tuition fees (your $10 casual fee will be deducted) and annual registration. If you're shopping around for martial arts schools, you're welcome to come and observe the class and talk to the instructors after the class has finished.


What should I wear? - Do I need to buy a uniform?

Beginners are not required to wear uniforms (called "dogi") to join the class. Any kind of light clothing that you can stretch and move easily in is fine for your first few lessons. However, there is a karate saying “One’s training does not really commence until you are wearing a dogi”. And of course, a dogi will definitely be necessary when you wish to undertake a grading. Although new students have the option of purchasing uniforms immediately if they wish we prefer that it is "earned" Karate is not only for in the dojo and good manners and helpfullness should be practiced at home. Once students start making an effort at home (without being asked)  then they would be considered to have "earned" their uniform.



Do I need previous martial arts experience?

No, most of our new members have no previous experience. If you have experience in karate or some other martial art, of course you're also welcome.


How often should I practice?

In general, the more you train the faster you'll learn. Two times a week is a reasonable target for beginners to aspire to.

You should establish a regular and consistent training schedule in order to learn techniques efficiently  It is important that beginners do not expect instant results! Karate takes patience and perseverance – it takes years to become proficient no matter how often you train. You must also balance training with your life. Don't neglect other things due to excessive training.


How old should a child be before starting karate?

This depends on the child's maturity and attention span, which can vary widely among individuals. For most children, age 5 should be considered as an average starting age although we have had many children as young as 4 who have handled the classes very well.


How long are the classes?

This can vary from dojo to dojo and whether it is a children's or adults class. Generally classes are 1 hr 15 to 1hr 30min long for the younger ones and 2hrs for Senior or specialized classes.


Isn't  1hr 30 too long for children?

It can feel that way at the beginning for some. The reality is that most children could easily spend two or three times that amount of time watching tv, playing video games or on facebook. We aim to increase students attention span and ability to co ordinate the body and mind. 





Can older adults practice karate?

We have students of all ages in our club. Karate can be practiced at any age as long as a person is relatively healthy. Older people may not be as strong, fast or flexible as someone in their 20's (but not in all cases), but they can still practice karate at their own pace and derive great physical and emotional benefit from it. It is not uncommon to have students in their 50’s and 60’s training, we have had students in their 70’s start training with Fushin Ryu. Our head instructor Sugihara Kenpu sensei is still teaching at 89years old.


How coordinated and physically fit do I have to be to practice karate?

A lot of our students come to karate in order to become more coordinated and physically fit so the brief answer is, "no”. You can still practice karate and by doing so, your coordination and fitness will greatly improve.


Will I get hurt practicing karate?

Karate training can be very rigorous. Bumps, bruises and sore muscles are not uncommon.

Serious injuries however are extremely uncommon because karate emphasizes both physical and mental control as well as respect for your training partner. No excessive hard contact is allowed during our sparring exercises or during competitions. The result is that karate practice is considerably safer than many other popular sports such as basketball, soccer or rugby.


How long must I train before I can defend myself?

The ability to defend oneself from attack is dependent on many factors. Certainly, the longer you train, the more able you will become. The probability of success is relative to the strength and ability of the defender versus that of the attacker(s). It is important to realize; however, that there are no guarantees! It is possible for a beginner to get lucky or an advanced karate person to be caught during an inattentive moment. This uncertainty is one of the practical reasons why strategies that reduce the chance of conflict are as important to self-defence as physical prowess. Beyond all that, a beginner should think on the order of years (as opposed to weeks or months) before he/she begins to be proficient at karate. Herein lies the danger of the many "self defence courses" that typically run from 6 to 8 weeks. They can be a great introduction but nothing of great lasting value comes easily or quickly. The most important thing a short course can teach you about self-defence is how vulnerable you really are if attacked and that you should be extremely cautious about dangerous environments.


How effective is karate REALLY?

This depends on the commitment and ability of the individual karate student. The most adept karate experts, who train constantly and have devoted their lives to mastering the art, are certainly able to defeat multiple, variously armed attackers under most circumstances.

The key to this is highly developed timing, reflexes, and accuracy as well as developing sufficient power to disable an attacker with a single exchange. The average karate student with only a few years of experience may not be able to do the all the things you see on TV, but even so, what they have learned could nonetheless save them in a self-defence situation.


When do we get to free spar?

Basic technique and kata and then basic sparring is emphasized during the first year or so of practice. Blocking and movement exercises are also taught which will help students towards free sparring.

Free sparring becomes more important for more advanced students.

The main reason for this is that good basic technique is a prerequisite to effective free sparring and too much emphasis on only free sparring tends to create bad habits in basic technique.


Will I have to compete in tournaments?

Only if you want too.  You will be encouraged to try a minor tournament or two when we consider you are ready for it. We participate in a number of regular competitions as a supplemental form of training and a means to test both physical and mental skills.

Competition is stressed as an important, but optional, training opportunity.

Tournament prowess is not a major goal in traditional karate. More important is the development of body, mind and a non-violent philosophy.


What do I call the teacher?

Instructors are addressed as "Sensei". It means "teacher" and is literally translated as "before birth" which infers that the instructor is someone older than you. In this case we are speaking of "karate age". In other words, an instructor is someone who has more karate experience than you. "Sempai" ("senior") is another term of respect that is often used when addressing someone who is not an instructor, but is senior to you in karate experience.


Why do we bow?

Bowing is a gesture of kindness and respect for another person. Common among Eastern cultures, we have no real equivalent here in the West. Bowing is both a greeting and an acknowledgement of another person's worth. Karate students embracea philosophy that all people are worthy of respect. Learning to respect others isparamount to correct understanding of martial arts. Making a habit of putting other people before oneself must offset great physical and mental power, otherwise karate students might easily become bullies. So as we gain strength with potential to harm others, we also endeavour to become more understanding and respectful of other people.


What are the belts (ranks) in karate and how long does it take to reach them?

When you first start training in karate you will wear a white belt (obi), which in our

system is not ranked. The coloured belts in karate are the "kyu" ranks. These could

be likened to being an apprentice. Starting at 10th kyu and numbering downwards, so

that the highest kyu grade is 1st kyu, these are the opposite of the “dan” grade, which

number from 1st dan up to 10th dan. Just before the 1st dan is a “shodan ho” grade

(probationary 1st dan) When your instructor considers that you are ready, you will be

asked to sit a grading for the next belt. For the first two or three grades 3 months

continuous training between grades is the minimum time requirement and thereafter

six months continuous training between grades must be observed. Once again this a

minimum requirement no matter how good the student (or parents) thinks that they are.

Good attitude and etiquette as well as technical prowess are necessary to sit a grading.

Six months after students attain 1st kyu, they may then start testing for "dan" (black

belt) ranks. Students who train regularly typically require about 5 years to reach the

first level (Shodan) of black belt. However, this will be longer for children,

depending on what age they are when they start, as 16 years of age is the minimum

for Shodan. Once again, we have had one or two students who have performed

exceptionally and gained their black belt at the age of 15. Each succeeding black belt

level requires increasingly more time to attain. For example, it generally takes at least

2 years to go from Shodan (1st dan) to Nidan (2nd dan), at least 3 years between

Nidan and Sandan (3rd dan), and at least 4 years between Sandan and Yondan (4th

dan). There are also minimum age requirements for the dan grades.

How does Fushin Ryu karate differ from other karate styles?

All martial arts have their specialties and unique character. Fushin Ryu is a

traditional Japanese karate style that specializes in punching, striking, kicking and

blocking techniques. However, we also practise sweeping, throwing, grappling and

joint-locking techniques, as well as pressure points. Weapon training is also available

after a good grounding in karate technique has been attained.


What's the advantage of membership to the National Karate Federation?

The Fushin Ryu Karate Association is an international association in its own right. Many of our instructors and students have been involved in international competitions.


Exacting standards of technique and rank are the same in our club as they are in Japan. Instructors are nationally and internationally certified and regularly participate in instructor training courses and seminars to better their teaching skills. Fushin Ryu is a member of the New Zealand National Karate Body, Karate New Zealand (KNZ). This provides an opportunity for our members to represent their dojo in regional and national competitions and even to represent New Zealand internationally. Regional, National and International refereeing and coaching qualifications can also be attained.


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PHONE: (09) 476 2476 - ADDRESS: 539 East Coast Bays Rd, Browns Bay, New Zealand