What IS karate?
Karate is a martial art which is mainly centred around blocking and striking. It originated in the Ryu Kyu islands off the coast of the Japanese mainland, and spread to Japan in the late 19th Century, and to the West in the late 1950's. Shotokan Karate is one of the three main styles and was founded by Master Gichin Funakoshi.
Who can train?
Students from five (although some children aren’t ready at this age so may need to start later) to adults of any age. (karateka might train into their seventies and beyond!)
Do I need a karate suit?
To begin with, there is no need for a karate suit (gi.) Jogging bottoms and a T-shirt are fine. A plain white gi is necessary for competitions and gradings, and is the most appropriate attire for regular training.
The club can provide a gi at a competitive price.
How often can I grade?
Gradings can be taken every three months up until 1st Kyu brown belt (based on training twice a week.) Gradings may need to be further apart for students who train less frequently, to allow adequate progress to be made.
Kyu gradings are conducted by a KUGB grading examiner (6th Dan or higher) at a cost of around £15-20 (including a pre-grading training session.)
Do I need a licence?
YES - if you wish to continue training, a licence is necessary for insurance cover.** It gives you KUGB membership which allows you to grade and enter competitions. This also enables you to train at any of the other 300+ KUGB clubs nationwide.
There are also extra benefits for black and brown belts. A first licence costs £22-£25, renewable annually at £17-£18. (Licence cost depends on age.)
**The club's affiliation covers beginners for their first few sessions.
What is the order of the belts?
In the KUGB the order is as follows:
White - Novice
White with orange stripe - 11th kyu
half orange/half white - 10th kyu
Orange - 9th kyu
Red - 8th kyu
Yellow - 7th kyu
Green - 6th kyu
Blue - 5th kyu
Purple - 4th kyu
Brown - 3rd kyu
Brown white stripe - 2nd kyu
Brown double white stripe - 1st kyu
Black - 1st Dan and above