How old does my child have to be to start karate?
How many times a week do you recommend the students train?
What is the student/teacher ratio?
Do you mix children and adults together?
If a student wishes to train in sparring or take up traditional weapons, does it cost extra?
Do you cancel your regular classes when you have a belt exam (belt grading or promotion), tournament prep-classes, or special seminars?
Do you charge for belt grading?
Do the children receive a solid Black Belt?
Do you have discounts for additional family members?
How do you train adults that have very busy schedules?
Do I need to be in shape to start karate?
I’m 40, 50, or 65 years old. Am I too old to begin martial arts training?
How do the students progress or change belts?
Are students required to compete in tournaments in order to get promoted?
What traditional weapons can students learn?
What type of martial arts do you teach and what is the difference between Karate, Tae Kwon-Do, Kenpo, Kung Fu, etc…?
Q. How old does my child have to be to start karate?
A. At our school, we have many children as young as 3 years old.
Q. How many times a week do you recommend the students train?
A. We recommend 2 classes per week minimum, but students can come to as many classes as they would like per week.
Q. What is the student/teacher ratio?
A. Class sizes can vary, but there are 3-7 Black Belt instructors for every class. The classes are broken down by belt level, and the students are always well taken care of.
Q. Do you mix children and adults together?
A. No. Children have totally different needs than the adults, and for that reason, we have a different curriculum for the children and adults. Just for fun, one week per month, we let the children bring parents and friends to class with them.
Q. If a student wishes to train in sparring or take up traditional weapons, does it cost extra?
A. No. There are no extra charges for these classes, just the purchase of the equipment, which we have here at the Western New York Karate Center.
Q. Do you cancel your regular classes when you have a belt exam (belt grading or promotion), tournament prep-classes, or special seminars?
A. Classes are NEVER canceled for belt grading. All belt exams are conducted on Saturday afternoons, after all the classes have been completed for the week. The same holds true for other special classes or seminars.
Q. Do you charge for belt grading?
A. There are no additional charges for stripes (or tips) on the belt, just for the actual belt. Each belt grading is $40.00. This covers the time, belt, and certificate signed by the Master Instructor and the Senseis.
Q. Do the children receive a solid Black Belt?
A. At our school, a solid Black Belt represents an adult Black Belt. The children receive a junior Black Belt, and they then work on different junior Black Belt levels so that eventually they can start attending the adult classes. These classes are much more serious and demanding and need to be taken in order to earn the coveted adult Black Belt.
Q. Do you have discounts for additional family members?
A. Yes. We do not have 3 or 5 year Black Belt programs; we have 6 month and 12 month programs. You make a commitment for one of these programs and then at renewal, you can renew for 6 or 12 months. You do not have to pay for the entire amount immediately, but should you choose to, you will receive a discount.
For the first family member, after a minimum down payment, tuition is approximately $100.00 per month. Any additional family members are 25% off after the first member joins.
Q. How do you train adults who have very busy schedules?
A. We have day and evening classes, Monday through Saturday. The classes are 45 minutes long and the schedule is very flexible. There are over 60 classes per week.
Q. Do I need to be in shape to start karate?
A. Not at all. That’s why we have adult beginner classes. The beauty of the martial arts is that you go at your own pace. The only person you are competing against is yourself. Some adults come in twice a week, others three times or more. Remember, we were all beginners (White Belts) at one time. “A Black Belt is a White Belt who didn’t quit. A Master is a Black Belt who didn’t quit.”
A. Not at all. The style of karate that we teach is Isshin-Ryu. You can start lessons at any time and do it for the rest of your life. Our oldest students are in their 70s!
Q. How do the students progress or change belts?
A. Most schools have 8, 10, or 12 steps to attain the Black Belt. Our school has 10 steps, including the White and Black Belts. On average, the student should change belts every three months. For the advanced students, it may take a bit longer. Normally it takes three and a half to five years to achieve a Black Belt status. As soon as you join the Western New York Karate Center, you will receive an age-appropriate curriculum that will show you all of the requirements necessary from the White Belt to the Masters level 5th degree Black Belt.
A. Sparring is the sport part of karate, also called Kumite. Sparring has rules. Students must wear safety equipment on their hands, feet, and head. There are certain targets that they tag to get score points on their partner. It’s safe and a lot of fun. It’s a combination between the game of tag and chess. Children do not start sparring until Green Belt or about a year into their training. Adults begin at Yellow belt. Just like gym class at school, sparring is a fun part of the Martial Arts. The techniques are executed lightly and at close range. There is no hard or full contact. This is one of the many areas where true sportsmanship and respect are learned and shown to your classmates.
Q. Are students required to compete in tournaments in order to get promoted?
A. No. We do have many students who compete in tournaments, though. Children as well as adults can compete in forms (kata,) sparring (kumite,) traditional weapons, self-defense routines, musical creative patterns, etc. Tournaments have age and belt appropriate divisions that students can compete in. We always post or announce the tournaments that are coming up in the Western New York area. Usually we hold tournament prep classes for students at no charge.
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Q. What traditional weapons can students learn?
A. The weapons in our style were originally farming tools that the Okinawan people used in their daily lives. Students can start learning the weapons (tools) at any belt level, but training is not a required to get the adult Black Belt. The weapons are for 2nd degree Black Belt and beyond. There is no charge for the classes, just for the equipment. We practice with these tools for the art, the tradition, and for tournament competition or demonstration. Usually the students start with the Bo (wooden staff) and progress to the other weapons later. There are many traditional weapons, but the Okinawans mostly used five: bo, sai, nunchaku, tonfa and kama.
Q. What type of martial arts do you teach and what is the difference between Karate, Tae Kwon-Do, Kenpo, Kung Fu, etc…?
A. Our primary style is Isshin-Ryu which means “One Heart Way.” Around that style we incorporate concepts from Kenpo Karate, Tae Kwon-Do, Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Arnis, Aikido, and Shotokan Karate. There are literally hundreds of different styles and systems.
Isshin-Ryu Karate (Okinawan) – “One Heart Way.” This is the main style, the nucleus, at the Western New York Karate Center.
It is a blend of Shorin-Ryu and Goju-Ryu. It’s a perfect blend of soft and hard, linear and circular movements. Unlike some systems that have 70% – 80% kicking or 90% use of hands, Isshin-Ryu is balanced between hands and feet. Our stances are natural, upright and realistic. In this style, the limbs are never fully extended. When we kick and punch, we extend to only 95-97% extension, never 100% on the knees and elbows. The joints never take a beating. You never have to worry about arthritis or bursitis in your joints. That is why you can be 5, 15 or 50 years of age-start this style and pursuit this for the rest of your life. Our punch is very natural, straight up and down (just like shaking hands) with the thumb on top of the fist. Putting the thumb on top raises cords on the wrist, which makes it more stable. The thumb on top also adds speed to the techniques and helps prevent the thumb from catching on the opponents clothing. The Isshin-Ryu fist enables the bones of the hand, wrist, and forearm to line up in a perfectly straight geometry when striking.
Many styles use the ulna or the radius (the bones of the forearm) for their blocks. This is used in their defensive movements. We do not use the bones for blocks. Between the two bones on the outside of the forearm is muscle. We use these muscles for the defense movements. Bones can break and take a long time to heal. Developing and using muscle is more beneficial than using bones because it prevents undue stress on the joints.
Our style offers an extensive variety of self-defense techniques. We teach hands on, realistic self-defense. It may vary from single techniques such as defending against punches, kicks, grabs, chokes, and locks to ground self-defense, defense against sticks and knives; joint lock techniques, controlling techniques, take downs, sweeps, and multiple attackers. We practice circle of self-defense, standing, sitting, advanced ground self-defense, front, side and back defense plus much, much more. This is geared toward the junior or adult Black Belt. In Okinawa, they call Isshin-Ryu the “Masters Style of Karate.” The system is practical, direct, realistic, and efficient: perfectly balanced, all the way around.
- Goju-ryu Karate (Okinawan) – Go/Ju – “hard/soft.” It’s a very dynamic yet powerful style not only in self-defense but also making your body healthy and strong. This style affects students on the outside and the inside because of its dynamic tension breathing found in its form. Linear in form.
- Shorin-Ryu Karate (Okinawan) – “pine tree or pine forest.” Linear and circular movements. Relies on quick and fast techniques.
- Shotokan Karate (Japanese) – Okinawan roots of Goju-ryu and Shorin-Ryu.
- Tae Kwon-Do (Korean) – “hand/foot way.” Linear in nature and about 75% (or more) kicking.
- Jiu-Jitsu (Japanese) – joint lock techniques. Controlling your opponent.nt without kicking and punching.
- Judo (Japanese) – mostly throwing, sweeping, and take down techniques.
- Arnis/Kali/Escrima (Filipino) – stick, knife, and empty hand self-defense.
- American Kenpo (Japanese/Chinese roots) – “law of the fist.” Circular and linear movements. There are over 550 self-defense techniques. Scientific art of self-defense. Based on the laws of nature (physics).
- Kung-Fu (Chinese) – circular in nature, based on the movements of animals.