How to choose a karate club?


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You may ask yourself how you should go about choosing a karate club. There are so many around and you don’t really know which one to pick. Which karate style should you go for? How about the instructor? Is he any good? Is he a qualified instructor? Is he CRB checked? Is the karate club insured? There are many questions you should ask yourself.

In this post I’m going to address a couple of these questions. Let’s start with which karate style you should go for. I’d say that no karate style is better than another. They’re all equally good. You may want a full contact karate style, in which case Kyokushinkai karate would be a good option. Otherwise it doesn’t really matter.

The only thing I would say is that Shotokan is the most widespread karate style. 80% of karatekas (karate practitioners) train in Shotokan which means that it would be a lot easier for you to find another club should you have to move to another town for example.

Now what about the instructor? Does his grade count? Should you pick a club with a 3rd Dan karate instructor or one with a 5th Dan karate instructor? It’s a no brainer, the higher the grade the better, right? Or is it? Now consider this, tomorrow I can decide to create my own karate organisation and as the founder of this newly born karate organisation I could award myself the grade of 8th Dan. Sounds cool, no? and nobody, absolutely nobody could stop me from doing just that… Suffice is to say that there are many Mickey Mouse karate organisations around. Let me ask you another question, would you go and see a “doctor” who “qualified” from a poorly ranked university in Sub-Saharan Africa? I guess not…

You should really ask yourself: is this 5th Dan karate instructor the real deal? Is he from a reputable karate organisation? It’s a really difficult question to answer especially if you know nothing about karate or martial arts. Here’s a handy rule of thumb when you’re wondering about a karate organisation: ask yourself how long a karate organisation has been around for? 2, 10, 30 or 60 years? The older the better. It’s that simple.

I don’t really know what you’re after, you may just want to hit a pad and throw a few kicks while listening to music (“the eye of the tiger” comes to mind). If that’s the case this is not what I’m teaching but you’ll easily find such a club in the area.

There’s nothing wrong with punching and kicking a pad while listening to music, it’s a good work out and it’s fun but it’s not karate despite what they may say. Karate should be taught to the highest standard, following tradition. Like anything Japanese, karate is about simplicity and perfection.