Frequently Asked Questions
Don't worry, we've all been there.
Hopefully anything you need to know will be answered below. These are the common questions we're asked by beginners, new starters, parents, and students moving to us from other clubs, associations and styles.
Have a read, and if you still have questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org, call Sarah on 07973 538 874, Simon on 07940 559359 or message us on the Selby Karate public Facebook page.
What is Karate?
Karate (空手 'empty hand') is an oriental system of unarmed combat using the hands and feet to deliver and block blows, widely practised as a sport. Have a look at our traditional karate page for more information.
Who will be teaching me/my kids?
Classes are taken by our experienced instructors, with the younger Ninja class often being supervised by two instructors. All our instructors are fully DBS checked, have £5m personal liability insurance, and have carried out Safeguarding training. Visit our instructors page for more details.
How much will it cost?
Once you are a member, 6-10 year olds will pay £17 per month, 11 and over £22 per month. Everyone pays £30 annually to cover JKS membership, insurance and to provide your licence and access to gradings. We offer a discounted beginner course, and discounts for family members. See more details on our training fees page.
Where will I be training?
For the most part Barlby High School, and once you have worked through your first few belts and fancy a bit of kumite/fitness work we train at Selby Leisure Centre too. Have a look at our venues page for more information.
What are 'gradings'?
Gradings are tests under examination conditions to see if you meet the required level skill and knowledge for a particular 'grade' or belt. These are relatively frequent and low key as a beginner, but become more involved as you progress. Typically we offer kids' gradings every 3 months or so, then this moves to 6 months as you work though the higher coloured belts. That said, everyone moves at a different pace, and we will never recommend you go for a test until we are confident you can succeed. Rather than a getting a lucky pass, it's a confirmation and verification of the hard work we know you have put in to that point.
How long will it take to get my Black Belt?
Only you can answer that question. Many people don't have what it takes. That said, if you train regularly, conscientiously and push yourself, there's no reason you cannot work through the coloured belts in around 4 or 5 years. Don't forget though, your coveted Black Belt does not mean you can tick karate off. As you'll discover, it's really the beginning of your journey, not the end.
Am I going to get hurt? Do I need to fight?
Karate is a martial art, and a contact sport. We often liken the progress through the grades as removing layers of bubble wrap. Our kids and new starters have many layers of protection (non-contact, very structured drills, no sparring, etc.), then over time as you gain experience and control, layers are removed. As your skill and confidence improves over time the bubble wrap is slowly removed and the likelihood of contact increases. Once you are approaching Black Belt level you are maybe down to a single sheet and should perhaps expect to take the odd knock.
Freestyle sparring is part of the Black Belt examination, but by this point you will have had years to hone your skills to take on this challenge, and had many hours of practice. This aspect of karate does not come naturally to many people, and our job as instructors (and respectful training partners) is to support you on this journey.
What if I can't train regularly or on both days?
Not a problem. You just may not progress quite as quickly as some students who are able to put more hours in. We have quite a few students who for one reason or another can only either make Mondays or Wednesdays.
Am I too old?
Absolutely not. One of the joys of karate is that there is something to be gained regardless of your age or fitness level. We all have our various limitations, and we do the best we can. SSKC has students in their 60s who train with us regularly. It's never too late to give karate a go.
Am I too young?
Possibly, yes. Typically we take kids from age 6 but it very much depends on the child. If they can focus, listen to instruction, and try hard - we're good. If they are disruptive, or consistently misbehaving they may be too young for the time being.
Do I need to be fit to start karate?
Nope. That's like saying you already need to be clever to go to school.
You WILL get fitter though, and surprisingly quickly too if you turn up regularly and train hard.
What do I need to wear for my trial period?
We're easy. Something you're comfortable in. Shorts, t-shirt, joggers, yoga leggings, etc. are fine. We train in bare feet so no footwear required (unless you need to wear them for medical reasons).
How much is all the gear?
Once you've caught the bug, you'll be looking to get a karate uniform or Dōgi (道着). We carry basic Blitz polycotton Gi in various sizes for a slight discount over what you could find them online. (Kids £15, Adults £25). Basic coloured belts (when you pass your gradings) are £3. As we've mentioned on the About the Club page, we're not looking to make a profit.
Unlike some martial arts clubs, we don't do branded training gear, and you're not obliged to buy anything from us.
Can I train with my kids?
Many of our adult students figured as they were already sat here watching their child, they may as well have a go. We have families where 3 and 4 people train together, and offer discounts to students from the same family.
What are your bank details for payment and standing orders?
Selby Shotokan Karate Club