It is suggested that newcomers to Shotokan Karate check these frequently asked questions to gain further insight into Foothill Shotokan and to help you decide if this dojo is a fit for you. If you don’t find an answer to your specific question, contact us or come to practice and observe or participate on a trial basis.
I have medical issues and may not be able to train for a full hour and a half. I sincerely want to try karate but I’m not sure if I can “keep up”.
In SKA, you compete with yourself, not with the rest of the class. Each participant brings his own motivation and expectations. Traditionally, karate masters never made suggestions to trainees. If asked a question, they would answer but the responsibility of improvement was on the participant. At Foothill Shotokan, we do make suggestions and guide newcomers, but also stress safe training. So even with physical limitations, every participant is able to do karate and develop to their full potential.
I have checked around and the cost to train at your sessions is so much cheaper than I have found anywhere else. I am worried that the lower cost may indicate lower quality.
You will find that the instructors at Foothill Shotokan are highly trained and proficient, with decades of experience. But they provide this instruction without pay. This, in combination with using Auburn Recreation Department facilities, the overhead is low and the cost saving is passed on to the participants. If you come consistently to practice sessions with dedication and openness, you will learn traditional karate in its truest form.
I notice that you have three levels; white, brown and black. Other dojos have a rainbow of colors. Why?
Americans typically require frequent “rewards” to keep them motivated. SKA is a traditional method of karate and retains the original methodology of training. This means that participants need to be self-motivated and willing to work hard without the lure of colorful belts.
I want to do something physical that will also help me learn some defensive moves. Is this style more meditative?
Participants will get as much out of practice sessions as they put into them. If you want a physical workout, Foothill Shotokan will provide it. It is not unusual for a gi to be soaking wet by the end of a practice session if you work hard. Karate will enable you to develop awareness as well as defensive and offensive moves. Many participants come for physical conditioning, others to learn to defend themselves. Ultimately, you will find layers of mental, physical and spiritual benefits from the practice of karate.
Does your dojo compete with other dojos in tournaments?
Typically, Shotokan karate does not compete in tournaments. SKA focuses on the practice of skills and katas. We use sparring as a way of learning from others, not to win medals or awards.
What is “special training”?
Participants who become members of the national SKA association are eligible to attend SKA functions around the world. Special training is an intense 4 day training open to all SKA members. Serious karate students are urged to participate in this practice where they will test their capabilities and limits under the guidance of the top belts in the association. Testing for senior belts is done at the end of special trainings.