Frequently Asked Questions
I’m a beginner – are there special classes for me?
Yes indeed. As a beginning student, you’ll have your own special classes as part of our Fundamentals course. You’ll be introduced to the fundamentals of karate, while you also learn some of the basics of being a martial arts student. These are strictly “no-contact” classes – no-one is going to be punching or kicking you.
Am I allowed to watch my child in class?
Not just allowed, but positively encouraged. We have a viewing area set aside where you can sit and view your child’s class in comfort. Your positive involvement in your child’s study of karate is more important than you may realize. When you take an interest in karate class, you show your child that you truly value his or her efforts. By watching class, you give your child support, approval, and recognition for their achievements in karate – you give them the encouragement they need to thrive. So, while you’re not required to watch every minute of every class, please do stay and watch your child whenever possible.
How often should I attend classes?
If you’re one of our Karate Tigers, (ages 4&5), please attend at least 1 class a week. If you’re a student in our Fundamentals courses, please attend class at least 2 times a week. You’re always welcome to come to class more often during the week if you are able.
Will I have to compete at Karate Tournaments?
No, you’re not going to be required to compete at karate tournaments. Sport competition in karate simply isn’t a good fit for everyone, and you’re not going to be pushed into it. That said, if you are interested in competition, we do work together with other reputable local and regional schools to make quality tournaments available to our students. Sport competition in karate can be interesting, rewarding, and fun – while expanding and enriching your experience of the art.
What is the relationship between Karate and Taekwondo?
The art of Karate as we know it today originated on the island of Okinawa, largest of the Ryukyus, where it was called just “Te“, which means “Hand”. When Okinawan teachers emigrated to the home islands of Japan in the early 20th century, the term “Karate” had begun to be more generally used.
At this point, confusion about the literal meaning of the word “Karate” first arose — the term was used in speech, but it hadn’t been written down. Funakoshi Gichin and his students took it to mean “Empty Hand” — an art in which the human body itself was the only weapon used. Many other Okinawan teachers held that this understanding was incorrect, and that “Chinese Hand” was the proper meaning. This referred to the oral traditions that, in the distant past, the fundamentals of “Te” had originally been learnt from teachers in China. Both of these terms were pronounced in exactly the same way, but were written using different kanji characters.
During the 1930’s and 1940’s, Korean students living in Japan learned the art of Karate there, and brought it back home to Korea with them. In Korean, they called the art “Kong Soo Do” (“Empty Hand”), or “Tang Soo Do” (“Chinese Hand”), reflecting the existing confusion in the Japanese terminology.
Over the ensuing years, as the Koreans infused their own martial traditions into the art, they coined a new, Korean name: “Taekwondo” (“Foot Fist Way”). In part, this was an effort to resolve the existing confusion, and in part it evoked a link to the traditional Korean art of Taekkyeon. Originally proposed in April 1955, the new term “Taekwondo” was itself contentious, and took many years to gain recognition and much acceptance.
When the first Korean martial arts instructors began emigrating to the U.S. in the 1950’s and 1960’s, far from being accepted, the new term “Taekwondo” was still largely unknown. These Korean instructors used a mixture of Korean and Japanese language terms, depending on which communicated their meaning more clearly for their students. (Many educated Koreans during this period had a good working knowledge of Japanese, due to the occupation of Korea by Japan from 1905 through 1945.) Often, these first Korean instructors, and their American students, would describe their art as “Korean Karate”.
From the 1970’s onward, the term “Taekwondo” gradually became better known, and more widely accepted in the Korean martial arts community in the U.S. Some Korean martial arts — Hapkido, for example — chose not to adopt the term. The new term “Taekwondo” was often used alongside the older term “Karate”, instead of replacing it — a practice which continues to this day.