• How do I know if Shotokan karate is for me?

      You have found this page because you're interested in a martial art.  Have a think about what attracted you here in the first place? Perhaps you were at a sports hall or event and saw people in funny suits and belts, moving in set forms and shouting lots... Perhaps you saw a movie and were impressed by the speed and skill in a fight scene... or maybe you just want to learn to defend yourself and get fit and more flexible... Whatever your motivation it's worthwhile doing some research on different arts to see what may fit you.  Many people start in Judo (traditional in the Japanese school system), but don't want to be thrown around or want to learn how to punch and kick too. There are more sport-orientated very new arts, such as Tae Kwon Do, that are fast and exciting but may not translate well to the street.  There are systems that deliberately incorporate weapons... the list goes on.  Karate has sprung from ancient Indian and Chinese fighting arts so there's a traditional and spiritual element. Shotokan karate we practice involves dynamic strikes and blocks that tend to allow defence and attack from a greater range of distances.  Weapons are in there, but hidden for historical reasons. You'll need to develop flexibility, strength and speed -but we can help you with that.  There are sport opportunities right up to World-level, and karate will be in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but it's not our main focus. There's also a strong emphasis on developing character.  The best idea is to wikipedia the main arts, and try a few classes in 2 or 3 that interest you. WE would be delighted to welcome you.

    • How do I know your club is any good?

      We were established in 2010, and our instructors and some students have a combined experience of decades.  Teaching is based on a strong pedigree in Shotokan karate where the coaches have learned from many senior professional Japanese and Western instructors.  Michael has trained across Japan.  The club already has a strong reputation where students and coaches have won medals at national and international-level.  We have lots of friendships with other Shotokan friends, and look to build even stronger links in the future.  When you're looking for a club, make sure of a few essential elements:

      • The instructors should be qualified to teach. Michael is an internationally qualified Instructor, Referee & Examiner. They should also hold a recognised black belt grade, awarded by a credible independent panel with rules and guidelines that are transparent.
      • Instructors should have public liability insurance at £5m liability as a minimum, but we have liability up to £10m.
      • Instructors teaching anyone under 18 should have a Police check.  Beware of old CRB certificates issued years ago. They are now called DBS (Disclosure & Baring Service) checks and should be valid within the last 3 years, checkable easily online like ours are.
      • There should be a child protection policy in place. Even if you're an adult looking to learn, it shows the club have taken their teaching seriously. We have a child protection policy.  Amanda Faramus is our named Child Protection officer and we have signed up to the NSPCC guidelines (available online).  We are also Club-Marked by 'Club Safe', a charity running in association with the local Police service.

      Lastly, it should be a place that encourages learning.  Being shouted at whilst moving up and down lines all the time with no focus or understanding is for the 1970's and 1980's.  Pedagogy is important, as children and adults (and those with different abilities) will learn in different ways.  Building character and trying is more important than winning or hiding from development.

    • How do I start?...

      Drop us an email or text/ call.  The next step is to put on some loose clothing, take off your jewellery and make sure your nails aren't too long to hurt!

      Just turn up 10 minutes before class, say hi, and we will gently ease you into the basics. After around 4-6 weeks you can expect to grade for 10th kyu white belt, and then begin your journey for life. We look forward to seeing you soon :)