You signed up for your first karate class and are ready to go. And hopefully, you are just excited as we are! But perhaps a little anxiety is kicking in — it is the first class after all ?

We’ve all been there, so we get what you are going through. To help transform the nervousness into some solid excitement, here are some pointers to your first karate class:

Karate is for everybody and everyone. And that includes you.

When Asai sensei founded the Japan Karate Shotorenmei (JKS), he had the vision of making karate an inclusive and approachable martial art. As proud followers of the school, we take that to heart and welcome all people.

But I am not big or fit enough for karate.

You may not be the tallest, the fittest, the strongest, nor the fastest — but martial arts is not about size or strength. Specially karate.

Karate was created so the small could defeat the big.

Just think about the average size of the Japanese people. You have to rely on characteristics other than size and strength to beat your opponent. Strategy and proper technique go a long way in every scenario.

If you want to get better, to develop a sharp min, a strong body, and a peaceful spirit, you are in the right place. We are glad to have you training with us.

First Karate Class - Bowing
Shomen-ni, rei! Bowing as a demonstration of respect to your instructors, training partners and the ones who came before. Photo: JKS International Seminar / BudoJapan

For your first class, come with an open mind.

We are very open-minded people. As we said, we want to create a space that is safe for everybody to feel welcome. And for that to happen, we need respect above everything else. That includes respect for customs and traditions. 

Respect above everything else.

Show up on time and be ready to start. That demonstrates respect to your colleagues and to your instructor. Always treat others as you would want to be treated.

You will hear Japanese. A lot.

But don’t fret, we use terms in Japanese as a form of respect to the vast culture and tradition we are carrying forward. At the beginning we will translate them for you and, with time, you will easily understand all the names and terminologies.

Please introduce yourself.

Don’t be afraid if we ask you to introduce yourself. Community is an essential aspect of our school. We have dōjo in Canada, France, and Brazil, and we are proud to be connected with everybody. We want to know and be present in everybody’s journey. 

Between our classes, seminars and events, we are sure you will make a friend or two.

During a karate class, you will sweat.

Don’t underestimate the amount of energy you will need. Be prepared to move in every direction, rotate, spin, stretch and reach. If you easily get lightheaded, maybe bring a small snack (a protein/granola bar, or maybe a banana).

Don’t have a karate-gi (uniform)?

For your first few karate classes, come in your gym/workout clothes, something that allows for good mobility. We will assist you to obtain a uniform when the time is right. Just remember that we train barefoot.

Bring some water. And maybe a towel.

We have a drinking fountain nearby, but getting in and out of the shiaijo (training space) is disrupting, and we try to avoid it. Having a water bottle to hydrate during our short breaks helps to keep things moving smoothly. You can also use your towel to dry the sweat after that last round of kata.

Have a good time and feel energized.

When you move, your mind gets quieter. When your mind gets quiet, your spirit rumbles. Training karate is a great experience and a step on the door to make mind, body, and spirit aligned. And when these three are working together, we have more energy, feel more confident, and feel better during the day.

Didn’t sign-up yet? You can start practicing karate today; the first week is on us. We see you at the dōjo. Osu!

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