Frequently Asked Questions

How "in shape" do I have to be to join?

There seems to be a misconception that training in the martial arts requires individuals to be in peak physical condition. But anyone can join our program and work on their physical fitness as part of their training! We also have a gym downstairs that all students have 24/7 access to use.

As long as you are healthy enough that a physician wouldn't oppose you joining, then you are always in the right shape to start your journey.

Do I need to know all the protocols or Japanese on the first day??

Absolutely not! Students learn about the protocol, little bits of language and culture as they progress in classes. What to do when, who to call what and where to be are all things your instructors and fellow students will gladly help you with.

The only expectation is that you come to class with an empty cup, which is a metaphor used in the dojo to indicate an open mind ready to learn. Everyone, including the great masters, began as a white belt.

Will I need a karate uniform (gi)?

We encourage new students to try out the class first and see if it is something they really want to do. Bring loose comfortable workout clothing for the first few sessions. If you feel like karate is something you want to commit to, then purchasing a gi will be one of your first investments.

We sell gis at the dojo, but you can bring your own if it meets the requirements: White gi top & bottom, lightweight-midweight (not heavy BJJ type), karate gi with kimono-style top. The federation & dojo patches (also sold at the dojo) will need to be applied to the gi before your first test.

Which style is the "best" style? How does your style rank?

Every martial art shares the same fundamental root: there was a need and it was developed as a solution. From that need came the many similar, but different, martial arts that exist today.

Rating any style as "better" is very subjective, because there is a unique purpose and function for each style. For example, some styles have been honed to look great for sports competitions, others are focused on professional one-on-one combat, some are focused on fitness applications, a good handful specialize in grappling & throwing techniques, and many are focused on general self-defense.

Our style of traditional Shorin Ryu is ever evolving to change with the world around us to have applications in multiple scenarios. We are a traditional karate style of the Matsumura Seito lineage, with our Grandmaster Fusei Kise and Kaicho Isao Kise in Okinawa frequently evaluating our style, reviewing technique changes with peers and updating the system regularly. The focus of OSMKKF Shorin Ryu is heavily on finessing our technique, training our muscle memory, strength, speed, balance and reflexes so that if ever the need arises to fight we are in the best situation to do so.

Our federation is internationally renown and recognized as one of the leaders in Okinawan martial arts. The dedication to providing the best opportunities for students in the style extends as far as having regular karate camps where instructors around the globe meet to review and update the materials they will bring home to their own students.

What benefits are there to karate over just going to the gym?

There are many benefits to coming to karate classes! In addition to classes, all students are given access to the gym on the lower level of the dojo with their membership. Here are just a few of the additional benefits to taking classes with us:

Fitness - Our classes begin with about 20-30 minutes of "basics," which translates into an excellent aerobic workout. We wrap up our basics with some strength training before moving into the core class materials.

Motivation - The students and instructors are extremely supportive of each person. There is always someone encouraging you to go the extra mile and help you with your technique. The community is welcoming and we want everyone to have a place where they feel they belong.

Practical Use - Shorin Ryu is a practical style designed to have real world application in the event you need it. Going to the gym alone can certainly improve your fitness, but with martial arts you will be putting your time into developing a skill set that may well save you or a friend/family member.

Confidence - Karate is something that you train for on an individual level. All the progress you make is guided by your instructors but the effort you put in yields the product you get out. You will find that it is an amazing booster of self-esteem to feel comfortable in your own capabilities.

Balance - Yes, physical balance is something you will develop. But karate is more than just about the physical. Karate will develop you in ways you never before imagined. It trains you to consider things such as posture, movement, dexterity and demeanor. It works its way into how you interact with the world outside of the dojo, often helping people find a sense of balance in life that they needed.

What if I can't make every class?

Don't worry about it. We would love to see you maximize the benefit of your enrollment in classes by coming 3 days a week. But we recognize that is not always feasible.

Your progress in class is set by the pace in which you apply yourself. If you can only make 1 class a week but practice your material outside the dojo regularly, then your dedication will surely pay off over time.

Are there any big "no-no's" I should be aware of?

Most of the protocol related topics are learned as you progress through classes. But one piece of advice to know up front:

Do not ask when you will be tested or to be tested!

Testing occurs regularly throughout the year. Sensei will determine who is eligible based on a variety of factors including things such as credit hours earned via attendance and mastery of current materials.

It is perfectly acceptable to ask Sensei or a Sempai for rank level materials, or to ask what else you may learn in the meantime once you have down your current materials. But this is a traditional karate system where bearing a sense of humbleness is a virtue. Asking to be tested or when you will test next isn't going to result in severe punishment, but it is frowned upon and you'll likely get the full discussion about appropriate requests regarding material and testing.

What sort of movies would I see your style in?

Well, probably the easiest movie series to mention would be the Karate Kid movies, and subsequent Cobra Kai show. It isn't exactly like that!

But that series is heavily focused on traditional Okinawan style martial arts that have many common traits to our system. And no, we don't practice the famous "Crane Kick" in our style, but it was certainly fun to watch!

How long until I become a black belt?

The journey to a black belt is not something that can be easily plotted on a timetable. In general, though, if a student regularly attends classes, practices their material and succesfully tests for their next ranks steadily then the first rank of black belt (shodan) is achievable in about 4-5 years.

There is a lot of material to learn and become proficient with! As students advance in rank they will be given many opportunities to help teach their fellow students. The black belt ranks come up faster than you'd realize, and it is healthy to remember that a black belt is simply a milestone in the longer journey to improve oneself. 


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