Here are some answers to popular questions asked by beginner students in the dojo.
1/ What does Karate-do mean?
Karate-do can be translated to mean WAY OF THE EMPTY HAND. This is the true essence of Karate training. This is the exact opposite of sport Karate.
2/ Where did Karate come from?
Okinawa is Karate's birthplace. Many people are lead to believe that Japan is the home of Karate. But this is not so. The Japanese themselves call Okinawa the birthplace of Karate-do.
3/ Why do we bow in Karate class?
Mainly to show respect and gratitude. When we start class we bow to show respect and show eagerness in wanting to train. When we bow at the end of class, we show respect by saying thank you to all who was involved.
4/ What are the belt colors?
White, Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue, Brown, Black
5/ Why do the kids have stripe between belts?
Mainly to help kids strive for shorter term goals. Black belt rank will not be achieved before the age of 16. If a child starts at age 6, then they are looking at getting graded once every 1.5 years. The stripe system enables children to get graded every few months.
6/ What does the line up in order of rank symbolize?
Equality! Everyone starts at the bottom and works their way to the top. There is no difference in sex, race, religion, etc. Everyone in the dojo is an equal, and is expected to work hard equally.
7/ Who are the men in the pictures hanging in the dojo?
To the left, is the founder of Goju-ryu, Chojun Miyagi Sensei (1888-1953).
To the right, is Miyagi Sensei's successor, the Dai Sensei Meitoku Yagi, Hanshi (1912-2003).
To the right is Dai Sensei Meitoku Yagi's successor (eldest son) master Meitatsu YAGI (1944- ).
8/ What is the full name of our Art?
The full correct name is Meibukan Goju-ryu Karate-do. Translated it means:
Meibukan - house of the pure minded warrior.
Goju-ryu - hard / soft style
Karate-do - way of the empty hand.
9/ How many times should you train a week?
The best way to sum up that question is the more you train, the more you attain.
10/ How long does it take before your first grading?
Adults, depending on the individual and personal effort; usually 4 to 7 months. For Children, since they are on a strip system, the first grade usually occurs between 2 and 3 months.
11/ How many years does it take to go to Black belt?
Again depending on the dedication of the student, 4-5 years, maybe even longer in some cases. It takes a lot of hours of training / week over the span of years to achieve that level.