While training the body, one learns about the Okinawan or Japanese culture; such as its history; its tradition of respect in the symbol of bowing, and the distinction in seated bows, standing bows and the reasons behind this.
One also learns about discipline by way of being on time, by way of dress code, and mind and body preparation.
There is etiquette involved in the process of learning, so it is not just how fast or strong one is, but how to reduce the ego and become a more refined person in life.
Sports in the modern day is about winning or losing; points or no points; highest; fastest; best. The values of traditional martial arts are about the inward qualities of winning over oneself, the ego. They are about striving for self improvement.
In the words of the late great Funakoshi:
“The ultimate aim of karate lies not in winning or losing, but in the perfection of character of its participants.”
Logistics and Lifestyle
Obviously, one also needs to take into consideration the times and costs of classes. Look for a dojo location that makes it easy to attend class, due to it being close to your home, work or school.
You also want class times that suit your other life activities and family obligations. This way it will be easier to make your karate practice part of your lifestyle, and hence a more sustainable health choice.
Karate Teacher Influence
Even more important than the logistics of class, is the instructor’s methods and philosophy i.e. the actual teachings of your Sensei.
The second point to consider when choosing your Karate teacher, is the reasons you want to train versus the reasons the instructor wants to teach his karate system. Do they match or compliment each other?
Or will they lead you in opposite directions?
The difference can mean a far more enjoyable and rewarding experience for all.
Karate is known to improve fitness and strength and sharpen self defense skills.
Some systems or styles of Karate have more emphasis on different criteria eg. sport karate vs traditional karate. There is no problem with just doing sport karate, as long as one realizes that it is but a small part of karate itself.
Karate is a paradox. When one learns a technique a thousand times over many years, it not only builds physical strength but also mental confidence not to have to get into an altercation.
Kobujutsu = ko -traditional bu- martial jutsu- technique . The karate we teach is an art of traditional ways.
Choosing Kobujutsu is essentially choosing to experience personal growth while learning martial arts.
For more information about karate, please contact the expert contributor.