Karate simply means empty hand. Karate-Do translates to “the way of karate”. It implies that the practice is more then just having to punch and kick. Entire history books have been written about the origins of Karate so we will not go into that here. I will say our style of Karate is Shotokan and it is a Japanese Martial Art. Shotokan is known for powerful effective techniques. Our philosophy is quality over quantity. We tend to have less techniques, but do them well. The emphasis on mastering a few applications through repetition of fundamentals as opposed to superficial knowledge of many. Shotokan practitioners believe in doing what works, not what looks best. The jumping and spinning of other flashier styles looks great in the movies but is not effective self defense. Repetition becomes reflex. We do large movements many times so that they become automatic. Always technical perfection over speed or power. Do it properly then add speed. Training is comprised of the three big Ks of Karate: Kihon (basics) heavily stressed in all Japanese Martial Arts. Kata (forms) ancient formal solo practice, much like shadow boxing. Kumite (sparring) not fighting, just working with a partner. Some classes cover one component more then another, but by the end of the week all three are covered equally, being that one is not more important than the other. Only together do they comprise Karate-Do.

The physical: Karate training is ideal physical fitness. Not only increasing strength and flexibility, it also increases hand eye coordination. The cardiovascular benefits will be felt after only a few classes. Unlike many other sports or activities Karate practice stresses that both sides of the body to be equally trained.
The mental: The ability to focus and stay focused is essential to driving a car, doing homework or surviving Karate class. Longer attention spans can be expected not only in children but adults as well. In the Dojo you must be aware at all times. In the real world this awareness helps you when Ninjas attack but also you become aware of opening the door for your date or aware of not parking under a bunch of birds with full bellies.

Is Karate a sport?No. It is a Martial Art and a life style. It is not a game of points, weight classes or showy demonstrations. Karate is not something to learn but something to live. With that said, there are sport tournaments for traditional Karate. Although it is a small part of all that karate is, it may be a large part at some point in your Karate career. For those that enter deeply into the tournament circuit it becomes incredibly competitive and a very demanding activity. Sport requires specialized training above that which happens in the regular Budo based training. At our school we tend to do less sport karate in our regular class and have special classes for our competition team. Which, by the way, has produced numerous National and World Champions!


Click to watch video performed by students:  Basic Kata – Heian Shodan performed by white belts to black belts