FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
"If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you"
Q: What is the difference between martial arts and karate?
The term "martial arts" and "karate" can mean different things to different people. To us, karate is implicative of a fighting style that is largely aimed at weaponless fighting techniques. It doesn't become an "art" until the practitioner decides to get more fancy with it and develop his abilities in areas such as forms (katas), or tournament displays. These displays do not really serve much of a purpose in the self defense world, but does add an artistic value to the karate as it is almost a sort of dance, and can be very impressive if performed correctly.
Q: What is the difference between self defense and karate?
This is an excellent question. Karate, as we mentioned earlier, is largely based upon weaponless fighting techniques. As such, it does not include a consideration of other highly important factors that go into violent confrontations between people such as psychological factors, de-escalation, and more. To only focus on learning how to fight punch for punch, you are ignoring the most important 90% of good self defense strategy, which is don't get into a dangerous situation in the first place.
It is important to know how to spot dangerous situations developing, and know either how to extract yourself from them, or diffuse them without the use of physical force because this approach offers the highest likelihood that you will not be hurt. On top of that, think about legal repercussions you may face if you are involved in a situation and you over-react. These things are of high importance in self defense, and are something that karate alone will not address. As we are a self defense school first and foremost, and a karate school second, we incorporate all these things into one very valuable package. Our karate is top notch, but that is not all you will learn from us.
Q: Am I young/fit/capable enough to train in karate?
Short answer: Most likely. We cater to working people, not olympic athletes. Our techniques are designed to be maximally effective and efficient. This means we do not waste time with flashy moves you might see in the movies, but rather our techniques are designed to get everyday people out of dangerous situations as quickly as possible. They are designed to be useable by all kinds of different body types and age catergories.
Q: Can I earn a black belt at your school?
Yep, but we certainly don't give them away. Black belts are awarded upon personal improvement and technical ability. We also believe a black belt should be a competent instructor. If you are someone who is willing to learn, help others, and do it with a sense of responsibility you will earn a black belt at this school.
Q: How long does it take to earn a black belt?
Roughly 6 years.
Q: 6 years is a long time until black belt, other schools offer them in 4 or less! Why do you do it this way?
Would you value it as much if we gave it to you easily? We believe in skill and personal integrity above any rank or certificates we could give you. If you hold the rank of black belt, and if you are actively teaching others self defense, you need to have an appropriate amount of experience and training behind it. A black belt from our school is more valuable than these other "4 year" black belts because we have higher standards for our black belts. As such, they are on average better at their techniques, teaching, and overall understanding of what self defense is. As a student, you will benefit from our high standards for instructors.
Q: What is the most important part of self defense?
The most important part of self defense is awareness. We certainly mean this in the sense of who is around you and what your escape routes are as you walk through that dark parking lot, but we also mean it in terms of your everyday life. Many people have not learned to recognize violent and controlling people in their everyday lives, and as such they never think to consider if the guy you met at the grocery could turn out to be a threat to you or your family. There are certain signs people will exhibit, and certain things they may say or do, that can tell you a lot about them. As importantly, it is important to consider everyone's intentions. Why does this person want to be your friend, what might they be trying to get from you? Do you feel you could walk away from this person and situation if you chose to? All these things are part of your awareness, and once you have incorporated these things into your regular routines, you will be able to make better decisions as to who to avoid and who to run from, regardless of how charming they seem. The most important rule to self defense is awareness. As you see, this means more than just looking over your shoulder every now and again.
Q: Is there a cure-all technique to use against any type of attack?
Nope. There are a finite number of ways someone can attack you, and there are certain techniques that almost always seem to be an effective response in a physical encounter, but what if you don't land it? You need to have multiple strategies and not place all your eggs into one basket. Also, the more techniques and strikes you've learned, the more things you will see coming at you when someone tries to throw it at you.
Q: What is the difference between a fight and self defense?
A fight is when someone willing enters into a physical confrontation. It will probably get you arrested. Self defense is when you tried all reasonable means available to you to avoid a physical confrontation, but it happened anyway. It does not involve running your mouth, being rude, or being too immature to walk away. On top of that, it looks different. A fight you can see by turning on your tv and flipping it over to the UFC channel. You have two guys who are agreeing to enter into a physical contest. With self defense, a simple push to get an attacker away from you so you can leave may be all it takes. If you do end up doing more than that it may be enough to shock the attacker into leaving you alone long enough so you can extract yourself from the situation. The underlying theme here is that you are trying to get away, diffuse the situation, and not get hurt in the process In short, you are engaging in as little conflict as is necessary to keep yourself from getting hurt.
Q: Do I have to sign a contract to train at your school?
No. We like to believe that we can retain our students without a contract by giving them good value for their money and by being respectful to all of our students. Contracts easily make people feel burdened or trapped, and there are no contracts requirements at our school. The only thing we do require is that students pay on time on the scheduled due date.
Q: Will I get hurt training in karate?
It's unlikely, but obviously it could happen. Still, it has been my experience that karate tends to render far fewer injuries than common activities such as soccer. It can be expected that you will get a soft bruise every now and then, but our training environment is safe and we don't like getting hit just as much as you. We challenge our students just a little bit outside of their comfort zones, and by doing this we entice their growth in their capabilities, but we certainly won't terrorize you. If you come to class, feel safe, have fun, and learn while you're here then we know we've done a good job.
Q: I saw a karate class that regularly spent half the time doing warm ups. Is that the case here?
No. This is a self defense class, not a work out class. We do warmups, and when we do they are five minutes or less. The purpose of warmups is to either shake everybody out of a lazy mood, or relax your muscles enough so you don't pull something. Some karate instructors use warm ups as a crutch when they have nothing else planned for the class, but you won't see that here.
We answer questions in person too so drop on by or call!