Frequently Asked Questions
My son has a yellow belt from another style of karate. Does he start again at white belt or can he keep his yellow belt? We make the decision on a case by case basis – when your son joins, we will assess his ability and level to ensure that he can (or will soon be able to) meet the requirements for his current belt color within the Chito-Ryu style.
Is karate dangerous? Will my child come into full or partial physical contact with other students? All classes are closely supervised to ensure the safety of all participants. Sparring/kumite drills are not introduced to participants until they are proficient in the basics and have shown that they can participate safely and with control. That being said, there are risks associated with any sport – determining if your child is ready to listen and participate with control is a decision that you as a parent must make.
What kind of equipment do we need to participate? When you join, we can order a karate uniform (Gi) for you. Other pieces of equipment – sparring gloves or foot protectors are not required until sparring/kumite is introduced.
Is there a competitive component to karate? The opportunity for competition is available through the Karate Alberta Association. If a student wishes to compete with peers, the Karate Alberta Association holds two to three tournaments per year for students from white belt, through to elite black belt divisions. The tournaments are organized according to age and belt color and, for athletes over the age of 14 vying for a position on the provincial karate team, according to weight. Athletes can participate in kata (forms) and/or kumite (sparring). Karate Alberta is recognized by Karate Canada, which in turn is recognized by the Canadian Olympic Committee. If students desire, there are many opportunities for competition.
I have heard that karate is recommended for children who may require more structure and/or discipline in their extra-curricular activities. Is this true and if so do you make any special accommodations for these participants? At Sabean Karate Academy, a key focus for our classes is discipline and good manners. Our classes are structured and follow a consistent pattern. We welcome students who may require structure and discipline, however it must be remembered that it is a group class. As long as a participant can follow along and engage in the group activity, then he or she is more than welcome to participate. However if a student requires significant one-on-one attention, such that the group cannot continue with instruction, then it may be appropriate to consider a different activity for that child.
How is karate different from other martial arts or self-defense courses? There are benefits from many martial arts and self-defense classes. At Sabean Karate Academy, we focus on three important areas – physical and mental well-being and self-defense. Engaging in karate at Sabean’s Karate Academy will emphasize cardio-respiratory fitness, core muscle-strength, balance and flexibility during dojo training. The discipline associated with ongoing karate training enables students to develop physical and mental discipline, courage to persevere in all aspects of life, and the desire to strive for excellence both within and outside the karate dojo. Children who study karate develop a sense of commitment, patience and self-control that can have positive effects in their studies in school. Finally, diligently practicing karate, in the spirit of the martial arts, will teach the student to appropriately defend themselves against attacks of various kinds.
How often can I test? The opportunity to test for your next level is dependent on a number of things, including class attendance, proficiency in specific techniques, commitment and attitude. In addition, junior members wishing to test must complete the form Notice of Intent to Promote. This form requires a parent and a teacher’s signature confirming the student is respectful, cooperative and achieving passing grades in school.
How long does it take to get your black belt? It depends on the individual; however an adult member who attends classes two to three times per week and shows proficiency in the required techniques should be able to achieve his or her first degree black belt (Shodan) in four to six years.
My child does multiple other sports. He may be able to attend only one class per week. Is this okay or are students required to attend every class? Your child is welcome to attend the dojo for only one class per week. In fact, he or she may find that the flexibility and strength gained through karate will be of benefit to other sports activities. However you must keep in mind that progress from one level to the next may be slower as he or she will not have had as much exposure to certain techniques or had the opportunity to practice required techniques as often as a student attending two to three times per week.