What to expect when you try a Martial Art class
The following are a number of questions that new members most often ask.
What should I bring with me to class?
Water bottles, Karate bag, Mouthguard etc: This is the students responsibility. These items are theirs and they need to be responsible for preparing and bringing the items they know they need. No one else is.
What should I do or who should I see when I first enter the venue? Its recommended that you arrive at your first class 20 minutes early. Your instructor (sensei) will be there to welcome you and they will take you, and any other beginners through a short introductory talk to get you ready for your first class. They will also be able to answer any questions or concerns you have about training.
What should I wear? You can train in comfortable clothes suitable for exercise. It’s not compulsory for a student to purchase a karate uniform (known as a Gi) immediately. But should you want to purchase one, uniforms can be ordered through your instructor.
How often can I train? You can train as often as you like. The more you train the more you can learn and the greater enjoyment you will get from your Martial arts journey.While we don’t recommend that you over-exert yourself, like anything, the more you practise the quicker you develop and more benefits you receive.
Extra classes will be available at times for everyone and private lessons are always available. Just talk to your instructor.
I felt really sore after my first class? Any time you exercise muscle groups that have not been exercised in some time you are going to experience muscle soreness. Muscle soreness the follow day or even following days is perfectly normal. You will find that the more you train, your muscles will condition themselves to the training and you will no longer experience this.
You can minimise muscle soreness by eating well and keeping your muscles well-hydrated, ideally by drinking plenty of water. Note that drinking sugary drinks such as cordials, soft drinks, juices, coffee or beer will actually dehydrate your muscles.
I was very slow to pick things up? Everyone will pick things up at their own pace. As with all things, practice is the name of the game. To speed up your coordination, practise at home. Visit this website and log into the member section and you will be able to click on the video links to various examples of what you need to learn. Carefully observe the techniques in action and train along to the video. Most of all, be patient with yourself. We all started where you are, it is practise that means we can now do these amazing movements you see.
How many times a week should I train? You should practice every day for minimum 10mins and attend classes twice a week if you can. If you can only attend once a week then you will need to practice a lot more at home using the online resources.
When do I need a uniform(gi)? You will get a T-Shirt and belt when you join. You will not need a uniform until your first grading, roughly 4 months. However, many people buy one within the first month so they feel more part of the class.
What happens if I miss a class? Stuff happens and you will miss classes. No problem. You have the online resources you can use to practice with and you can always message Sensei asking for direction, video review or what to focus on.
Can I make up classes that I have missed? Within any month you can make up any classes you have missed. You are not locked to a particular day. So if you cannot make Monday then come Wednesday. Classes do not carry over into the next month however.
Will I get hurt? Martial arts is a combat exercise. As such at times you will be required to participate in activities that will require contact. However we take your safety very seriously and take all precautions to ensure you do not get hurt. Unfortunately though we cannot guarantee it as the nature of martial arts is to deal with the unpredictable.
Why do we bow before going on the mat? This is usually as a student has arrived late to class. By having to wait at the back of the mat and be bowed in they are learning Respect of instructors and other people, punctuality, and responsibility. That they need to ensure they are ready so they can get to class on time.
Do I have to do techniques in front of other people? This is a really hard thing to do but is such a great accomplishment. Overcoming anxiety and nerves. Developing confidence and self-belief and the ability to perform under pressure. Wait until they have to turn round and face their peers. Whole other ball game ;)
Why is there a large fitness component? This builds mental toughness as well as physical strength. A determination to push beyond what they think they can do and develop the self-belief that they can achieve anything they are determined to work hard for.
Will I have to spar (fight)? Yes. This is tough for a lot of students but there are real reasons why a student must spar. It develops confidence, the inner strength of character, situational awareness being in the moment, speed & movement, strategy, resilience, and control.
Why do we sit in seiza, eyes closed: Meditation, calmness and control. Breathing and reflection. Quieten the heart and mind.
Why do we all get punished if one person is misbehaving? If a class of students is not focusing and displaying inappropriate behaviour, then this needs to be addressed, and sometimes sternly. They need to understand that there is a code of conduct in life and at the dojo that they need to adhere to. Some children take this hard as Sensei is an authoritative figure they look up to in their lives and the telling off or expression of disappointment can really hit home for them. But there is a reason, albeit very rarely, a class will be told off on mass. Certain students may be the cause but it is the responsibility of the group as a whole to help and guide each other if they know someone is not doing what they should. Standing by and watching when you could have done something about it is all too common these days.
What are the Martial Arts: The ability to have some insight on how to defend yourself, avoid and diffuse situations. Confidence and belief in your abilities. Pride and humbleness and emotional control. Patience.
Hopefully, this gives some insight into what is happening in any given class. Any and all actions have an underlying meaning and are focused on our core belief of inspiring the best that is within everyone