Southfield Martial Arts Institute

Grand Master AdamsCommon Questions About Karate

What is Karate?

Translated karate means “empty hand”. The oriental art of unarmed self-defense has been around since ancient times. It is the ultimate power of the unity of mind and body. People spend their lives training their spirits as well as their bodies. In addition to being an excellent self-defense system, sport, and work-out, karate provides a heightened appreciation of one’s self and the world. The combination of strength, grace and precision give students self confidence while developing their body, integrity and serenity.

Who can do karate?

Anyone, any age, any sex. As a form of fitness for the mind and body, karate is a sport for everyone.

Is karate training difficult?

Yes and No. Since karate is an individual sport, you can work at a pace you feel comfortable with. The hardest part of karate is the mental conditioning. But as your karate improves, so will your physical power and mind control.

What will I learn in the beginning?

The first three months will be dedicated to basic exercises, punches and stretches. You will also learn basic self-defense techniques that will eventually be used in classroom sparring. You will also learn the moves that will lead you to your first belt promotion.

How will karate help me?

Karate improves individuals both mentally and physically. Some benefits you will experience from karate are physical conditioning, improved concentration, self-confidence, inner peace, self-defense, weight control, more energy, self-discipline, athletic skills, improved mental attitude, temper control, improved grades, and respect for self and others.

How will I progress?

The progression of belts depends on the amount of dedication and discipline each student can give. But the average progression of the belts is as follows:

White belt – beginner
1 yellow stripe – 1 month
2 yellow stripes – 2 months
3 yellow stripes – 3 months

Yellow belt – 5 months
1 green stripe – 7 months
2 green stripes – 9 months
3 green stripes – 11 months

Green belt – 1 year
1 brown stripe – 13 months
2 brown stripes – 15 months
3 brown stripes – 17 months

Brown belt – 1 ½ years
1 red stripe – 18 months
2 red stripes – 2 years
3 red stripes – 2 ½ years

Black belt candidate – 3 years
Black Belt – 3 ½ - 4 years

How often should I train?

For a constant progression in belts, biweekly formal classroom sessions and daily practices at home are recommended.

Why Isshinryu Karate?

Isshinryu (one heart/mind) was developed by Sensei Shimabuku, Okinawa's Grand Master of Shorin-Ryu, who devoted his life to the study of karate. He was a master of Goju-Ryu; studied Kobayshi-Ryu under famous Chotokan Kiyan and later under legendary Choki Motobu. He then studied the art of Bo and Sai weapons defense and Tee-faa under Okinawa's most noted instructors. Master Shimabuku combined the best of these styles into Isshinryu, which epitomizes the powerful, lightening-fast techniques that in ancient times enabled the weaponless Okinawans to defeat the sword-wielding Samurai warriors of Japan.

Isshinryu's main objective is the perfection of oneself through both physical and mental development. As students learn the art of self defense, they acquire self-confidence, serenity and the ability to concentrate. Isshinryu Karate combines a well rounded exercise program with some important advantages over other styles, including:

  1. Isshinryu kicks and punches are thrown from natural stances, eliminating wasted motions and giving you split-second advantages over opponents using other styles.
  2. Isshinryu stresses proficiency with both hand and foot techniques, making it the most versatile form of karate because you have no weak points.
  3. Isshinryu is the most realistic style of karate, stressing "close-in" techniques necessary for "street fighting" where you haven't time for elaborate, time-consuming wind-ups of other styles.
  4. Isshinryu is the most sensible form of karate, with snap-punch and snap-kick techniques that permit you to move in and out quickly without committing yourself to a disadvantaged position should you miss or misjudge.
  5. Isshinryu is more adaptable to the American physique temperament than other more rigid styles because the Okinawan Master designed it to follow natural body movements.
  6. Isshinryu will put you into better physical shape because it provides you with an aggressive exercise program that will improve your muscle tone, suppleness, speed, and mind.
  7. Isshinryu may help you in your job since the mental and physical conditioning provides you with an opportunity to "wind down" from daily tensions and frustrations.