About Karate

What is Karate?

Karate is a form of self-defence and was developed in Japan.

The word is formed from the Japanese words Kara meaning empty, and Te meaning hand.

Hands and feet are used for blocking and striking.

Training takes place in an environment that is rich with Japanese cultural traditions and practices.


Frequently asked questions

Who can join?

Since opening our new dojo in Penweddig school we are now open to the general public. We usually recommend a minimum age of 7 but we will consider younger children if they have a parent or sibling already training with us. Please contact us for more details.

Is it dangerous?

The injury risk in Karate is lower than in most other sports. All contact is controlled and the most you would expect is the occasional lump or bruise. Our classes are meant to teach Karate – thus Gung-Ho bone breakers and street thugs are not welcome, and you wont find them in our classes. Karate training is generally very safe and is on the same risk level to football. Injuries if they do occur tend to be down to over enthusiastic training or not heeding to the safety advice given by our instructors.

What to wear?

Loose casual clothing will be perfectly adequate for the beginners class, karate suits are optional and will be available to order at reduced prices to club members.

Do I have to come to every session?

You certainly don’t need to attend every class but as they say “practice makes perfect” you’re bound to find it beneficial.

What about coloured belts and gradings?

We hold a club grading three or four times a year (usually coinciding with the University terms) where you can be tested for a new rank. These gradings are not compulsory but they can provide you with a valuable benchmark for your continued development. A beginner can reach black belt within three years.

What is Karate?

Karate is a system of self defence and physical culture originally developed and refined in Okinawa and Japan. The word is formed from the Japanese words Kara (empty) and Te (hand), symbolising that its practitioners – Karateka – are unarmed, but use their hands and feet as striking weapons. There are many different styles of Karate – Shotokan is the most commonly practised throughout the world.

What is Shotokan Karate?

Shotokan is a style of Karate which emphasises a balanced development of speed, strength and range of techniques, taught within a system which instils confidence and self-control. The Shotokan style was originated by an Okinawan teacher of physical education, Funakoshi Gichin, who introduced it to Japan in 1922, where it was developed extensively by the Japanese Master, Masatoshi Nakayama. Because of this development there have been relatively few changes since then.

Can anyone practice karate?

Karate can be practiced by men, women and children. Anyone who is in reasonable health can train at karate. Karate students will improve their self-awareness, self-confidence and self-esteem. [Those with health problems should consult the instructors about their approach to training.]

Who will teach me?

5th Dan Black Belt master, Sensei Paul James has had a highly successful tournament career which includes: 2008 JSKA World Kata Champion, Welsh Champion nineteen times, two times European Bronze medallist and many times British finalist, captain of the Welsh Kata team.

Also having valuable experience as a doorman or “bouncer”, combined with an extensive knowlege of self protection methods makes Ikkyo Karate a practical and effective martial arts system.

Paul James is a fully qualified karate instructor and holds a KUGB Instructor Assessors Certificate and has taught students from novice up to 4th dan black belt.

What will training involve?

Most people joining the club are beginners and there is a wide range of grades in the club from beginners to National and International competitors. Your training will be structured into three main sections – Kihon, Kata and Kumite – basic techniques, set combinations of techniques, and sparring. Each section has a range of complexity to suit the different levels or grades of students. Kumite will be introduced to you as basic blocking and counter-attacking, but will ultimately lead you to free-style fighting, where you will be taught to attack with, and defend against, unannounced attacks. In addition to the usual karate basics, sparing and kata we also regularly include bag and pad work and self defence / close combat work including grappling.

Will I be able to take part in competitions?

Karate is an exciting and challenging sport. Club members are actively encouraged to compete if they wish to do so. We participate in many competitions throughout the year at various levels. There are club and Regional events for all ages and grades, with opportunities for selection to the Welsh Squads. There are separate championships for children and students in full-time education at Colleges & Universities.

What benefits are there in practising karate?

The hard physical training required to reach a high level of skill in Karate promote overall good health, fitness and well-being. The concentration, commitment and dedication required, help build a strong, confident and determined character. There is a ‘Dojo Kun’, or training code, which not only ensures a disciplined training environment, but serves as a tool for moulding behaviour, so that a true Karateka will only employ physical violence as a last resort, with obvious benefits to society.

When do I get my first belt?

Gradings are held at the end of each term. If you train regularly throughout the term you will be ready to grade at the end. These gradings are conducted by Sensei Bob Poynton 7th Dan, and there is a grading syllabus for all levels. Coloured belts are used to denote grades. There are 9 grades, known as Kyus, below Black Belt, with 9th Kyu, orange belt, being the lowest grade. There are 10 levels of Black belt, or Dan grade, with 1st Dan being the lowest.

How long will it take to achieve my black belt?

Three years of continuous training with us will prepare you for black belt.