Is Karate suitable for me?
Wado Kai karate is a softer style of karate focusing more on body movement and technique rather than physical strength, making it an ideal activity for everyone of any age, physical size or gender to learn.
As an activity for children Karate is great at getting them active, learning new and useful skills as well as being a great boost to awareness, responsibility and confidence. We accept children from the age of 6 upwards and have a great mixture of both boys and girls in our junior class. Within our club we are very focused on the development of each individual, every child has different abilities and will progress at their own pace, there is no rush nor expectation of how quickly they should progress through the grades.
Wado Kai is also a popular style of Karate for women to learn with its focus on techniques and targeting the weak/vulnerable parts of the body rather than the need to physically overpower an opponent. We run mixed gender classes for both juniors and adults have have both male and female instructors in both.
What Will I learn?
At our club we teach traditional Wado Karate following a structured syllabus set out by the England Wado Kai Federation. Each individual grade has a specific set of techniques to learn allowing for natural progression in ability and difficulty.
The basis of what you will learn are:
Kihon Waza: Basic/Foundation techniques including punches, kicks and blocks
Renkei Waza: Combination techniques – linking together a series of kicks and punches
Kata: Predetermined sequences of movements
Ippon, Ohyo and Kihon Kumite: Pre-arranged pair work, putting into practice the basic techniques you have learned with a partner using specific attacking and defensive techniques.
Ji Yu Kumite: Sparring/free fighting (beginning once confidence and control of techniques has developed)
What are the Grades in Karate, and how long will it take me to get them?
All beginners start as White Belts and work their way up through the coloured belts – or Kyu grades as they are called. The grading order is as follows:
Beginner (White Belt)
8th Kyu (Yellow)
7th Kyu (Orange)
6th Kyu (Green)
5th Kyu (Blue)
4th Kyu (Purple)
3rd Kyu (Junior Brown)
2nd Kyu (Middle Brown)
1st Kyu (Senior Brown)
1st Dan (Black)
2nd Dan (Black)
3rd Dan (Black)
Juniors and Cadets (Ages 6-15) must also take a Mon grading (Colour with a white stripe) before they take the Kyu (full colour) grade allowing them adequate time to develop their abilities at each level.
Progression in Karate is entirely down to the individual, there are no expectations on when you should take each grading it is purely down to personal development and readiness. There are minimum requirements for a candidate to be able to grade (24 training stamps and minimum 3 months since last grading) however these are the absolute minimum and many students will not be ready to attempt their next grade once they have met these and will need to wait longer.
If you are thinking of grading, always speak with your sensei so that you can decide together when best to go ahead and do so.
When/Do I have to spar (free fight)? And do I have to compete in tournaments?
Free fighting or sparring is one very small element of what you will learn as a part of your karate training and if it is not something you are keen to focus on you will not be forced to do so. It is worked on primarily once you become more advanced in your training as confidence and ability in your basic techniques is needed in order to spar effectively – likewise too much concentration on free fighting can lead to bad habits and poor techniques in the rest of your karate.
Free fighting is performed during a grading from 6th Mon/Kyu (Green belt) and upwards. It is used to demonstrate that you can put both attacking and defensive techniques into practice. There is very light/minor controlled contact and there is no winner/loser in these fights. You do not need to beat your opponent in order to pass your grading.
Whether or not you compete in tournaments is entirely up to you. You are not required by the club or the Federation to do so, however the opportunity to compete in either Kata/Kumite or both as a part of the England Wado-Kai squad is available to everyone who is interested. Regular squad training and selection sessions are held throughout the year to prepare and select the squad to be sent to the various tournaments. These sessions are open to everyone from 8th Kyu (yellow belt) upwards who would like the opportunity to compete in competition.
Will I get hurt?
The risk of injury from Karate is actually much lower than from many other contact sports like football or rugby etc (where broken bones and joint injuries are not uncommon). From Karate you should expect some sore muscles and sometimes a few bruises. All contact is controlled and progresses only as your skills and ability develops.
Our aim is always to provide a safe and controlled environment for our students to train in and serious injuries are extremely uncommon.
How often should I be training?
As a beginner training once a week is probably sufficient. However as you advance more frequent training is definitely beneficial, and essential to attain the more senior grades. As a part of the England Wado Kai Federation our members can train at any of the other clubs alongside their regular training in Thatcham. There are numerous clubs up and down the country, running on different days and at different times so that you can fit in training when and where works best for you.
Most locally to us is our 'sister club' in Reading, run by Sensei Rob Barrett. Please check their website for further details Reading Wado Kai
What should I do now?
Now, if you have any further questions do contact us either by phone/text/email or by using the contact form on this website.
If you would like to try out a lesson please come on down and join in with the appropriate class, or come along and just watch if you'd like to see what goes on before you try it out. The hardest part of trying out something new is taking that first step in through the door, take that step and see where it leads you.
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Thatcham Wado Karate Club
Thatcham Memorial Hall
Call us on: 07958717964
or contact us directly using our online contact form.
All new beginners welcome to try out a lesson for free