FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The ultimate aim of the art of karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants.
- Master Gichin Funakoshi
Q: What is Karate?
A: Karate, or karate-do, can be translated from the Japanese as empty (kara) hand (te) way (do), which can have two meanings. The first, more literal meaning is that karate techniques are generally performed without weapons - in other words, empty hands. The second, more figurative interpretation comes from the need for emptiness (or clarity) of mind and spirit in order to engage the body. The ultimate goal of karate practice is not to learn how to fight or to win, but rather the pursuit of excellence by the participant.
Q: What is Shotokan karate?
A: Shotokan is among the oldest and most widely practiced forms of karate, and traces its roots back to the Island of Okinawa and Master Gichin Funakoshi. Shotokan is characterized by long, deep stances, powerful techniques, high kicks, and serious intensity.
Q: Why do you use Japanese terminology?
A: At Fernie Karate, we use Japanese terminology, honourifics, and other elements for a number of important reasons: (1) to respect the tradition and history of the art; (2) to delineate the practice space as separate and unique; and (3) to orient our minds to the practice itself, as different from other sports and activities. Knowledge of Japanese is not required, but gaining a familiarity with Japanese terms enhances the enjoyment of karate, with the added benefit that, no matter where you go, if you join in a traditional karate class, you'll be able to understand the instructions and expectations!
Q: What do I need for my first class?
A: If you're joining our karate class for the very first time, there are a few things you DO need, and a few things you DON'T:
You DON'T need a gi (traditional karate uniform). Be sure to wear comfortable clothing that you can kick and stretch in, and remember that karate is practiced in bare feet - no shoes or socks (unless with instructor permission). If you decide grade for a belt, then a karate-gi will be required.
DO leave your jewelry at home - this is for your own safety and the safety of your partners. If your jewelry cannot be removed, be sure to secure it (i.e., wrist bands, tape, etc.).
DO ensure that your fingernails and toenails are trimmed and clean.
DO inform the instructor if you have any injuries or require adaptation of any techniques.
When first arriving, DO bow toward the dojo (training area), to show respect for the space, the activity, and your fellow practitioners. DON'T forget to bow again upon leaving the training space.
After bowing, DO enter and begin to warm up.
If you still have questions, DON'T hesitate to contact us via the button below!