What is karate-do?

Karate is a martial art developed from Chinese kung fu, in particular Southern Shaolin and indigenous fighting methods from the Ryukyu Islands. It is primarily a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes. Open-handed techniques, grappling, locks, restraints, throws, and vital point strikes are also taught. A karate practitioner is called a karateka.
`Kara' is the Japanese word for empty, while `te' means hand. `Do' translates as way or path. So Karate-Do can be interpreted as The Way of The Empty Hand. Karate itself is a weaponless means of defence.

Why Karate?
At Satori Martial Arts, we work on realistic applications in a modern day context. The core of our training is for self defence. We focus more on practical combat methods, rather than spend our time perfecting forms and katas. This of course does not detract from skill in technique, which is essential. Although we do practice and value kata, we value it more for the self protection applications within kata known as bunkai. Skill in technique encompasses power, speed and coordination. To build these skills we cover a variety of different training methods. We have had people in the past to mistaken us as judo class, a kick boxing class, kung fu class etc. This is all part of karate training, which includes throws, locks & holds as in judo, kicks knees & elbows as in muay thai etc. Karate is The Way of The Empty Hand.

Is karate dangerous?
Karate is by definition dangerous, it is a system of martial arts in order to defend oneself. However, Karate is based on respect, discipline and awareness. Lessons always begin with a full warm-up to reduce any strains and muscular injuries. During classes students are closely supervised at all times and taught accordingly to their level and experience. Occasionally people can get the odd minor bump or bruise.

Can anyone do it?
Karate is for everyone, we have an open door policy at SMA. Anyone, who is in reasonable health, can train in Karate. Karate improves the student's health, self awareness, confidence, self esteem, power, speed and coordination. Everyone receives the same training although the instructor will not demand the same level of endurance. Everyone's training is with oneself and the instructor only expects the best that you can achieve.

How long will it take me to get black belt?
Students can take regular examinations after set periods of training. Students can generally achieve black belt standard in 5-7 years with regular and correct training.

How good is karate for fitness?
Karate is one of the most balanced and complete ways of keeping in good physical condition. Karate incorporates the use of the entire body in which legs, hips, spine, shoulders and arms are co-ordinated to develop balance, flexibility, poise, speed, strength and stamina. No other form of training uses as many parts of the body to such an extent. Karate is not seasonal and so one's condition can be maintained throughout the year. Karate becomes more interesting and rewarding as you progress, without any limit. Even after decades of training, students will still be learning and improving their techniques.

Who will teach me?
The main instructor at SMA is Steve Goodhand is an experienced teacher. Matthew White will also teach/run classes and various other black belt coaches teaching both Juniors and Adults. We have grading instuctors and visiting instructors who all have different areas of expertise and martial history (everything from Judo, Wing Chun and Boxing).

What do I need to start?
Karate students train in what's known as a Gi (Karate suit). However, for your first half a dozen lessons, tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt will suffice, i.e. loose clothing that enables free movement of your arms and legs. A Karate Gi can be purchased from the club at anytime.

What are the club's and association's advantages?
As a member of the SMA you will also be a member of NAKMAS one of the largest martial art governing bodies in the country.
Benefits include:

  • Quality control through the NAKMAS.
  • Nationally recognised Dan and Kyu grading's.
  • Regular access to competition including local inter-club and nationals (including UKNAS)
  • Regular access to training sessions with visiting instructors.
  • A variety of training techniques covering all areas of combat.
  • Nationally recognised qualified instructors with CRB certificates and comprehensive liability insurance.
  • Martial arts club liabilities insurance (2million), lawfully allowing martial arts training.

Gichin Funakoshi Sesnei (1868-1957)
Founder of Modern Karate