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Taking up Karate

 Taking up Karate. The Student Guide.


Karate can be a very healthy and exciting addition to your life. Is a great way to keep fit make friends and have some fun while learning something for life. For some people over time becomes like a little religion that keeps them inline and focused.
This is because of the common principles karate has to offer – from discipline, respect, value life and people to self-defence, fitness and wellness.

Here are some more benefits of training karate: 
Higher self-confidence
Mental and physical co-ordination
Balance and stability
Respect for others and for yourself
Sense of wellbeing and more…


For any of the above to work you need to find a good club that meets the above criteria. Has instructors that have the knowledge required to guide the student through the process.

And then you.

Most people take up Karate not knowing why. But that's ok – because pretty much that's what karate means emptiness.

(The name Karate was chosen to convey the ideas of emptiness since students are expected to empty their minds of all thoughts and emotions in pursuit of their Budo (martial art way, or way of the warrior).

Now that you know when starting karate you may not know why and you may have an empty mind – in order to reverse this you will require to be patient, train hard and not quit at the first opportunity.

(Nowadays the student quit very easy. Majority do because of their lack of motivation or can't move to the next level, and often the blame is on the sensei.
The only one to blame here is yourself. 
You don't just quit because you can't pass the next grade or for your lack of motivation.
Instead change your mentality and attitude, train smarter, challenge yourself, find a way to motivate yourself and don't wait for sensei to give a grade, take it of him / her.)

  Train with the right mentally.
  Put effort.
  Don't analyse everything – and if you do – see the positive side of it.
  Train to train – not just for the grades – the grades will follow.

So as you see to succeed you need to develop a strong mind, work hard and see far in the front of you. If you do that – and you have the will inside you to go on – there is nothing to stop you.


In your study of Karate, no one will be more important than your teacher, your sensei. 

The sensei (hopefully) has the knowledge, experience the all-round understanding the art and of human psychology that different people learn differently, and a good sensei will be able to adapt or alter his teaching methods to suit his student’s mental and physical abilities, personalities and attitudes.  
Through his / her passion will communicate them to his students (you).

(The word is made up of two ideograms, sen, which means “ahead” or “precede,” and sei, which means “life.” Put together, they create a new word that means “one who is ahead of you in life.” Your sensei, your teacher, is your elder and is deserving of your respect.)

However as mentioned before the student has to have the passion to learn too.
Does not matter how good the sensei is – if you are not responding to his / her teaching you are not going anywhere.
The sensei can teach you – encourage you – and show you the way – but ultimately is you the student that needs to have the will and  passion to learn and to follow the journey into karate.

For the sensei is important to honest to his students especially to new ones. As a new student you may only know what the sensei tell you about karate.
Misleading in any way can result into the student not understanding the principles of karate as a way of life.

As a student is equally important to understand the honesty of the sensei and build your karate in an honest way.

(Honesty – A Black Belt realizes that honesty is the best policy. First and foremost we must be honest with self. It is often easier to find fault in others than it is to evaluate self. A Black Belt should be able to look within and find areas they can improve on and at the same time realize their strengths they can build upon. Only then can you truly be honest with others in a positive, respectful manner.)

There are lots of good and honest sensei’s out there. So if you lucky to find one keep it close to you and don't let go. Even if you have to travel e little further it will be well worth it.


Talking about the club to some degree is talking about the sensei again. Sensei is what makes a good club – and the students that train hard day in day out to reach their potential. Otherwise the club is just an empty space.
Most of karate clubs are run in different way no two are alike. This depends on the organization but mainly depends on the sensei itself even within organisation.

(Is important to remember that karate was developed for self-defence and this must remain the primary objective. Not the sport, character building or fitness.)

  Some dojos the primary objective is self-defence.

  Other dojos concentrate on karate as a sport (competition) is their primary objective.

  And there are other that concentrate in character building.

So here is little breakdown of the trio.


 In a dojo that the primary objective is self-defence the training philosophy and style is based how best to defend oneself. Your mind and body in trained to do just that. Everything you learn in based in everyday life.

Think what people do when they try to fight you?  They will kick you –punch you – push you – throw at you – grab you and so on...

So in a self-defend dojo your mind, body and soul will be trained how best to defend yourself against those points and more.


Because if someone attack you in real life will be brutal, quick and unexpected. And not with a perfect deep stance, kick or punch and so on... 

Competition. (karate as sport)

Training in a dojo that the primary objective is competition is very important to remember and understand that is not the same as in self-defence dojo.
Nowadays lots of student think that because they win a few medals in a competition can defend themselves. This belief can put you into more danger.
Although some of the training characteristics of (competition and self-defence) are similar – you don't train your body and mind in the same way.  

In competition the purpose of the training is to score points (to win - even if that means running around the ring until the time stops) through the application of (kumite) fighting principles while creating an exciting and competitive atmosphere.

(Whereas the purpose of training (kumite) fighting in the self-defence dojo is to be prepared to defend, kill or cripple an opponent in a realistic situation.)

Karate training for competition is based in semi contact with protection and restriction on what techniques are used. This is grate as a sport that the level of the karate-ka getting hurt is low and more and more people can join.  

Sadly – this doesn't represent the main purpose of karate as self-defence. As may know in real life situations there's no protection. At some dojos competition has become the main training purpose – this risks of undermining the purpose of karate moving forward as the student is not fully trained or explains the full purpose of karate.  

As you can see the philosophy – the style and the training methods of self-defence and competition are different.

So today is more important than ever to explain the student what karate is about and its original purpose (self-defence).

This is not to say that the rest cannot follow.  

Character Building.

Character building is very important to as all. From the day we are born in one way or another we are building it.

(Whatever your age or experience, building character is a process of lifelong learning that involves experience, leadership, and a constant dedication to growth and maturity.)

However character building in karate is based on the principles. You cannot build your character by taking part in a karate class that runs like a kindergarten. Unfortunately today there are so many them around.
In karate / martial arts the character is built over years through proper training. Our character plays a row in everyday life including in self-defence.  
The way we conduct and present ourselves to others can determine to what happened next.

(Traditional Karate systems emphasize character building aspects as a foremost principle with respects for instructors, colleagues, and opponents alike. Principles taught to students can be summarized by the following words; character, sincerity, effort, etiquette, and self-control. This is the true way for a martial art such as Karate-Do.)

In fact – for some old masters getting into a fight was considered a loss and disappointment even if they knew that will win the fight.

This is because of their training discipline and principals that have built up on their character and beliefs that the fighting is no longer an option.


In today's world is important to acknowledge that karate is not limited to anyone and people take up karate for many different reasons.
It may be because of this is why there are so many of us practicing karate today.  

In this article we are just highlighting the importance and the differences of karate. So we're not in any way trying to tell you what to do or which to choose.

FOR ME  –  karate first training purpose?  Is very easy to say  “SELF–DEFENSE ”  than the rest follows.

FOR YOU?  Your choice.  Whichever you prioritize I hope you have a great time and training.

I hope you enjoy the article.

Good luck and Good training
Thanks for reading
Ylli Sensei


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