What is Shotokan Karate?

The style of karate practiced is Traditional Shotokan, one of the most widely practiced styles of karate in the world.

Training in a Traditional form has many benefits. The shy and withdrawn learn confidence, the aggressive learn control. Discipline, confidence, fitness, stamina, co-ordination, flexibility and humility are all areas in which you will see improvement with training in Karate

Shotokan Karate is a traditional martial art which advocates advancement based on effective techniques, with an emphasis on balance and muscle control. We believe it is important to develop each technique to its maximum level.

We adhere to the same high standards originally set by the founder of Shotokan Karate, Gichin Funakoshi. Character, Sincerity, Effort, Etiquette and Self-Control are our guiding principles

Although Shotokan Karate techniques are based on century-old knowledge, it is our application that sets us apart. English Shotokan Academy (ESA) instructors realise that each individual possesses different natural abilities, and that size and strength vary from person to person. Once you have acquired a strong foundation in the basics, our programme is tailored to match your physical capabilities, in order to maximise your self-defence skills. Should the need ever arise, you will possess a firm understanding of the mental and physical qualities required to defend yourself.

Can Anyone Practice Karate?

Anyone who is in reasonable health can train at Karate.

Yes, men, women and children, including people with physical disabilities, can do karate. The true spirit of karate is more about effort than ability. The only requirement is that you can maintain concentration for the duration of the lesson. Research has proven younger children have difficulty concentrating for long periods and it is for this reason why their lessons are normally limited to one hour.

The type of people that currently train at the club range from accountants, engineers, computer professionals, police officers, medical practitioners, students and people from many other walks of life. Karate students will improve their:

  • self-awareness.
  • self-confidence.
  • self-esteem.
  • as well as their fitness.

What are the benefits of learning 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 behavior, so that a true Karateka will fight with words and only employ physical violence as a last resort, with obvious benefits to society

What you will learn

The first thing you will learn is that Karate starts with courtesy and finishes with courtesy, this is one of the most important maxims.

Whether you wish to do Karate for self-defence, fitness, or just because you like the art, you will naturally develop good mental and physical discipline. Your training will consist of three major components, Kihon, Kata and Kumite.

  • Kihon means basics and covers kicks, strikes, sweeps and stances.
  • Kata are set sequences of movements designed to develop balance, strength, concentration, co-ordination, martial spirit and improve mental attitude.
  • Kumite is actual combat. Different, formalised routines are explained and practiced to develop your defence, attacks, counter-attacks and timing.

Karate for children:

Children’s starting age is from seven upwards and our unique children's programme is designed to instill:

  • Character and self-esteem.
  • Sincerity and respect.
  • Self-control.
  • Etiquette.

The opportunities for self-development through Karate study are significant but the benefits of involving your child in a karate programme are far greater.

The self-image, confidence, discipline, and control your child develops today will determine the degree of success and happiness he or she will experience as an adult.

Traditional Karate helps to develop these qualities in children. Parents and teachers continually report improvement in the behaviour of children who train regularly at our clubs. This is because of the emphasis placed on good manners and self-discipline.

Karate for adults:

Am I too old? This question is often asked by the more mature students who are amazed by the level of our older members. No one is too old to start Karate!

Traditional Karate is an exciting martial art: a blend of mental and spiritual elements. The study of traditional Karate produces an array of life-changing benefits not found in any other activity or hobby. It can be practiced at any age

What do I need to practice Karate?

Compared to many other sports and hobbies, Karate is an inexpensive pursuit. The only equipment needed is a licence, a karate suit and a belt.

Why do I need a licence?

Individual membership will only be available to bona-fide members of clubs affiliated to the ESA. Applications for an individual membership must be made by applying for an Annual Licence, which costs £25.00.

As well as providing a record of an individual member's achievements, the licence includes member-to-member insurance in the unlikely event of injury.

All E.S.A. instructors are qualified to a national standard. Just because a person wears a black belt, does not necessarily mean he or she is a competent instructor

Will I be expected to keep up with the class?

Beginners often find it daunting to join a class where everyone appears to know what to do apart from them.

It can take three or four sessions before the class format and basic routines become familiar to a newcomer.

Students should not be put off by this introductory period. Every other member of the class has, of course, been through a similar process themselves when they started.

How do I measure my progress?

E.S.A. students are entitled to take grading examinations, which take place, on average, every three months.

These gradings are conducted by senior examiners and there is a grading syllabus for juniors and seniors.

Coloured belts are used to denote grades. There are 9 grades, known as Kyu, below black belt, with 9th Kyu, orange belt, being the lowest grade.

How long will it take to achieve a Black Belt?

At first, grasping the principles and getting the co-ordination right is a little tricky.

Once these have been mastered, it is possible to achieve 1st Dan (Black Belt) standard, with regular and correct training, within 3 to 4 years.

A 5th Dan will have at least 20 years of experience and dedication.

Any other questions?

If you have a question that you cannot find an answer to, you could always drop the ESA Secretary an email.