Q Why study Shotokan karate?

You can learn a lot from the study of Shotokan Karate. What you gain from karate training depends on how much effort and interest you invest in it. In general, you can get in shape or stay in shape, acquire self-confidence and techniques for self-defense, learn discipline of both body and mind and gain connection between the two as well.
Karate is particularly good as a means of physical exercise because it uses all parts of the body, including aerobic and anaerobic types of training,  and increases flexibility. Karate can also be a sport; many people enjoy participating competitively. Finally, traditional Japanese karate can open one up to new philosophical, cultural ideas and ways of being.

Q How is Shotokan Karate different from other styles of karate?

Shotokan karate is a traditional style developed in Okinawa at the beginning of last century by a man named Funakoshi Gichin. Funakoshi was a school teacher who strived to connect the fundamentals of karate training to scientific principles – from physics to body mechanics. Shotokan karate is often described as a strong, rooted style of karate which uses many linear techniques and concentrates on generating power and focus from the center of the body. Shotokan karate is the most similar to other traditional Japanese styles of karate – most commonly Shito-ryu, Gojo-ryu and Wado-ryu and their other derivatives – but differs greatly from Chinese and Korean martial arts.

Q What goes on in karate training?

The SDSU Shotokan Karate Club trains Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays. Given the large number of school holidays that result in the closure of the Peterson Gym, we try to manage as few breaks as possible.

Each training session begins with a 10 minute warm-up. These warm-ups are designed to increase flexibility and prevent any sports related injuries.

Basic Exercises
Practicing different Stances, Punches, Blocks, Kicks and Combinations.

Kata and Kumite Practice
A Kata (form) is a series of movements, likened to a dance. It is designed to defend against a number of imaginary opponents approaching from different angles.
Kumite (sparing) is defense practice against an actual opponent. There are many different levels of Kumite, ranging from basic 3-step sparring (the attack being known in advance) to free-sparring (the most commonly recognized).

Q When do we get to spar ? Do we have to spar?

These two questions are common concerns among those beginning karate training. Some people can’t wait to get out there and fight while others have no desire to fight at all.
Each student must first learn the basic stances and become proficient at moving around in those stances before they can affectively apply the techniques with a partner.
Sparring in karate is an developed slowly through many years of training. No one in our club is ever rushed into sparring unless they feel ready to defend themselves. Our teachings are not based in fear or intimidation.When the techniques learned in karate are practiced long enough to become second nature, they can be very useful in a self-defense situation. It is our sincere hope, however, that by the time you develop useful power and effective techniques you will also have cultivated the type of self-confidence and self-knowledge that will allow you to avoid theses types of situations. The best defense is no defense at all.

Q Do I have to be in shape to take karate?

It is always advisable to get your physician’s permission before starting any exercise program. That being said, the training we provide for beginners does not require any special athletic ability.
Even people who consider themselves to be out of shape or overweight can greatly benefit from our training, perhaps even more so than those who are already very flexible and dedicated athletes, since karate can become a life-long habit.
You are welcome to watch our sessions, where people of all shapes and sizes, women and men, train.

Q So how do I sign up?

For beginners’ training start dates, look out for flyers posted all around the SDSU campus at the beginning of Fall and Spring Semesters or check this website. You can also call (619) 335 7547 or email us at sandiegoshotokan[at]gmail[dot]com
For your first day, please come dressed in comfortable athletic clothing and be ready for some stretching and light exercises.
You may join the intermediate/advanced training at any time, with approval from Sensei Perrault.
You are also welcome to come watch any of the training sessions (intermediate/advanced immediately follows beginner’s training).