Frequently Asked Questions
Just starting out? We answer common questions about Seido Karate.
You may feel you have lots to learn about karate, particularly if it’s your first time training in a martial art.
We hope these questions and answers will be helpful for both new karateka (karate students) and their families.
Guidance for Beginners
Tracksuit pants/shorts and a t-shirt are fine for training. However, after their first grading, students are expected to wear the traditional uniform, known as a ‘gi’.
Please remove all jewellery (or tape over it) before the class begins. This is to avoid damaging it or causing an injury to anyone else, especially when engaged in an activity with a partner.
We recommend that you leave all jewellery and valuables at home.
You can train in as many classes (appropriate to your level) as you want during the week. As a beginner, there are three classes available per week. Once you’ve graded to white belt, you’ll be able to attend others. See the class timetable for more details.
The 9:30am Saturday morning Family/Beginners class is ideal for adults and children to train together.
During the weekdays, we run separate Brat Pack, Children’s and Adult classes to suit beginners and more experienced students who have completed their first grading. Look at the class timetable for more details.
Your first four classes are completely free. We want you to try out Seido Karate without any financial pressure. Most of all, we want students who enjoy and benefit from the community spirit we try to foster.
After your trial period, we offer a great value beginner’s package for $100, which lasts until your first grading. Whether this takes three months or three years, we’re here to support you!
After you’ve graded, you’ll then need to sign up as a member of Auckland Seido Karate. Payments can be made monthly, annually or per term. There’s a range of options to suit. For more details, here is the membership information to see what happens after that.
There are 10 levels, known as ‘kyu’ (belt) grades, before reaching the first black belt level, Shodan (1st Dan).
Beginners start at 10th kyu and work their way up to 1st kyu.
Progression through the kyu grades is indicated by either a change in belt colour or black tab on one end of your belt.
The kyu grades from lowest to highest are:
10th kyu: White belt
9th kyu: White belt with a black tab (Advanced white belt)
8th kyu: Blue belt
7th kyu: Blue belt with a black tab (Advanced blue belt)
6th kyu: Yellow belt
5th kyu: Yellow belt with a black tab (Advanced yellow belt)
4th kyu: Green belt
3rd kyu: Green belt with a black tab (Advanced green belt)
2nd kyu: Brown belt
1st kyu: Brown belt with a black tab (Advanced brown belt)
Shodan: First-degree (1st Dan) black belt
Each kyu grade has its own list of karate skills to learn before you’re ready to move up.
It generally takes at least five years of regular training to grade to first-degree black belt, known as Shodan (1st Dan).
Grading is by invitation only once students reach 1st kyu (Advanced brown belt).
After Shodan (1st Dan), there are another eight black belt grades to reach the highest level of Seido Karate.
Those who attain their Shodan (1st Dan) say becoming a black belt is really only the beginning of your karate journey!
There are four general gradings per year. These are usually held in April, June, September and December.
Each grade level has a prescribed syllabus to learn, and it is your responsibility to make sure you know your material before attempting a grading.
Students who train regularly (three or more times per week) tend to grade every three to six months for the first two years or so, then less frequently as the minimum grading requirements increase.
When you feel ready to grade, discuss this with your class instructor first before completing the grading application form.
It’s important to remember that your Seido Karate training is not a race.
Everyone trains to their own ability and around their other family/work commitments, and everyone’s journey is different.
The answer is ‘No, not from day 1′. We don’t want you to get injured trying to do something you have not been trained for. The Beginners’ classes gradually introduce techniques that you can use to attack (kick, punch or strike) and defend yourself (block and basic self-defence) against an opponent.
For this reason, sparring isn’t introduced until you reach green belt. This is the 2nd or 3rd year of training – depending on how quickly you progress. During sparring, a strict awareness of the skill level and ability of your opponent governs your actions.
We want to ensure that anyone can train safely and be constructively challenged in a safe environment. This is managed by your instructor.
If you wish to leave the class for any reason once the class has started, ask the class instructor for permission. On your return to the dojo floor, as a mark of respect for the on-going class, please kneel at the back of the class your head bowed facing away from the shinzen, with your back at an angle to the shinzen. The instructor will then call you back onto the dojo floor to continue the class.
If you know you need to leave the class before it ends, inform the instructor at the beginning of the class so he/she can tell you to leave at a convenient moment.
In the first instance, check out our beginners’ guide to Seido Karate.
For further reading, we can recommend the following titles:
- Human Face of Karate, Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura
- Technique and Spirit, Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura
- In The Shadow Of The Future: A History of Seido in New Zealand, Garry Szeto
Important Dojo Etiquette
Respect plays a big part in the culture of karate. If you are learning a new martial art, then you must have respect too. We bow to acknowledge the spirit of the dojo and all the people who train there, both past and present. There are absolutely no religious connotations, it’s merely showing respect.
Yes, there are bench seats provided at the back of the dojo floor to sit on.
As a mark of respect, please remove your shoes, hat and overcoat, and put your mobile phone on silent before you enter the dojo. There are shoe racks on your left as you approach the dojo floor.
No food (including chewing gum and sweets) are to be eaten on the dojo floor.
Just as etiquette plays an important part of our training, it is equally important outside the dojo. The principles and values of Seido Karate such as love, respect, obedience, patience and courtesy, are all completely transferable.
Seido Karate is known to be a strict traditional Japanese style and that is why we practice these traditions today.
When addressing a black belt outside the dojo, you should call them Senpai, Sensei, Kyoshi or Jun Shihan – unless they ask you to call them by their first name.
Facilities at the Dojo
The dojo has men’s and women’s changing rooms, toilets and showers.
There are no lockers, however, there are cubby-holes to store valuables on the dojo floor.