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What is it?

Karate is a martial art which originated in India and was developed at first in Okinawa and then Japan. There are many styles, but one of the most well known is Shotokan karate which was developed in its current form in the early 20th century by Funakoshi Gichin, and adopted throughout Japan not only as an effective fighting art but also as an excellent way of keeping fit and flexible. One of the world’s biggest karate organisations is the Japan Karate Association (JKA) which in England is represented by JKA England.

Why is it good for me?

You will benefit in a number of ways. The stretching exercises will give you flexibility, the techniques will strengthen your muscles and body, as well as giving you a good cardio-vascular work-out. As you progress, you will also feel confident that you can defend yourself when it matters.

How much does it cost?

Karate clubs charge for lessons in several ways. You might pay a joining fee for Club membership, a fee per lesson, or a monthly payment which entitles you to more lessons. JKA England as a governing body operates a licensing system which protects members with insurance as part of an annual membership fee. As part of Membership you will receive a book which records your successful “gradings” as you progress to achieving the black belt, or Shodan.

What equipment do I need?

None initially. A white karate suit is required after a few lessons. As you progress, especially if you enter competitions, you will need a mouth guard, hand protectors, and a chest protector