Answers to common questions are below. Don't see what you're looking for? Feel free to e-mail, call or come by - information on how to reach us is on the Contact page.
What makes JKR different?
Unlike many of the original karate organizations, which have often splintered, JKR is still connected directly to our founder and our roots. We believe strongly that karate is even more about character than it is about self-defense or competition, and that it can add value for all who practice it. Karate makes life better!
Do you offer children's classes?
Not at this time, but as we grow, we hope to add them. Currently, we are accepting students age 18 and older. Younger students may be admitted on a case-by-case basis.
How much physical contact is involved?
Contact between students is closely monitored by the instructor to ensure a safe training environment. There is no contact at all between students when they begin training. Over time, as greater control is gained through practice, light contact in a controlled environment will be introduced for drills, and following that, light contact sparring for competition. There will be NO FULL CONTACT TRAINING.
Do I need to wear a gi (karate uniform)?
Yes, but you do not have to purchase one prior to starting class. Students are expected to have purchased or ordered a gi within the first month of training. JKR New England can supply good quality uniforms at discounted prices. In the meantime, just wear loose comfortable workout gear.
Besides the monthly cost of classes, are there any other fees?
There is a $15 fee for membership in the parent Japan Karate-Do Ryobu-Kai organization paid once every calendar year. This ensures the recognition of your rank and entitles you to attend JKR events and seminars. There is also a $35 fee for each rank test below black belt, which covers the belt and certificate of rank. Testing fees are only paid once per rank; if you need to re-test, you do NOT have to pay another testing fee.
How long until I get my black belt?
That depends on you - how hard you work, how often you train, how well you listen, and how you conduct yourself. Although it is possible to earn 1st dan (degree) black belt in 3 or 4 years, unlike a lot of martial arts schools, we do not "guarantee a black belt" in any set length of time. What we do guarantee are rigorous, consistent, fair standards, regular testing, and that not only will we push you to achieve things you might not have thought you could do, but that whatever rank you hold, you will have earned it. After all, the color of your belt should be a true reflection of your ability, and if getting a black belt was easy, everyone would do it!
Is karate the best martial art?
There is no "best" martial art; there is only "the best martial art for you." Shindo Jinen Ryu is well-rounded, and while karate instruction in a lot of schools focuses almost exclusively on striking, JKR remembers where we come from - karate practitioners were the original mixed martial artists, after all - and we include throws, take downs, joint locks and more. That said, karate isn't for everybody. If it turns out that it's not for you, don't be discouraged - keep looking until you find something that is. But in the meantime, give us a try!
Will I have to learn Japanese?
A certain amount of "dojo Japanese" is necessary for a very good reason: standardized terminology. Traditional karate schools use the same names for techniques in order to make it easier to learn from one another, talk about karate, and teach. You may well have the opportunity to train with senior instructors from Japan - many of whom speak little or no English - and because the terms are standard, you'll still be able to understand what is being taught. Remember, if you know words like "deja vu" or "taco" or "bandana" - or even "karate" - you already have some non-English vocabulary. Picking up a few Japanese words and phrases over time is a lot easier than you think!
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