FAQs

How do I join Tsutahashi Karate Club?

You are very welcome to come along to any of our training sessions:

WEDNESDAY CLASS:   6:30pm - 8:00pm
FRIDAY CLASS:   6:30pm - 8:00pm

Remember YOUR FIRST TWO CLASSES ARE FREE OF CHARGE!  

Classes take place at Ivybridge Community College, Harford Road, Ivybridge, Devon. PL21 0JA and speak with the Instructor/Secretary who will give you all of the information you need.  You are welcome to watch a class before trying - but it's better to give it a go!

If you would like to call in advance or ask any questions please contact Sensei Neil Rowley on 07546 924461, or email: info@ivybridgekarateclub.co.uk

You (or your parent or legal guardian if under 16yrs) will need to fill out a short form with information about your health details and contact information before training. 

Please see below for information on costs involved in joining Tsutashashi Karate Club and progressing in Karate (and note costs are far less than many other sports/activities, making it a very affordable activity.  Tsutahashi Karate Club is run on a not-for-profit basis). Back to Top

What should I wear?

When you first begin Karate, you should wear loose-fitting clothes e.g. T-shirt and jogging trousers. We train in bare feet. Once you’ve decided Karate is for you, you can purchase a Karate suit (Gi) which can be ordered for you by Tsutahashi Karate Club. Back to Top

How often should I train?

Tsutahashi Karate Club offers two training sessions a week (excluding Bank Holidays and Christmas week). The KUGB stipulates that students should train at least twice a week in order to grade. Training regularly helps students to retain Karate knowledge and build on their skills effectively. It also boosts fitness and helps to prevent injury as the body gets used to the various stances and movements of the martial art. The more you practice, the easier it becomes and the more you learn and enjoy Karate.  Back to Top

Are there any age restrictions?

Tsutahashi Karate Club’s minimum age is 5 years old, this due to insurance restrictions. However it is probably best to start from age 6 As we find younger children find it difficult to concentrate for the entire lesson . There is no upper age limit.  Back to Top

Who will my instructor be?

Your instructor will be a Black Belt of many years experience. Tsutahashi Karate Club has the privilege of exceptional instructors, with several decades of experience of Karate.  Chief Instructor Sensei Neil Rowley has achieved 4th Dan black belt level and has coached many students to black belt.

All are qualified instructors.  Although Karate etiquette means they may seem a little strict during lessons, they are all approachable, friendly and keen for you to enjoy the class and help you improve your Karate.  Do not hesitate to ask them any questions before or after the lesson, or in the appropriate manner during the lesson (which they will teach you!).  You are very welcome to contact us with questions, watch a class, or better still try your first TWO LESSONS are FREE! Back to Top

Does the club take student safety seriously?

Yes.  Safety is a top priority and all Tsutahashi Karate Club instructors are qualified, insured and are Enhanced CRB (DBS) checked. Back to Top

How often can I grade?

For your first grading you will need to have attended a minimum of 20 training sessions over a minimum two-month period. After that, gradings take place every three months (or more depending on grade) providing you have attended classes regularly (i.e. minimum of 24 classes in each 3 month period). Gradings are normally assessed by Andy Sherry (9th Dan) – the Chief Instructor of the KUGB.  Please see our Karate Gradings & Belts section for more information.  Back to Top

What is Karate training like?

Karate training involves:

For more details please see our Training section.  Back to Top

I am worried about sparring / fighting.

As a beginner, sparring is very formalised, allowing students to build confidence and control so that it is as safe and enjoyable as possible. Once students are familiar with the basics and confidence builds, sparring can become more fluid, but is always performed with respect to each sparring partner at any level, and higher grades will always tone down their sparring when partnered with a lower grade so that everyone can learn and enjoy the experience.  Back to Top

I would like to learn Karate for self-defence. Is Tsutahashi Karate Club suitable for this?

Yes. Shotokan Karate builds confidence and skill in self-defence and some classes will include Applied Karate which specifically deals with self-defence scenarios.  Back to Top

I would love to learn Karate but have a disability. Will this prevent me from joining the club?

We are as inclusive as possible and welcome students with disabilities. Allowance is made by our instructors in lessons and also by the KUGB in gradings for the extra mental and physical challenges individual students may live with.  Back to Top

What does it cost to learn Karate?

Tsutahashi Karate Club is run on a not-for-profit basis. We keep all costs as low as possible so that Karate is affordable for as many people as possible.

Training at Tsutahashi Karate Club's Ivybridge Dojo: 

  • PAY AS YOU GO: £3.50 per person for 90 minute classes.

Licence & Grading Book: Juniors £17-£22, Adults £18-£25. KUGB Application Form (or apply online via the KUGB website: www.kugb.org)
Grading Fees: Varies dependent on grade and grading location, but around £16 for Kyu Grades including a training session with a Senior KUGB Instructor.
Gi (suit): Students must eventually purchase a Gi (Karate suit). Prices vary depending on the quality of suit you choose, but start from around £15. Back to Top

What is the difference between the various Karate styles

All styles of Karate (as well as many other martial arts) tend to practice punching, striking, kicking and blocking. Thereafter the styles focus differently on power, strength, fluidity and range of techniques and stances, as well as the depth of philosophical and other aspects of the martial art. Shotokan Karate is thought of as a primarily strong and powerful style with deep stances for basics, progressing to more natural stances at advanced level. Shotokan is one of the four earliest styles of Karate developed in Japan (Shotokan, Shito-ryu, Wado-ryu and Goju-ryu).  Back to Top

How long does it take to become a Black Belt?

If a student trains twice a week, it normally takes around 3-4 years depending on the aptitude of the individual. We focus on quality learning and high standards such that when you reach black belt level you can feel proud of your skill and achievement rather than fast-tracking students to a meaningless black belt.  Back to Top

Is Karate at Tsutahashi Karate Club a contact sport?

KUGB Shotokan Karate is a semi-contact sport, which means students are trained to stop their attacks at the point of contact with the opponent, hitting without excessive force or injury. This requires far more skill, control and precision than just beating the other person to a pulp! At beginner level, contact is very light. As grade, skill and confidence grows moves become more dynamic. Full contact is used when we train with "focus pads" and "kick shields" to enhance training and to show students how their training is developing. Back to Top

What sort of people join your Karate club?

All sorts – hopefully including you! Our club welcomes individuals and families from 6yrs upwards, male and female. People have various reasons for starting karate: self-defence, fitness, to increase flexibility, to boost confidence, to be more social, to compete, for the more holistic training of mind and body or simply to try something new. A certain degree of fitness helps but this is something which can be built up over time and there is no requirement to be able to do the splits!

Determination and a good attitude are the most important qualities that students should have. All we ask for is self-motivation to train regularly and aim for that next belt. Each person is an individual and will learn at different rates, but we can ensure you are given the best quality instruction in a welcoming club.  Back to Top

Is it like being in the military?

There is certainly an element of authority, with traditional elements such as bowing to the instructor (Sensei), higher ranking grades and training partners. This promotes an air of discipline which is deep-rooted in the martial arts’ military history (and not connected with religion). It serves to remind us to leave our egos outside the dojo and respect each other. Respect is fundamental in martial arts as, in the end of the day, we are practicing potentially dangerous techniques on each other. These formalities foster this respect and add to the depth and enjoyment of the training experience.  Back to Top

Does learning Karate make you aggressive?

No – the opposite! Karate teaches confidence, respect and self-control. Students are more assertive and able to prevent fights before they happen as potential bullies or attackers will feel students are not easy targets. Learning Karate is wonderful for stress-relief and any latent aggression is channelled and released in a positive and controlled manner. Students understand fully that their skills are to be used for self-defence.  Back to Top

I have had a long break in training. Do I need to re-take my grade?

No. You are welcome to come back to training wearing the belt you have earned. Your instructor will help you return to the standard of knowledge and fitness and build on it in a safe manner.  Back to Top

Does my Karate licence give me insurance cover?

The licence provides member to member, public liability and professional liability cover. A copy of the insurance synopsis is held by the club.  Back to Top

How do I transfer from my current style/grade to the KUGB?

Students who transfer to the KUGB from other Shotokan Associations may retain their current grade but must re-grade within 12 months of the transfer and be assessed for their KUGB standard. They will be awarded an appropriate grade, which could be the same grade, a lower grade or the next grade up. They will then continue grading with the KUGB within the usual time scales.

Students from other styles who transfer to the KUGB may retain their grade for a maximum of twelve months but must take advice from a senior KUGB instructor or a grading examiner before taking a KUGB grading.

Students of 3rd Dan and above who wish to transfer to the KUGB will be advised by the Technical Committee regarding their integration into the KUGB grading system.  Back to Top