Q.What do I wear to the beginner class?
A. Please wear comfortable clothing that you can move freely in, preferably long pants/sweatpants and a t-shirt. Please note, for safety reasons there is no jewelry, wrist bands, watches, piercings etc allowed to be worn during practice times.
Q. Can I come watch a class before signing up?
A. Yes, absolutely. We encourage people who are interested in our classes to drop by the dojo to watch a class and ask questions before or afterwards. If you would like to come watch or participate in a free class please contact the SMU club for details.
Q. When/Where do I pay?
A. If you are a full time Saint Mary’s University student or SMUfit member dues are $40 dojo dues per term. Dojo dues can be paid at the dojo at the beginning of each term.. (Must be 16+ years of age to register)
Q. Are there any forms that need to be filled out?
A. Yes, there are a number of waiver forms that need to be completed before you can participate in the course. One waiver form is required for the Homburg Centre for Health and Wellness, and can be downloaded here.
Q. I have previous experience in a different style of martial arts or karate, do I have to participate in the beginner class?
A. If you have previous martial arts experience please speak with the club sensei (instructor). Depending on what level of experience you have and from what style of karate or martial arts you may be able to join the advanced class. In many cases though it's good to participate in the beginner class if the style you practiced previously was significantly different from Shotokan Karate. This is simply to allow new members to learn our specific organizations forms and practices.
Q. Do I have to purchase a uniform and when/where do I get one?
A. If you wish to progress into the advanced class, participate in clinics or tournaments you are required to have a karate uniform (gi). Our club puts in an order once per term for gis for those who wish to purchase through us. You can also purchase a gi online or from a local martial arts store as long as it is a white, traditional, karate uniform without any decorations of patches.
Q. What happens if I miss classes?
A. Life can be busy and unpredictable, so missing some classes is inevitable. The beginner course does cover a lot of material though so it's recommended that members who miss classes practice the material they've already covered at home to stay as current as possible and not lose ground.
Karate however is a physical skill that needs to be practiced in order to develop and refine. A minimum attendance is required if a member wishes to be considered for advancement to the next belt level. Attendance is taken in class.
Q. What are the requirements for belt tests?
A. Some people enjoy the challenge of grading and advancing in rank as it allows them to benchmark their progress and set future goals within karate to work towards. Advancing in rank is not a requirement of the dojo as our main purpose is to give our members the opportunity to train and enjoy the traditional art of karate. For those who do wish to participate in belt tests they must train regularly, meet the minimum class attendance, and reach the appropriate proficiency level of the belt they will be testing for. You can view more information on belts tests here.
Q. Is there contact?
A. Our style of karate is traditional and non-contact in the dojo. However there is always the possibility of incidental contact or injury in any martial art, sport, or physical activity. Injuries are very rare in our club and we strive to ensure the safety of all members during practice. Non-contact does not mean that there is no physical interaction between participants though as this is still a martial art and there will be physical interaction through drills and partner work.
Sparring at tournaments through Karate Nova Scotia does have light contact rules. All participation in tournaments in the sparring and non-sparring divisions is 100% up to each member and is not a requirement for advancement in rank at the dojo.
Members practicing kicking techniques with focus pads.
Homburg Centre for Health & Wellness
Saint Marys University