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Tomorrow is the Day – Getting Ready For Your Free Trial At Sunshine Coast Karate!

Time has flown by and we are into the final days of our countdown. Only one day to go until many of us will come together for our Sunshine Coast Karate Come & Try Day.  It is shaping up to be a lot of fun, all topped with a free sausage sizzle for you to enjoy.

It can be a little overwhelming for some of us when trialling new activities, where as others are quick to adjust and fit themselves in with ease.  No matter what your starting point, this blog post will cover some of the essentials when getting started at Sunshine Coast Karate.  Much of this information is based on the most common questions that have been asked previously by students getting started.

In sharing this information with you, it is our hope that we can give you a warm welcome to Sunshine Coast Karate and help you relax and focus on enjoying your time at Sunshine Coast Karate.

Let’s get started:

1.  When is a good time to arrive at Sunshine Coast Karate and is there any paperwork to complete?
We always advise that families arrive 10-15 minutes prior to their class.  This will give a chance to complete a new student interview sheet (one per person), ask any questions and and get a feel for the facility. If you are trialling one of our later classes, feel welcome to come in early and watch the earlier classes.

At our Sign on Day, you’ll be welcomed to Sunshine Coast Karate by Debbie and senior members of the dojo.  Debbie, with the help of seniors will be responsible for taking care of you before and after your class.

Pictured to the left is Debbie with a few of her biggest fans at Sunshine Coast Karate.   Not only does Debbie do a great job taking care of our administrative needs, she looks out for all of our karate kids and always has time for a smile and giggle with the kids

Debbie started out at Sunshine Coast Karate back in 2006 on the sidelines watching her karate kids (now young adults). She continues to support her family with their training goals whilst also extending her support to the wider Sunshine Coast Karate community as our head administrative team member.

REMINDER – Bookings are required for trial lessons at the Come & Try Day. Class sizes for the sign on day are strictly limited, because we want to make it a great experience for all participants. So, if you have booked in to a class that is already full, one of our staff members will be in touch with you to make other arrangements so that you can still do a trial at another time .

2.  What should you wear?
Light, comfortable and loose clothing. Be mindful that you may be attempting kicking techniques and various seated stretches so take this into consideration when selecting clothes.
If you choose to join Sunshine Coast Karate, our admin team will be able to size you up with your very own white Pyjamas (karate gi).

3.  What about footwear?
We don’t train with footwear, so we encourage students to wear slip on style footwear to and from the dojo.  Before entering the dojo, you’ll be asked to take off all footwear and jewellery. There are storage shelves available to store your personal items.

3.  What else should you bring?
It is always a great idea to bring a hand towel and a water bottle to all classes that you attend.  You are welcome to take hand towels and water bottles into the training space with you.  Our teaching team will show you where you can store you water bottles when you come in.

BONUS – Top 10 Things You’ll Experience at Sunshine Coast Karate

But we don’t want to stop there, we’ve pulled together a list of the top 10 things you’ll experience when you come in for your trial lesson. Although, we won’t cover everything, but it will give you a bit of an idea.

So, let’s jump straight into it.

1.  Entering and Leaving the training area
The picture below is the entrance to the main training area at Sunshine Coast Karate.  For some, these stairs are the most frightening part of their walk as they enter the dojo.  For others, it’s a piece of cake and quite exciting.

If it’s all a bit scary, take a breathe with each step.  If it’s all a bit exciting, take a breathe with each step. You may be thinking, why the same advice for both?

Quality breathing practice will help you find “balance” and harmony within yourself.  It will help you enter a more optimal learning state and it will help you do the things that you know you really “should” do and not allow yourself to be overcome by fear and self doubt.

There are times when we need to cultivate and lift our energy, and there are times when we need to “calm” ourselves.  By deliberately breathing and allowing ourselves to feel and hear each breathe, with practice, we can alter our state relatively quickly.

At the top of the stairs, you’ll notice a small sign board.  I’ve taken a photo of it for you so you can read what it says (see below).  Students will kneel down in a position known as “Seiza” and they will simply take a moment for themselves to slow down and once again pay attention to their breathing.

You’ll see a poster there are 5 easy to follow steps for you to ponder on entering and leaving the dojo.  Once you have taken a moment for yourself, you’ll notice students doing a meaningful bow before standing up and moving into the dojo. It’s not uncommon to see students bow towards the front of the dojo and in the direction of the instructor before moving into the training space.

2.  You are in the dojo. What will you see?
Although we are unsure of how many people will be in attendance on the Sign on Day, we can give you a look at what the Sunshine Coast Karate training area looks like during one of our weekly karate kids classes.   There is a toilet and shower facility in the back corner of the dojo for students to use and a tap on the far side that you can refill your water bottles.

3.  Respect in the dojo
There is a good chance that you are going to see and do a lot of bowing, both seated and standing.  Our teaching team will do their best to support you, but if our team are occupied helping others, whilst you wait, see if you can follow along with a senior belt.  Senior students are usually positioned in the front line.

Two Japanese words you will hear often which express respect to others are as follows.
Please:  onegai shimasu
Thank you:  arigatou gozaimashita

You’ll also notice some of the following:

  • Students refer to the instructors as “Sensei” and senior students as “Senpai”.
  • If you need to capture the attention of instructors (you may need an additional water break etc), you can put your hand up or if you have a leader close by you can ask them for help.
  • After instructors have given instructions, if students understand what has been explained, you’ll often hear the students respond with “hai”.
  • When students line up at various times throughout the class, you’ll notice how students line up in order of level.

4.  What’s with all the yelling?
Throughout your study of karate, you’ll be encouraged to develop your kiai, which is a short, sharp yell.  Without going too much into what a “Kiai” is, it’s good to be aware that you will hear some shouts at various times of the class.  In the beginning you may choose to observe, but in time you’ll soon appreciate the power of developing Kiai as a part of your training.

5.  What are they saying?
It’s not uncommon to not understand all of what is being said in the dojo from day one, unless you have experience and knowledge of the Japanese language. You’ll hear a lot of counting from 1 to 10 in Japanese plus various one word commands.  We aim to use a mix of both English and Japanese in the dojo.  Be patient with all of us as we continue to polish our Japanese skills and of course be patient with yourself as you develop your skills.

6.  Dojo environment!!
It’s good to know that the training area is not air conditioned and can get a little warm.  Instructors will vary the teaching program accordingly, but it is also recommended that you stay well hydrated before, during and after classes.   Always have water with you and a hand towel is useful.

7.  Will everyone be looking at you?
One thing that is important to realise is that many people getting started, worry about what others are doing, and what others might be thinking of them.  Once you are on the floor, you will soon realise that everyone is just doing the best they can to grow themselves.  The only time you may experience people looking at you, is when we have asked our teaching team or students to assist you.

8.  Will I be training with people my own level?
Yes, you will have time to train with people at your own level, and you will have time to train with more senior ranking students.  There is so much that we can learn from everyone, so we aim to give students the opportunity to come together and learn from each other.  Instructors may give you a technique or a key theme to develop and you’ll work together to improve yourself and each other.

9.  What happens when the class finishes?
When it is time to wrap up the class, instructors will have everyone line up and sit in seiza together.  Everyone will participate in a brief meditation and  recite the “Showa”, a poem written by O Sensei, the founding instructor of Chito-Ryu Karate-Do. 

The Showa is quite difficult to adequately translate, but the English version that we use in our classes for beginners goes like this.

Showa

We who study chit?-ry? karate-d?
Must never forget the spirit of bushid?
With peace, perseverance & hard work
We are sure to reach our goals.

A photo of the Chito-Ryu Showa mounted on the wall at the Sohonbu Dojo (Yoseikan), the international headquarters of the International Chito-Ryu Karate-Do Federation.

10.  What next?
If you’ve have a great time and would like to learn more and join the Sunshine Coast Karate community, be sure to chat with one of our team before you leave after your trial lesson so that they can help you take advantage of any time sensitive offers available to you for being a part of the Sign on Day.

If it’s not your thing, we would like to thank you for coming along and having a go.  We are always grateful to meet new people and have the opportunity to help more people.   Please always feel welcome to return to Sunshine Coast Karate if your circumstances change.

If you have any further questions at this stage, send us through a quick message and we’ll do our best to help you.

We look forward to meeting you soon.

REMINDER – Bookings are required for trial lessons at the Come & Try Day. Class sizes for the sign on day are strictly limited, because we want to make it a great experience for all participants. So, if you have booked in to a class that is already full, one of our staff members will be in touch with you to make other arrangements so that you can still do a trial at another time .