If you've only ever seen martial arts in the movies but never tried it there's always the chance it won't meet your expectations.
You won't know until you try and there's a first time for everyone so that's why the first lesson is always free.
You've nothing to lose but the time it takes to find out.
If you just want to watch on your first visit then that's fine too and your second actual practice session will be free.
We train safely and practice with care and control but accidents do and will happen. Sometimes you'll get bruises or a bash on the nose but you'll love every minute of it and it's good preparation for what could happen if someone decided to attack you for real.
The better you get the less accidents you'll have as you'll gain more control over your body.
The classes are open to all levels of fitness so you can take them at your own pace. Karate mentality promotes health and fitness and the warm-ups and training will help increase and maintain a good level.
The fitter you are the better your karate will be as will your quality of life in general but you only get out of it what you put in.
Supplemental fitness training in your own time is excellent if you can manage it because it leaves more time in the classes for learning the technicalities of karate.
The literal meaning of karate is "Empty Hand" so you don't need much. A sweat towel is handy and hydration is important so a bottle of fluids for use before, during and after training is advisable.
Each child is unique and whether they are at the right stage in life to begin studying karate depends on them. As a guide we take children from six but a child who is really keen and has the right attitude could start from five years old.
Ages 5 to 9 should attend the kids classes.
Ages 10 and above should attend the junior classes.
If you have any queries don't hesitate to speak to Sensei Matt.
Regular training is the only way to improve your karate but you don't have to feel bad if you can't attend every class, there are sometimes other things that need our attention.
The standing order payments are set up to encourage participation and also to help the club keep going so by training often you get the best value.
If for any reason you are unable to train for an extended period your payments can be placed on hold until your return.
Sensei Matt Taylor is insured to teach karate but once you have decided to join the club you'll be asked to register as a member and obtain a license from our governing association Goju-ryu Karate-do International.
Most people know that in karate you begin with a white belt and with enough commitment end up with a black belt. There are in fact multiple stages of black belt too.
The various belt colours are a way of showing your progression through the grading syllabus and your acquired knowledge and skill level.
The belt system adopted by the G.K.I. and hence the T.K.A. is explained here.
The order in which you recieve your coloured belts in karate can differ between different clubs or associations but in general there is a similar pattern.
The order used by the G.K.I. is White, Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue, Purple, Brown and lastly black.
The belt system adopted by the G.K.I. and hence the T.K.A. is explained here.
If you take and pass a grading test you will be awarded your new belt at the end unless we are out of stock then it will be ordered and presented later.
At T.K.A. we promote recycling so the cost of the belt is included in the grading fee if you hand in your old coloured belt back and accept a recycled one. Some people like to keep their old belts and order their own which can be done here or here.
Just be mindful to choose an appropriate size when ordering.
It may be worth asking sensei Matt before ordering a new belt as he may be able to save you money on a bulk order.
Whilst not mandatory grading tests are the best way to monitor progress and recognise your achievement. The different coloured belts obtained through the grading system is also a good visual indication to training partners of your current skill level.
Grading tests will be scheduled every four months and cost £15.
Only students with an adequate attendance record that have demonstrated improvement since their last grading will be invited to test.
Upon passing a grading you will be given a new belt for your new grade, a certificate and your license book will be signed by Sensei Matt Taylor.
There's no need to book. Just turn up and train.
Items like rings, watches and neck chains can all cause injury to yourself or partners when practising a physical sport so must be removed. Such items can also be costly to repair when broken so it's better to avoid damaging them in the first place.
T.K.A. is open all year round for training.
Payment is made via monthly standing order which you will be asked to set up with your bank. Please see the prices page for details. Don't forget that your first session is free.
The karate uniform is called a gi and on-line is probably the best place to order one.
You can choose any manufacturer for your gi but T.K.A. would recommend Blitz as they are good quality and long lasting.
It is worth speaking to Sensei Matt if you would like to order a gi as he may be able to get it at a better price or save on postage if doing a bigger order.
When ordering a gi make sure that you choose the correct size according to your height and if it's your first gi make sure that it comes with a white belt.
For children we suggest buying a gi that leaves room for them to grow into, probably the next size up. The arms and legs can be folded or temporarily sewn up.
For sparring, safety pads for the hands and feet are also required and should be of the type listed below:
Always wash whites separately from colours. Coloured clothing loses its dye during washing and that ends up in the whites causing them to go dull.
Never wash your gi with your coloured belt. A lot of dye will come out of a new belt and tinge your gi.
Always avoid using a chlorine-based bleach to whiten your gi. Chlorine-based bleaches can react with oils from the skin and cause them to stain the fabric yellow. They can also damage some fibres.
To remove stains you can use a non-chlorine or oxygen bleach, the type that is designed for use on coloured clothing like Ace. Just apply to the stain before washing the gi.
Washing at 30°c is best for a longer lasting gi as higher temperatures are harsher on the fabric fibres. Some gis may shrink a little even at low temperatures.
My top tip for keeping a gi clean and white is to add a scoop of oxy-action powder to the wash. Those oxygen bubbles are magic and are available cheap from pound shops.
Another tip is to add white vinegar instead of fabric softener. It won't scent the washing but it's natural, softens the fabric and helps the whiteness. Turning your gi top inside out makes it easier to treat the sweaty arm pit areas and helps the washing machine clean them.
The badge and logo is that of the Goju-ryu Karate-do International association and is a representation of our style of karate.
Goju-ryu literaly means Hard-soft style.
At the centre of the badge is the Japanese Kanji symbol for hard, 剛 (Go) and that is surrounded by the circle which represents softness (Ju).
The hardness is contained within the softness and this represents an exterior gentleness built on an interior strength.
There's a few ways to tie your belt. This video shows one common and easy way to do it.
Bowing is a big tradition in Japan and it is a way of showing respect. In the west we shake hands a lot but in Japan they will bow instead. In Japan the tradition is more complex but in the dojo we use it to show respect to the dojo itself as well as those we are training with.
There's no religious connotation to bowing even though the Japanese word we use for bow, "Rei" could sometimes be misheard as "Pray".
There's been quite a movement towards training in bare feet recently in many sports. It's become trendy but karate practitioners have been doing it for a very long time.
We do it for a number of reasons:
There is ample free parking at the Loddon Hall next door.