Making a healthy lifestyle change or exploring a new exercise routine can feel overwhelming. This is especially true when getting involved with martial arts for the first time. New and potential practitioners often don’t know where to begin or how to sift through all of the information online when beginning their martial arts journey. Hopefully some of the materials posted here over the next few weeks will aid you in your search.
But am I in good enough shape to start training?
If you can’t run a mile today, nobody is going to expect you to complete a marathon tomorrow. Likewise, if you don’t know basic fighting techniques, nobody is going to expect you to put on gloves and spar your first time in the dojo.
A good dojo will start everyone off with the basics. At Indianapolis Shotokan Karate beginners learn basic blocks, punches, kicks, and stances at a reasonable pace in a supportive environment. As a new student at our dojo, you will build strength and endurance over time as you become increasingly adept with basic techniques.
In other words, you don’t have to be some super human, muscle bound person to start a martial art. You don’t want to go straight from the couch to the dojo floor either. If you can walk at a brisk pace for 20-30 minutes with no issues, then you are probably in good enough shape to start training. However, as with all changes to diet and exercise, you should always consult with your doctor before beginning a new routine if you have any questions or concerns about your ability.
As for kids – different schools have different class structures based on the child’s physical ability, age, and maturity. Some dojos will have programs for very young kids that focus mainly on developing self-discipline, respect for others, and forming good attention skills. Other schools will teach kid’s classes that require a greater degree of athleticism, making them better for older children and teens. Some dojos will have programs that bridge the two, allowing kids of all ages to train.
At Indianapolis Shotokan Karate, we tend to be on the more athletic end of the spectrum. Our kids are taught via the same traditional methods employed in our adult classes, but with shorter class times. For this reason, we require that children joining our dojo are at least 8 years of age. For youth who are elementary to middle school age, we also ask that parents be present throughout practice. Hey! If your child is starting practice with us, why not get the whole family involved? Training as a family is a great way to connect and grow together.
Beginners are always welcome at our dojo. Don’t live in Indianapolis? Check out our national website to find a dojo near you.
Regardless of your age, sex, or current physical condition, you can begin karate practice and enjoy it. Through serious martial arts practice, we can learn to face ourselves strictly and show our best spirit in all situations.
In our next post we’ll explore different motivations for starting a martial art. Stay tuned!