What is Karate?
Karate is a martial art that originated in Japan. It is considered a stand up fighting style that focuses on using empty hands and feet as weapons of self defense. In fact, Karate means "Empty (Kara) Hand (Te)".
There are many styles of Karate including Shito Ryu, Shotokan, Wado Ryu, and Goju Ryu.

What is the difference between Karate and Tae Kwon Do?
   Tae Kwon Do is a form of Karate that started in Korea. Tae Kwon Do is the national sport of Korea and is often trained as a sport martial art (however it is still an effective method of self defense). Tae Kwon Do tends to focus more on the kicking aspect and often favors the most athletic practitioners.
   Karate, as practiced in this dojo, is taught to employ both hands and feet and does not emphasize one over the other. Traditional Karate focuses on the perfecting of one's skills through disciplined practice and careful honing of one's abilities regardless of athleticism. We learn Karate but we also learn from the Karate. Competitions and tournaments are possible elements of the training but are not the goal.

Which type of Karate is practiced at the Family Karate Center of Tavares?
   The Family Karate Center of Tavares practices Shito Ryu. There are many branches of Shito Ryu. Our branch is called Sansei Shito Ryu.

Who can learn Karate?
   Anyone can learn Karate. However, Karate can be stressful on the body and those with physical infirmities should consult a physician before participating in a Karate program. That being said, Karate does not require that one be athletic or unusually fit to start. One learns to be fit and athletic through Karate. Even those with physical disabilities can benefit from Karate training

Is Karate like MMA?
   MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts and is what is practiced by participants in full contact competitive sports. MMA is a fighting sport.
   Karate is for self defense, not fighting. Although Karate techniques can be used to fight and are often the basis for MMA techniques, Karate training focuses on managing conflict and not seeking it.

Is Karate really effective for self defense?
   Yes. The techniques and strategies of Karate are very effective for self defense. Physically, Karate techniques are powerful and fast and can cause extraordinary injury. However, students of Karate learn that self defense is much more than punching and kicking.

What is a Black Belt?
   A Black Belt in Karate signifies that a student has reached the rank of Shodan or higher. Shodan means first level. A Shodan has demonstrated expert skill with basic Karate techniques and a deep understanding of their application. However, a Shodan (or first degree black belt) is, in fact, at the first level. In Karate, Shodan is the beginning of understanding.

What it take to become a black belt?
   When asked how one becomes a black belt in Karate, Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan, replied simply, "Don't miss class".
   Advancement in Karate requires dedication more than anything else. Success is the result of discipline, patience, and perseverance. Anyone who can practice with these qualities will succeed. These are qualities of the mind, the body and the spirit. Those who only come in body will not fare so well.

Do I have to spar?
Sparring is definitely apart of the instruction and at intermediate levels is required to progress. However, sparring is not emphasized. Free-sparring is what we consider to be an uncontrolled exercise. While engaging in such an exercise has value, we spend more time in controlled activities. Sparring is and should be an opportunity to practice our learned skills but it takes close supervision to ensure that it doesn't turn out to simply be a exercise of pride.

Am I too Old?
Age does not determine your ability to participate in Karate classes. Advanced age should not disqualify anyone, however, some infirmities may. It is best to consult a physician before participating in any strenuous activity. However, this school is technical and does not require any unusual athletic ability. If you are capable of standing for class and putting forward some exertion and have a desire to learn, you will succeed.