View Full Version : new to karate

27th November 2002, 06:07
hello...ive always wanted to try karate but dont really have any background in it (ive never done it before). what would you recommend to get me started? i figure you all are karate buffs and can enlighten me :)

27th November 2002, 19:03
If you are interested in Shito-ryu Karate, Minobu Miki
Sensei has an affiliated dojo in L.A.
His site is www.jko.com.
They have an very good reputation.

Hank Irwin
28th November 2002, 03:30
Kara-Te, came from Okinawa.:D

Kevin Meisner
29th November 2002, 01:46
Marie, why do you want to do karate? Your reasons will help with the answer.


Hank Irwin
29th November 2002, 03:39
I can, myself, only think of a few reasons to study life-protection arts. To learn to fight, protect one's self and others, or to make money at it(ego-driven), at least here in the states. The latter being the worst reason, and the most despicable. In the orient MA was a way of life. But not only combatants were the focus. I am sure there are many that will have more reasons for taking up MA, but most of those reasons are superficial. Contrary to popular belief you do not take MA to "get in shape" all though MA will do that. The motivation is the reason. For the most part people will look for something easy. Real MA are NOT easy. It takes a lifetime to get the full effects, and you will experience many levels of pain and pleasure way before you get to the end. No MA, I repeat, no MA is for the weekend warrior. If you want to get in shape, go to the gym. In this day and age everyone should benefit from MA, but there are those that will not make it for being to passive or meek. The world IS a dangerous place. In my world a real Martial Artist is a highly held position in life. There are many that feel the same as I do. Duty, honor, obligation and patriotism to one's country is a must in MA. Not as many human beings unfortunately have this moral fortitude as we would like. Miss Marie, whatever MA you decide to take just remember, there is no such thing as bad MA, only bad Martial Artists. My personal suggestion, go visit some of the schools and ask questions. Just remember to seek with open heart and open mind. Be respectful and humble. Do a little research also. The internet is full of imformation, but be carefull of what you accept as "fact". Seeing is not believing, feeling is believing. Sorry to ramble like that guys & gals. Hope everyone had a good Turkey Day!!

29th November 2002, 09:49
Duty, honor, obligation and patriotism to one's country is a must in MA. (Emphasis added).

Yep. Those are four good reasons for learning to fight and defend yourself. Not because they are important for studying Japanese Martial Arts, but because they are four of the five things which will get you into a fight the most quickly. The other being religion.

Flag draping will not help in your choice to study budo, whatever the reason, but they will help you get into knock down, drag out fights. Budo doesn't always help one escape getting to hold his/her head in one's hands, either.

I couldn't care less if one's reason is "to be the best person I can be" or for President Theodore Roosevelt's reason, because he heard it would help him lose weight. The choice is yours. None of the other stuff matters.


Hank Irwin
29th November 2002, 13:32
Martial Arts developed from war torn experiences. Todays Martial Artist is not always developed from the "Warrior caste". He/she is an Olympic Warrior, massing trophies and ribbons. Never touching the surface,... unless they have good heart. Then they will find "the way". Ego drives us, all of us. It is poison. It is like war, war of the spirit. Duty, honor, obligation and patriotism is fostered from a sense of what is right and wrong. This was a constant of belief for the Japanese warrior. To throw away those martial values is a disaster for mankind. Martial Arts is not a recreation or a hobby. Those that think so are so far from the truth. Whatever your reasons for taking MA are just remember, it ain't for the weak at mind, body or soul.

29th November 2002, 14:29
What would you recommend to get me started?

1. Look in the phone book for the closest karate dojo.

2. Sign up for a month.

3. If you don't like it, go to the next one. The right dojo and teacher is more important than the right style.

4. Persevere.

good luck,

29th November 2002, 14:42
Hi Marie,

1. Where in L.A. are you (how far will you drive)?

2. What do you want from karate (self defense, competition, discipline .....)?

Steve Beale
Pasadena, CA

1st December 2002, 03:26
thank you all for replying :)

right now im in westchester. i cant drive any more than 5 minutes away b/c i dont have a car. at home im in northridge, and id be willing to drive no more than 10 minutes.

basically id like to do karate b/c i think it would make for a good activity/sport. ive always been interested in it. i also think it would be a good way to release energy. and for some reason the idea of kicking and striking appeals to me.

i know these arent really deep reasons for wanting to do karate, but i hope youll forgive me as i dont know too much about it.

thanks again :D

Hank Irwin
1st December 2002, 18:41
You may want to go to a gym. I don't think Karate per say is what you are looking for, maybe. You can go to the "Y" for both too. A workout and self defense. Yoga too in most cases.

2nd December 2002, 03:09
We've had plenty of students walk into our doors who didn't know much about karate, or even why they wanted to do it, short of having some basic attraction to the activity. At any rate, they liked it, and kept doing it.

Whether you want to learn it because you just watched a great kung-fu flick, you want to learn self-defense, get stronger, lose weight, gain flexibility, immerse yourself in Asian culture, compete, release stress or just pay a lot of money for cotton pajamas it all comes back to whether or not you like it or not. When people ask you why you do karate, I can't think of a better, or more honest reason than "I like karate." That's the only thing that is going to keep a person coming back voluntarily.

So Marie, I would say to do a couple things:
1. See what is in your area via the Yellow Pages or word of mouth.

2. Make a list of the styles offered in your area, and then visit the library, Barnes and Noble, or google.com and learn a bit about the style and see if their specific approach appeals to you.

3. Call the places you are most interested in, and see if you can watch a few classes, talk to an instructor, or look into taking a trial class.

4. Go to the trial class. Focus on how the teacher establishes a rapport with you. Look at what he says he teaches, and look for those abilities in his senior students. it doesn't matter if he has a wall of trophies if all of his students suck (I'm using "he/his" in a generic/lazy sense. there are women out there teaching as well who are very talented.)

5. Try the other schools.

6. Make the best informed decision you can. This may be to join a certain school, orrrr that karate isn't for you. More importantly than the specific art/style (and what people say about said art on the internet) is the instructor's ability to teach you and meet your needs.

Prince Loeffler
2nd December 2002, 06:15
Dear Marie B.

If I am correct, I believe that I have a Friend of runs The World Karate Training Center in your area. Westchester is really such a small city, so if won't more than 5 minutes drive.

Let me know and I will give you his phone number.

Prince Loeffler

Hank Irwin
2nd December 2002, 13:13
When I first started training the closest dojo was over 10 miles away. Big deal. If you really want something for yourself that you know will only do you good, what do you do? To reach any profieciency in any athletic endeavor, weather it be MA or Sports you must start from the beginning, fundementals. There are so many avenues to explore that are available, it just depends on how commited you are to your decissions.(sorry for the terrible spelling) Some may make it not so convenient to your "schedule". You wouldn't be the first, believe me. Mariechan, the MA world is a great and interesting world, even now you have people interested in your endeavors and showing you the way, as it should be. Your training has already begun I think.:D

2nd December 2002, 14:38
You may want to consider widening the commute distance but here goes ...




If I were in your situation, I would check out Cal Sate Northridge SKA. The price has got to be right. If they are anything like the Cal Tech club you will get a great workout.

I live near the Cal Tech club and I was discussing their workout with one of their Sandans and he said "what are you crazy, you are way to old to join that class. It's all people in their late teens, early twenties, you would never survive". I'm taking that as a challenge!

Steve Beale

Hank Irwin
3rd December 2002, 03:23
Sometimes having too much to choose from can be very confusing. The simple way to find what you are looking for is to be direct in your thinking. Are you modern in your approach to life, or are you traditional in your aspects? Hard not to be modern in these times, I must say though. I myself think I should have been born a long time ago. But anyway, if their is a question as to where this thread gets its answers from, it should be from an Okinawan system. And not a modern one either. KARATE came from Okinawa, old Okinawa, when it was called Uchina. If that is what you want to learn, seek an Okinawan system. If you want to learn aikido you should go to the source,Nihon Aiki Jutsu. If you want to learn anything, you go to the source from which the origins came.


3rd December 2002, 09:19
When you are in the Valley, there are many karate school, most which are most likely competitive in nature. I think your reasons for starting training in "hard" budo are fine. I think the reasons will change down the road, as they did for me. I always came back to the judo dojo, though.

I know great judo dojo near Westchester, but not specific karate dojo.

I've probably been in every neighborhood of Southern California, to train, or for shiai, but others would be the ones to recommend a school.

I think her stated reasons are clear, so pick three, go to them, and see what's up. Just don't sign any long term contracts.

BTW: Everything in the Valley is ten minutes away. Anywhere else, they are twenty minutes.


14th December 2002, 21:04
I never really studied karate to any extent. My purpose was only in hard randori with another karate school, mainly shorin-ryu. I liked sparring with them in particular because they hit fast, but not as hard as others. Plus, I had a friend who was involved in shorin-ryu which made it a bit easier to get into the dojo (mainly on Saturdays when others came to work out). Bloody noses and bruises were the result, but I did find I could get inside quickly enough so not to be at their distance. They were like stiff boards when thrown. I also needed proof at that time that what I was doing was effective. Both were.

I did, for a very short time, about three months, learn a little shotokan when I was young. My judo teacher brought in a teacher, and we, the judo students, were his first. The problem really came down to two things. He didn't speak any English, we were young and didn't like to hit each other.

It didn't last, which is probably the one, single reason which stopped any advancement.

Anyway, aside from knowing where they are, I don't really have enough experience to comment, except in general. Sparring/randori was worth the pain.


Hank Irwin
15th December 2002, 03:31
No Shorin-ryu I have ever seen is stiff and hard, unless you study with a bogus school or if they are tournament style(or white belts). And as for sparring, no such thing as not hitting hard. Shorin-ryu as many other Okinawan systems train to punch through opponent, otherwise bogus or tournament oriented, which is no contact IMO. Marksan, were you doing kumite with white belts? What martial art is your root if I may ask? I hear randori, so I am assuming you are a Nihon KarateKa ne? As for Mariechan, a good place to start for combat arts is plain ole' fisticuffs, boxing. There are many that will train you for pugilism without having to go the circuit. Especially if you just want to get in fighting shape and learn the "basic" tools for self defense. Boxing will not complete that in the street, but it sure will help, especially with learning to get out of the way. Sparring is a must, you can not rely on just going through the motions. You MUST make contact eventually. If this frightens you maybe fisticuffs/MA's aren't for you. But then again, there are many schools that will get you in shape, but won't teach you the first thing about self-defense, except point fighting, and getting yourself hurt in the long run. Take a chance, be cautious, but try. Take the time to go "shopping" around at least. Other than that I don't think anyone else could give any better advice. Martial Arts are for EVERYONE!


I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday, heiwa...

29th December 2002, 19:08
Marie, there is a wonderful Shotokan Karate club at the Venice Japanese Community Center on Braddock and Centinela. They also have Judo classes if you aren't too sure about having to punch and kick. The judo will probably get you into better physical condition and give you more confidence about self-defense much more quickly than karate.
George Yanase

30th December 2002, 23:27
Originally posted by MarkF
Hey, Hank,
I meant hard randori as in full contact, no protection, but pretty much it was understood that certain areas were out of bounds. We didn't discuss it, but a punch or strike landing too close for comfort or just too much spit on the ball, and someone would stop, and I'd ask the other guy "Are you OK?";) I found shorin-ryu to be faster and likely to land more punches, but not nearly as hard as other styles.

Yeah, without pads those fast punches equal bone-on-bone, bone on soft tissue. Slow strikes equal ground time. How you gonna win in the street when the adversary can see it coming? As for other styles hitting harder, that's ridiculous. I've sparred practically every style, even Muay Thai, and they are all the same. Telegraphing and limited movement. I'll knock you out (not you specifically Mark) with speed and power. My knuckles are much harder than nose cartilage, or cricoid cartilage. Randori or any free-sparring is just that, a pseudo-mock battle.

As for judo, I did it when I was a kid. It gave me a solid base to work from, but it is not reality oriented. I thought boxing was much better as a combat art. That slow Japanese Goju Ryu, Shotokan gyaku-tsuki crap will not work in the street, ever. Conversely, if I kick, punch, stomp, toss, slam, lock, choke and come from various angles what is a sucker to do? In my experience nothing. All this is done with juho not stiff-as-a-board anti-relaxation. We learn lots of throws and counters to such as well as submissions. What ryuha did you spar with? Anyways, that is what real Shorin teaches you to do. Forget sparring! That's for novices!!!

Speed really does kill....

Hank Irwin
31st December 2002, 01:51
Hell, two man drills no matter what the format are always rough. Even though they may be pre-arranged, you still have good contact if properly executed. Your body-change must be quick and your conditioning better be up to par. Otherwise, you get more than just being sore at the end of the day. The Shorin-ryu I learned is expansive to say the least in it's array of standing and on the ground techniques. Tegumi, is a fundamental principle of To-De. Many old Okinawan schools teach it, but to the advanced student nowadays. There is much to be said of Okinawan Karate-Do that is muddled in the truth of it all. Mariechan, how's it going? Ok I hope. :D

31st December 2002, 01:59

Can you please tell me who you trained muaythai with or what camp you visited in thailand or abroad?

Hector Gomez

Hank Irwin
31st December 2002, 02:13
This post was intended to give Mariechan a little insight. Hectorsan, why don't you just send BryanSan a private e-mail, instead of addressing him in this manner here. You are bringing animosity from one thread to another.

31st December 2002, 03:11
My intentions are not to hijack this thread but I would also like to clear up any misinformation that Marie b might be getting.

Marie b.,I apoligize again but my advise to you would be to treat this decision like a marriage,you definitely would not run off with the first person you run into,same goes with martial arts schools.

In today's world of mass communications you are very fortunate that you can really do your homework and find a school that is compatible with your needs.

My advise,would be to visit not just one school but a couple of schools in your area speak with the instructors and ask to view the classes,you cannot learn self defense from videos but you can educate yourself on the many different styles and systems of self defense thru the internet or even the bookstore,hopefully you will be able to make the right decision as to which one is more compatible with your personaltiy & character.

Remember martial arts sometimes can be like religion and instructors can act like their method or way is the best and only way.

Hector Gomez

PS:Good luck In making that big comittment.

31st December 2002, 07:52
Originally posted by Kimura

Can you please tell me who you trained muaythai with or what camp you visited in thailand or abroad?

Hector Gomez

No camp or school in Thailand, but I did spar with a few Muay Thai guys while in the Philippines in the 80s. Thai Boxing was a very prevalent style in Angeles City. The dojo I trained at had multiple disciplines teaching there. White Lotus Chuan Fa, Hung Gar Kung Fu, Kajukenbo, Higaonna Goju Ryu, Muay Thai, TKD, Shorinkan and Boxing. It was on base, and under the auspices of the AAMA-All American Martial Arts association. Tournaments off base had varied rules, but anyone from a striking style could enter.

The Thai Boxing instructor was named Somchat. I forget his last name. My sensei also studied Muay Thai and Filipino Kickboxing. They were good friends and the 2 classes often sparred together. It wasn't all-out elbows, and knees, but all techs were legal to the body with controlled jabs to the face allowed. Anyway, I have also witnessed many fights between Muay Thai stylists and people of various fighting backgrounds. They were no more or less successful in the street. Those big boxing gloves don't exactly condition your hands for no-pad contact I guess. Then again I've seen some awesome Thai fighters. These were real Thais that studied in Thailand, at the same time becoming Buddhist monks.

I didn't say anything wrong, just what I experienced. I can only give you what I know.

31st December 2002, 12:19
Bryan,thank you for responding.My question was thrown up because of this statement you made"I SPARRED PRACTICALY ALL STYLES,EVEN MUAYTHAI,AND THEY ARE ALL THE SAME,TELEGRAPHING AND LIMITED MOTION".

I really would not want Marie B. to take that advise and by accident walk into a "real"Muaythai gym and think it's all the same.Real muaythai is brutal and physicaly taxing on the body.

Bryan as you well know,today a lot of persons claim to teach something when they are really not qualified to represent that art.It happens with shorinryu why not with Muaythai.If I would have made that statement you made above but instead of using the word muaythai I would have used the word shorin ryu my ears would be ringing today nonstop.

Happy new year to all

Hector Gomez

31st December 2002, 16:38

Hecotor's noticed Mr. Cyr's hyperbole and it is done...all is a bit strong.

We all try to limit our telegraphing but I have never heard anyone say, "In our style we telegraph as much as we can!" for instance.

Goju Man
31st December 2002, 19:05
Hello everyone. Marie, I wouldn't woory about the motherland philosophy, or all of this other deep stuff. People start training for many reasons, allthough the most prevalent I've heard was to learn to defend ones self or get in shape. There's nothing wrong with using the martial arts to get in shape, you're learning self defense while getting in shape. In fact, I've run into many "sensei" who could stand a trip to the gym also. I would say first look at the instructor and see what kind of shape he or she is in. Next I would look at his students and decide how good they are, which reflects on the quality of instruction. As Hector said, look around at different schools and disciplines. I would also say to keep an open mind. Those that claim to have all the answers often do not. Seeing IS believing. Remember, it's easy to make a novice feel a bit of pain with a technique, but that doesn't require great skill. Contrary to other belief, it does not take a lifetime, for example, you can do Judo and become proficient in two to five years. Keep an open mind. Good luck on your quest.

1st January 2003, 00:54
You guys are correct. I didn't mean to be all inclusive. I shoulda' said most. I saw nothing wrong with your question. Perhaps it's the statement I made. And if you were to rank on shorin ryu, I would probably agree with you if you were to say "most" and not "all". You were right to check me on that, sir.

Muay Thai is much harder and more physical than practically all (if not all) the striking arts. It may be a bit much for someone just looking for self-defense training, or even physical and mental fitness. Still, if you learn Thai Boxing you will be HELLA tough!

Happy New Years, all! One of my resolutions is to be a bit more diplomatic and less brash. I gotta work on that. Me and anger are just too good of friends at times, hahaha!!!

It's most def' ALL GOOD!!!!

3rd January 2003, 00:11

You have sparred Muay Thai guys but without elbows, knees, etc? Then you have not fought Muay Thai. By imposing these rules you have basically taken out all the heavy artillery found in Thai and turned it into tick boxing.

As an example did you ever do climb the vine in your "sparring" - involves jumping on lead thigh and propelling yourself up for jumping knee to jaw which can be followed by spear elbow (elbow directed down at top of head / neck / collarbone. If these are the types of techniques you encountered then you sparred a Thai fighter - if not then you did not.

The instructors name you refer to i believe is Somchat Somchai.

It continually amazes me that a Thai fighter spars according to someone else's rules (which usually involve no elbows, knees or grappling) and then those people say how easy it was and Muay Thai is nothing special. Of course we see so many of these people going over to Thailand and fighting the true Thai way and showing how its done dont we?:rolleyes:

3rd January 2003, 06:53
Originally posted by Pirahna

You have sparred Muay Thai guys but without elbows, knees, etc? Then you have not fought Muay Thai. By imposing these rules you have basically taken out all the heavy artillery found in Thai and turned it into tick boxing.

As an example did you ever do climb the vine in your "sparring" - involves jumping on lead thigh and propelling yourself up for jumping knee to jaw which can be followed by spear elbow (elbow directed down at top of head / neck / collarbone. If these are the types of techniques you encountered then you sparred a Thai fighter - if not then you did not.

The instructors name you refer to i believe is Somchat Somchai.

It continually amazes me that a Thai fighter spars according to someone else's rules (which usually involve no elbows, knees or grappling) and then those people say how easy it was and Muay Thai is nothing special. Of course we see so many of these people going over to Thailand and fighting the true Thai way and showing how its done dont we?:rolleyes:

You are correct, but at the same time no grappling or knees and elbows of our own were thrown. We practiced throws and submissions, and had them beat in that dept. for sure. BTW, I hate the plomb or ploumb, or however you spell it. They like to do that. We did train intensively in knees and elbows. We didn't do climb the vine as you mentioned, but we did practice flying knees, and tuite to close-in knee and elbow strikes. Elbow and other strikes were and are prevalent in a good Okinawan system. As I said my instructor was a Thai Boxer and very accomplished Filipino Kick Boxer as well as a 4th Dan in Shorinkan. When we sparred with the Muay Thai class, leg kicks (always allowed), and knees and elbows to the BODY were sometimes allowed (higher belts/intermediate practitioners). The fact is that neither class really outdid the other. It was hard and sometimes furious, but respect was ingrained. Both instructors respected one another's ability. I think we all had fun and learned alot about striking. Two of my best friends were Thai Boxers. One taught me my first breakdance moves, haha!

The only class they sparred with was ours. Even the Kajukenbo guys who were really good, rarely sparred outside their own class. Our Sensei made us fight reps. from all the classes attending the Dojo. I'm not saying anything overtly critical of Muay Thai. I just use to marvel at how hard they trained. They had lots of injuries too, and we had much fewer with good intense and long-term minded training. As a MA it is a very devastating thing. as a life-long progressive system, it can be detrimental to your skills and health when you get older. Any decent Muay Thai guy would defend himself in real life, and probably destroy the fool who stepped to him. Sometimes practitioners get unlucky, or just aren't ready for the entropy of a true "squab'". I've seen guys, big guys from Muay Thai and other styles, get beat with one jab to the nose. Of course followed up with some finishing techs!

I have the utmost reverence for the fighting arts of Asia (and elsewhere). I love Thai food, Thai women and Thailand is a slamming place for clubbing and visiting. One of my good friends Chat, is Thai, and he is great people. I just tell it how I experienced it and leave up to the readers to decide what they want. BTW, it might of been Somchat Somchai, or Siddichat Somchai. I can't really remember. I just remember that heavy bag in the dojo folding in the middle each time he let loose a roundhouse shin kick. My sensei would yell, "Hey you're gonna bust it and we'll have to buy another", then procede to kick it just as hard, but with a little more snap to it. Wow and Ouch on both accounts!!! This is what my brother and I got to see and be a part of. This is how our training was. Truly a blessing. The Philippines was truly a different "world".

I don't want to go get the piss beat out of me in Thailand. I doubt many folks would. Even those hardcore cats (which Somchai?) was, can be beat. The thing is how well would a non-Thailand trained Muay Thai guy do in a Thai bout? Probably like the Kyokushinkai guys, none to good. You can't bring a baseball bat to a B-Ball game. Not the same game. Or something to that effect. BTW, you are right about Thai Boxers having to limit their repertoire in certain competitions. Even NHB ones. When the entire arsenal can be used at any range then few can withstand the brutality of this hard art!!! Peace!

Goju Man
3rd January 2003, 12:14
Bryan, hope your new years was good.;)
To expand a little on what Paul wrote. If you spar with a thai boxer out of the ring without the gloves on, you're asking the thai boxer to play tag and not fight. How ever hard you may spar, it's way short of sparring in the ring full contact. There's a reason why a thai round kick looks slow and telegraphed in a dojo atmosphere, simply because you don't have to worry about the damage it will cause when it hits. The thais have to develope themselves to withstand that type of punishment because even the blocking limb is going to hurt.

As for the differences in Karate, you can see the styles emphasis in the kata, however, when Karateks fight these days, they all seem to fight the same way. The differences are not noticeable. It's hard to bring thais or even kk type fighters into a dojo atmosphere where their full contact is not allowed due to injury. That's probably the reason they endure more injuries than many other ryu ha.

3rd January 2003, 14:06
Originally posted by Goju Man
As for the differences in Karate, you can see the styles emphasis in the kata, however, when Karateks fight these days, they all seem to fight the same way. The differences are not noticeable.

Yes, Yes, and Yes!

That is a gross generalization that I think is absolutely correct and fact that it is true sucks. I am a firm believer in kata. I will be the first guy on this forum to tell you that the kata is the ryu. Without the kata you do not have karate as I know it. It may be good but it something else, I don't know what it is but it isn't karate the way I was taught to practice karate. I am also the first guy to say that if your fighting techniques do not resemble the techniques in your kata then why in the hell do you practice kata.

Chinen Sensei has said something and I think he makes a very good point. He says that tournaments are good for the children and for beginners but he doesn't like them for his experienced practitioners. He believes shiai makes karate styles homongenous and destroys the classical flavor of the various systems.

What I see is this homgenous thing where everbody 'fights' the same way. But in order to develop a feel good feeling about their art's identity they pay a form of homage to their classical roots by doing these little dance thingys that have no relationship whatsoever to how they fight.

I need to take my medicine now. Have a good weekend everybody.