Ask the flying side kick enthusiasts of the world and they’ll tell you that it all started with flexibility. Every muscle is important, but we target the oft-neglected ones that matter most. Consider your iliotibial bands and your abductor longi covered. We also do full-body workouts to get the pulse going.
This is how muscle development and body control happens. We work on form, taking you through the blocks, strikes and kicks. You’ll learn to feel comfortable in immovable stances.
Self-defence is about reaction. Sparring practice is the best way for a karate-ka to build instincts and prepare for danger. We practice tournament sparring, single-strike attacks and super badass techniques known as bunkai. Don’t worry—we make sure there’s a CPR-certified member on board and practice good safety
Elegant movements, mid-air spins, choreographed techniques – kata is the most beautiful aspect of karate. It involves rhythmic motions and simulated fighting patterns. There are 26 katas, one for every skill level and beyond, so you will always have something to aspire to.
At UTKC, we focus on clearing the mind and preparing the body just as much the blocks and strikes themselves. A karate class begins as soon as you step into the dojo, and ends with a time of self-reflection.
Arrive early to help clean the dojo floor and set up. Here’s your chance to stretch individually and get into your karate headspace. Sensei then calls us to line up by rank and order of seniority. Make sure you’re standing directly behind someone. If you aren’t, make a new row, starting from the right.
Sensei first says “seiza,” directing us to kneel, and then announces “mokuso,” a brief meditation period with our eyes closed. This is a time to visualize your training and areas of improvement. Sensei finishes meditation with “mokuso yame” and says “shomen ni rei,” and we bow to the front of the class.
Afterwards, Sensei turns around to face the class. The most senior student present (usually a black belt) says, “Felix Sensei ni rei” and we bow to our Sensei, saying “onegai shimasu” [“please teach me”]. The most senior kyu belt present then says, “Senpai ni rei,” directing kyu belts and black belts to turn towards each other. As they bow, kyu belts say “osu.”
Warm up begins right after.
The end of class is similar to the beginning, pointing us back to a time of reflection. This time, as we bow to Sensei, we say “arigatou gozaimashita” [“thank you very much”]. Next is “shugo,” announcements or club business.
At UTKC, gradings are a periodic assessment on individuals' performance. There are 9 kyu (colored) belts before reaching the blackbelt (shodan) level. On average, UTKC conducts kyu belts 2~3 times a year and once every summer for blackbelt grading. With practises, lower belt levels are usually able to grade every 3 months while the higher belts will require longer times to prepare for each grading test. To be qualified for grading, you will have to:
All being said, we encourage you to not focus on getting the blackbelt as your end goal, rather, see Karate as a fun hobby or a life-long journey! A classic metaphor for karate belts illustrates it better:
"Black belt is like a driving license. When you get the driving licence, you are allowed to drive because you know the rules. So it doesn't make sense if you stop driving -- In fact, you should drive more."