1. Do you teach younger than age 7? Our school prides ourselves on giving serious instruction, and we recommend that parents save their money & wait until age 7 to start. We often find that kids who start at this age will advance faster anyway-- as the skills come more easily to them and they have a more positive experience.
Parents beware though.... Many schools are happy to take your money younger. Just a word of advice from one mom to another, some schools offer run around time that they call "karate", or teach age-inappropriate aggression that can result in a child bully. (It is very confusing for a tot to understand when you can hit & when you cannot.) The maturity it takes to really learn karate is not realistic for a child under age 7, and younger kids get frustrated and drop out after a few lessons. So be sure to steer clear of any school that pushes long-term contracts, annual memberships, Black-Belt clubs, association fees, or annual dues, etc. (Albany Karate has none of these.)
2. Do I need a uniform? Yes we ask that all new students conform to our dress code to participate in classes. Please arrive a few minutes early to your first class to get properly sized for your gi.
3. Can I make up a class that I missed due to sickness or vacation? Students may make up classes by attending any other class for their ability within their session.
4. How many students are there per class? Albany Karate is a very popular program, but classes are limited to ensure personal instruction to every student.
5. How long does it take to get to black-belt? That’s really up to you. Of course, the more you practice the better you will do. A student with no prior training is eligible to test for belts about every 3-4 months. There are 9 examinations you must pass to attain black belt. This normally takes between 3-5 years of training, depending on your attendance and individual abilities. At the advanced levels, students learn that karate is not just something to learn, but a way of living that expresses their integrity, courtesy, respect and self-control. And that takes a lifetime of practice.
6. How much are classes?
Depending on how many classes you attend/week, the average cost is about $10/class. Unlike other martial arts schools, there are no annual dues or membership fees to belong to Albany Karate.
7. What style Karate is this? At Albany Karate we use the term “Karate” as our style derives from traditional Tae Kwon Do, complimented with Japanese weapon forms.
8. What weapons will we learn? In addition to traditional Tae Kwon Do and self-defense training, students that are a Blue-belt and higher will learn graceful, non-contact weapon forms. These include Japanese Iaido (sword) waza, and short and long bo-staff forms.
9. Where are classes held?
Albany: 1249 Marin Ave. Albany 94706
Pleasanton: Cultural Arts Building at 4477 Black Ave, Pleasanton 94588 (next to the Dolores Bengston Aquatic Center). To register for Pleasanton classes call 925-931-5340.
10. Can I visit a class? Yes, new students are invited to watch a class at anytime by sitting quietly in the back. Students register for 4 months of classes at a time so if you wish to try a class before signing up, it is best to contact the instructor in advance for details.
11. How can I learn of my child's progress?
Beginner students will learn more difficult skills as they advance in karate and master the basics. If you have any concerns about your childs' progress please email or talk with Sensei directly.
12. What skills should a beginner practice? Students are encouraged to practice skills at home "on the air". White belts should practice basic blocks (down, inside & high) with basic kicks (front, roundhouse, side & axe) and front stance. All of these skills are reviewed in class, but you are welcome to ask Sensei or a senior student at anytime if you need to review.
13. Is there a reference to use while studying the Kata's? Student's may e-mail Sensei for a video library of the Kata's they are learning.
14. Can you recommend a self-defense program for women? We support the Kurukula empowerment organization. For more info visit www.kurukula.org
15. How can I contact Sensei Dara by phone? You may call Sensei Dara at 510-847-2400.