Starting karate

What do I wear?

When first starting karate there is no need for any special clothing. Loose fitting clothes will  be ok (T shirt and jogging bottoms). Training is done in bare feet so no special footware is required.

If you have a karate suit then that is excellent however once a student has trained for a few weeks then a Gi (karate suit) can be purchased and worn. The suits can be purchased by yourself or via the club

What is kata?

Kata are a series of karate techniques that are undertaken in a specific way. There are twenty seven Kata to learn in the Shotokan stlye.

What is Shotokan?

Ashford Karate is Shotokan karate, one of the original five Japanese/Okinawan karate styles. The Japan Karate Association to which we belong is the largest Shotokan organisation in the world

What are the lessons like?

Each lesson begins with a structured warm up and stretching regime followed by sustained practice of various techniques including blocking, striking and kicking, lessons also include kata and kumite.

The lessons are strict and quite regimented in structure. The classes are not easy as there is a lot to do and quite a lot to try and remember. 

The benefits however are numerous including but not limited to increased fitness levels, better concentration skills, co-ordination, stamina and motor skills.

What is Kumite?

Kumite is the Japanese term for sparring or combat. There are many types of kumite we practice ranging from very simple striking and blocking techniques for beginners through to full contact sparring for high grade adults and national and international competitions for those who excel.

How do I get different belts?

With a lot of hard work!

Every three to four months the students are graded by a senior examiner from the JKA who visits Ashford to undertake special training classes and to test the students. 

Training two to three times a week is usually enough to allow a student enough practice to be ready to test for their next belt every four months or so.

Training once a week will extend the time period between gradings as progress will be slower than others.

The belts progress as follows:









Brown/ white


From white to black belt usually takes a dedicated student between four to five years to achieve.