Below is a list of the most commonly asked questions. However, if you have questions that you cannot find the answer to here, please feel free to contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions about JKA Hawaii Karate

  • What is Karate and how is it different from other martial arts?

    Karate is a martial art in which an attacker is disabled by crippling kicks and punches. Emphasis is on concentrating as much of the body’s power as possible at the point and instant of impact. Striking surfaces include the hand (particularly the knuckles and the hand’s outer edge), ball of the foot, heel, forearm, knee, and elbow. Karate evolved in East Asia over a period of centuries, becoming systematized in Okinawa in the 17th century, probably by people forbidden to carry weapons.

    Karate literally means empty hand. In this martial art, we learn how to turn our body parts into effective self-defense weapons regardless of built, height, or age. In comparison, other martial arts, such as Taekwondo, Kung Fu, Aikido, etc, utilizes every single part of the body to maximize technique. Karate believes that when done correctly, a single and simple punch or kick can disarm and/or heavily damage an opponent.

  • How much is it?

    JKA Hawaii classes start at about $55 a month. With that, you are welcome to come to as many classes as you like. There are also discounts when multiple family members join. To get a list of the current prices, please contact us.

  • What is Karate Training Like?

    JKA Karate classes follow a formal curriculum with strict standards. A beginner is initially introduced to basic block techniques that are repeated over his or her entire karate career. Although the training in each class is similar, the commands and techniques teach the body something new.

    Karate training has three K’s that encompasses the whole karate experience.


    Kihon means basics. Like dancing waltz, jazz, or chacha, there are always the first and basic movements that serve as the foundation of the dance. In Karate, these are the basic hand blocks, the basic stances, and basic punches and kicks. Blocks are executed moving forwards, backwards, and sideways to train and familiarize the different muscles on the techniques.


    Kata means form. A kata is a routine that is composed of different kihons. In an orchestra, every single instrument is vital and is performed properly to blend in and harmonize with the other instruments to create beautiful music. The same idea applies with kata. Every movement is crucial (and depicts a meaning and application) to the whole performance. There are many different kinds of kata and complexity varies according to rank. In kata practices, different elements such as posture, proper breathing, speed, control, and power are carefully examined and practiced.


    Kumite means sparring. This is probably every young student’s dream to knock off an opponent and play Street Fighter with each other. However, this is not how kumite practices are conducted. Although karate techniques are aimed to kill with a single blow, practices teach you otherwise. You are taught how to control your punches and kicks aiming at your target with proper timing, distance, and opportunity.

    JKA Karate practices the Shotokan style of karate which is characterized by deep, long stances that provide stability and enable powerful movements through strong leg movements giving power to the technique. Shotokan practices the blend of proper preparation and execution of technique which is combined with speed to generate power.

    All in all, Karate training is challenging, but FUN. You will learn things about yourself and your physical capabilities.

  • How old do you have to be?

    Karate is for everyone.

    There is no age limit, height requirement, or ethnicity preferences in our classes. To know if karate is for you, you may sit-in and observe any of our classes or you may join a class for free.

  • Will I get hurt?

    Karate is a contact sport and the answer would be YES. We practice karate to gain control of our body and to coordinate its movements. The best way to avoid getting hurt is to follow what the Sensei instructs.

    Each class begins with a warm-up to prepare the body. Sprains, clumsiness, or not following instructions are typically the only reason why one gets hurt. The warm-ups should not be taken for granted and are intended to loosen up the muscles to prepare them for vigorous training. The muscles go through shock when introduced to intense movements right away.

  • What do I need to buy or prepare before I start practice?

    Here are items you may want to invest in when you finally decide to join JKA Hawaii.

    a.) Do gi: There are several types of Karatedo gis. Beginners usually buy a regular heavyweight gi, which usually costs around $30-50. These generally come with you first belt color; white. Serious practitioners invest in good quality gi’s, which might be heavyweight, medium weight, tournament cut, traditional cut, etc. and the really good ones can cost up to $250. Wearing the right gi size for you enhances your karate movements; on the other hand, wearing the wrong size restricts your movements.

    b.) Gloves: We wear gloves especially during kumite practice to avoid hurting each other when contact is necessary.

    These two items are the first essential items you will need. Other protective equipment may include shin guards, mouth guards, chest protection, or groin guard which are often used in tournaments. If you need assistance regarding your gi and gloves, approach any of the senior students or Sensei for help.

  • Do you have tournaments?

    Yes. Tournaments are essential for building character, confidence and good spirit. However, it takes practice and your Sensei’s approval before you are allowed to participate. While we typically participate in several tournaments a year and Sensei encourages participation, they are not required either.

  • How long does it take to get a black belt?

    Getting a black belt varies depending on your progress. While this is the ultimate goal for most Karatekas who have just started practicing karate, generally you should expect it to take several years. As Sensei likes to say, “Wear the belt, Carry the burden, Assume responsibility.” As you progress in your rank, you may realize that karate does not end after you have earned your 1st dan black belt. Karate is a way of life. You can see a short summary about the different ranks and how to advance on our ranks page.

  • How do I enroll?

    To enroll, simply come to any regular class. You are not required to be in uniform for the first class and it is a good way to learn what to expect. If you have specific questions, please call or email us. We would be happy to answer.

  • Are classes in English? Will I need to know Japanese?

    All instructors speak English, though many Japanese words are used throughout the class to help students better learn Japanese culture as part of their karate training. A list of some of these words can be found on our Terminology page.

  • Are there rules that I should know about?

    Karate and Japanese culture are both very structured. Showing proper respect is an important part of the tradition. As such, there are certain rules and protocols we follow tho show this respect. A new student is not expected to know all of the protocols and they are taught and followed in every class. Our Protocol page outlines the basics.

Have More Questions? Contact Us!