Can older adults practice karate?

Karate can be practiced at any age as long as a person is relatively healthy. A physical exam and doctor’s OK is a good idea for anyone older than age 50 or so if you haven’t worked out for a long time.. Older people may not be as strong, fast or flexible as someone in their 20’s, but they can still practice karate at their own pace and derive great physical and mental benefits from it.

How old should a child be before starting karate?

This depends on the child’s maturity and attention span, which can vary widely among individuals. We do not take children under the age of 8 for that reason. For most children, age 8 should be considered as a minimum and around age 10 as an optimum starting age. If your child expresses interest in karate, they should be told that karate practice is very serious and that only “big kids” who can be responsible are allowed to do it.

How often should I practice?

Beginners (and advanced students for that matter) should establish a regular and consistent training schedule in order to learn techniques efficiently and not develop too many bad habits. In general, the more you train the faster you’ll learn. Three times a week is a reasonable target for beginners to aspire to. Two times a week is OK, but learning is slower. Progress is very slow and bad habits become rampant at practice levels below two times per week. We don’t recommend you join a club if you cannot attend at least twice a week.
It is important that beginners not expect instant results. Karate takes patience and perseverance – it takes years to become proficient no matter how often you train. You must also balance training with your life. Don’t neglect other things due to excessive training.

What should I wear? Do I need to buy a uniform?

Beginners are not required to wear uniforms (called a “gi”) during the first 3 months of practice. Any kind of light clothing that you can stretch and move easily in is OK. Beginning students do have the option of purchasing uniforms if they wish.

Why should I practice karate?

The benefits of karate practice are myriad. Physically it enhances strength, coordination, stamina, balance and flexibility. It is well documented that regular exercise can improve both the quality and longevity of your life and that it makes people feel happier and more alert. There is also evidence that exercise can help cognitive brain function. Everything that you do in your life becomes a bit easier because of your karate practice.
Karate trains the mind as well as the body, resulting in improved self-awareness, discipline, confidence and will power. Not only will you become more confident that you can defend yourself, but your confidence to tackle all of life’s trials will grow.
One of the translations of the Japanese symbol for martial arts (the “bu” in “budo”) is “to stop conflict”. This is a philosophical goal for a martial artist, but does not only apply to external conflicts. Karate training results in feeling less conflict within yourself as a result of what’s usually referred to as increased “inner harmony” and “inner strength”.