pembroke by stariya


									The Pembroke Karate Club
     Handbook 2006

    Member of the Malta Karate Federation
                                   The Pembroke Karate Club
                                        Plot 550, Fra Guseppe Zammit Street
                                                   Tel: 21 377807

                                            Table of Contents

What is Karate? ................................................................................................... 3
Training/Teachers ............................................................................................... 4
What will training involve? ................................................................................ 4
Gradings ............................................................................................................... 5
Website, email list and other communications ................................................. 7
What is the Dojo Etiquette? ............................................................................... 8
Conduct ................................................................................................................ 9

                                                       Page 2
What is Karate?
Karate is a system of self-defence developed in Okinawa, Japan. Many different styles of
Karate came from there and, as time has gone by, these have been further modified by
Japanese teachers to the extent that there are now numerous styles of Karate practised
throughout the world. Its full title, Karate-Do, literally means 'Way of the Empty Hand',
symbolising that its practitioners (Karateka) are unarmed but trained to use their hands, feet
and other parts of the body as fighting weapons.

What is Shotokan Karate?

Shotokan Karate is the most widely practised form of Karate in the world today, following the
teachings of Gichin Funakoshi, the schoolteacher and poet who brought Karate out of
Okinawa in the 1920s. Funakoshi's pen-name was Shoto (meaning 'pine waves') and so this
style of Karate came to be known as Shoto-Kan, or 'the House of Shoto'. Thus the full name
of the Art, Shotokan-ryu Karate-Do translates as 'The Way of the Empty Hand as Taught in
the House of Funakoshi'. Shotokan emphasises a balanced development of speed, skill,
strength and range of technique taught within a system which instils self-confidence and self-

Can anyone practice Karate?
Yes! Karate students come from all age groups, ethnic and religious backgrounds and both
sexes: it doesn't matter what your current level of fitness is - Karate is designed to gradually
improve your fitness, as you progress.

Is the Club affiliated to an association?

                  The Pembroke Shotokan Karate club is directly affiliated with the
                  Mediterranean Karate Federation, and indirectly with the World Karate
                  Federation, the Malta Olympic Committee and the European Karate
                  Federation. (See and click on the
                  ‘affiliations’ button on the left to visit the respective websites)

                                            Page 3

Who will teach me?

The club Instructors are Sensei Frankie Vella 3rd Dan and Sensei Michelle Vella 3rd Dan.

What will training involve?
Classes begin with a comprehensive warm-up, to ensure that the body is ready for physical
training and to develop flexibility. During beginners' courses, the main class will initially be
split up into groups: one for beginners and one for more advanced students, ensuring that each
group may be taught at an appropriate level and pace. The three sections of Karate training

         Kihon (basic technique) - where blocks, strikes and stances, the fundamentals of
          Karate, are taught

         Kata (forms/patterns) - an extended series of combination techniques representing
          symbolic defence against multiple assailants and containing the close-range
          techniques of Karate, and

         Kumite (fighting/sparring) - where the techniques learned in Kihon and Kata are
          put to use against 'real' opponents. Kumite begins with basic blocks and counter-
          strikes to single, named attacks, becoming more advanced as the student progresses,
          to Jiyu-Kumite (free-fighting), where students learn to attack with, and defend
          against, multiple unannounced attacks more akin to a real 'street' scenario.

What will I get out of training?
To reach a high standard in Karate requires enthusiastic and consistent physical training,
promoting fitness, well-being and concentration, along with dedication and commitment,
promoting a confident and determined character. There is also a 'Dojo Kun', or Code of
Conduct, which not only ensures a safe and disciplined training environment but also serves
as a tool for moulding behaviour so that true Karateka can learn the confidence and awareness
to diffuse or escape dangerous situations, using violence only as a last resort. The club also
has an active social life and club members frequently find that training comrades become
extremely good friends. So if you're interested in learning to stay safe and improving your
fitness, confidence and personal discipline, along with a great social life and making new
friends with like-minded people - why not try us out?

How often will I train?
Times of lessons are shown on our web site (but do check the notice board calendar and news
for any last-minute or special variations). It is not necessary to attend every session, but the

                                           Page 4
more sessions you can come to, the faster you will progress. We generally recommend that
you train at least twice a week, most weeks, as this level of training will enable consistent
progress to be made. Only regular attendance and commitment will ensure a steady progress.

Who can train?
Karate can be practiced by men, women and children. Anyone who is in reasonable health
can train at karate. Karate students will improve their self-awareness, self-confidence and
self-esteem. (Those with health problems should consult a doctor and take a medical test
before asking to join the dojo.) Please note a student trains at their own risk and the dojo is
not responsible for any injuries incurred.

What will I need to buy?
Prices of lessons, membership, and gradings are shown on our web page. In addition, a Karate
suit (gi) costs from around Lm15 to around Lm30. You won't need a Karate suit straight away
- a T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms will be fine - but if you wish to grade at the end of term, it
would be appropriate to have a gi by then. Training is done barefooted.

As an affiliated club to the MKF all Pembroke Shotokan students are examined and graded by
an officially approved MKF Grading Instructor. The MKF sets a minimum time period a
student must train before taking each grading, which is based upon a student training twice a
week in a class between 1½ to 2 hours, for a period of six months. This period may vary
depending on the technical level of the grade and the ability of the student. Note that the
grading is NOT a test of the Japanese language but rather of karate techniques.

Grading Criteria

      To grade from 9th kyu to 1st kyu a student should attend a minimum of 50 lessons,
       and to grade from 1st kyu to 1st dan (Brown to Black), a minimum of 100 lessons
       attendance is required.
      A good level of competence at the present grade is required
      Be a member of the MKF (Malta Karate Federation)
      Know their syllabus


KIHON         ~ Basic techniques (blocking, punching, kicking etc)

KATA          ~ Forms (re-enactment of a traditional fighting pattern)

                                           Page 5
KUMITE        ~ Basic Sparring (execution of basic defence and attack against an opponent)

It is the sole decision of the Senior Instructor to decide who takes a grading examination
and this decision is arrived at through the following process:

   -   3-4 weeks before the official grading, eligible students will be notified that they are
       being considered for the grading and will be given the opportunity to participate in a
       series of rehearsal gradings.
       (If you are invited to participate in these rehearsals it does not mean you will
       definitely sit the official examination)

   -   1 week before the official grading, some students who have previously been
       considered for the grading examination will be selected to perform a 'Mock Grading'
       which will be carried out by the Senior Instructor. The mock grading will include all
       the relevant criteria as mentioned above plus some simple questions relating to the
       particular grade being sat.
       During the mock gradings, those students who have successfully demonstrated that
       they can fulfil the grading criteria will be given confirmation by the Senior Instructor
       that their names will be put forward to the MKF examiner.

The coloured belt system denotes your progress as you train. There are nine grades below
black belt, with 9th Kyu (white belt with black stripe) being the first grade (after white
[beginners]) and 1st Kyu (brown belt with two white stripes) the highest:

There are also ten levels of Dan grade (black belt), with 1st Dan being the first. The more
ambitious of you may like to know that to achieve 10th Dan would take over 60 years of
training! 1st Dan, however, may be achieved with 3-4 years' of consistent training.

                                           Page 6
Website, email list and other communications
Does the club have an email list or web page?
Yes - in addition to the information on the web page (
(and what's said at the training sessions!), we have an email list which we regularly use to
send out updates and reminders. All club members should be on the list - if you're not (we'll
usually add you when you join), please give us your email address. If you're having trouble,
email or speak to us for help.

Even if you're not on the email list, you can still check the news page on the website. It is
worthwhile checking your email and the website in the run-up to a grading or other important
event, to make sure there are no late changes.

Email Address of the dojo is :

                                          Page 7

What is the Dojo Etiquette?
As a martial arts club that trains in a fighting art it is essential to observe a few key points to
insure that the Dojo is a safe environment for people to train in. The Sensei’s and committee
hope that, if everyone knows what is expected of them, there will be less time wasting during
the lessons explaining everything and more time to do what we're all here for: Karate.

      Bow as you enter and leave the Dojo
      Address the instructors as 'Sensei'
      Ask permission to leave the Dojo when a lesson is in progress
      If entering a lesson late, sit in seiza at the side of the Dojo and   wait to be asked by the
          sensei to join in
      Bow to Dan grades as they enter the Dojo
      Keep your finger and toe nails short and clean
      Take off any jewellery
      Do not talk when an instructor is talking
      Cover any open wounds with a waterproof dressing
      Remove any nail varnish
      Do your bit to make the Dojo a safe and pleasant place to     train


Does the club have any books, videos, etc. to help me?
Yes! The club has an extensive library of books, videos and magazines which can be

What are all those Japanese words used in the Dojo?
Have a look in the web site for a handy reference. If you hear a word or expression used
which you don't understand, the Sensei’s will be more than happy to explain it.

                                             Page 8

· Do arrive on time for your training
· Do go to the toilet before training begins
· Do bow whenever you enter or leave the dojo
· Do whenever possible bring the correct money
· Do make sure your karate suit is clean and in good condition
· Do keep all your nails clean and trimmed and your hair tied back
· Do let your Instructor know before training if you have an injury or have been unwell
· Do make use of the time before training to warm up or practice your karate
· Do line up for training quickly
· Do address your instructors with a bow and say "Ous Sensei"
· Do bow whenever you face a partner in training
· Do concentrate seriously on what your instructor is teaching you at all times
· Do ask questions if you are unsure of any aspect of your training
· Do encourage one another but do not correct another student even if you know he/she is
making a mistake, this is the responsibility of the Instructor.
· Do let us know if you are going to miss training for any length of time (i.e. holidays or


· Do not wear or bring jewellery or watches in the dojo
· Do not leave valuables or money in the changing rooms
· Do not talk over or interrupt your Instructor when they are teaching, instead wait for a
convenient moment and get their attention by saying "Ous Sensei" and lift up your finger.
· Do not talk or disrupt other students during training
· Do not muck around during training as this could be dangerous and lead to someone getting
· Do not deliberately hurt another student during training, this will result in you being asked
to leave the club
· Do not be rude about or pick on other students, this will result in you being asked to leave
the club
· Do not practice sparring without the supervision of an instructor
· Do not ask to be graded it is poor etiquette, you will be told when you are ready to grade
· Do not bring food or sweets into the dojo
· Do not chew gum in the dojo, not only is it bad manners it is also dangerous during training
· Do not show off or brag about the fact that you do karate to your friends

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