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The English Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Association (EGKA)

why you should take up Goju Ryu Karate

The EGKA is a non-profit making karate association dedicated to teaching the traditional Okinawan martial art of Goju-Ryu Karate in England. We have over 40 karate dojos in England and 1500 active members. Led by Chief Instructor Sensei Ernie Molyneux (IOGKF 8th Dan), our association promotes a high standard of teaching Goju Ryu Karate through our network of qualified and very experienced karate instructors.

We have a full 2014 programme of local and regional training and competitions events for our existing members. For new members, Goju Ryu karate is a proven and effective martial arts fighting system that is open to all ages and abilities. If you are looking for something really interesting and captivating to occupy your leisure time, try out a free trial lesson at one of our many dojos. You will discover a fascinating martial arts discipline that will improve your self-confidence, fitness and co-ordination.

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Choosing the right martial art is an important decision for the newcomer, and there are many to choose from. Some styles focus on competition fighting. Others have more in common with dance aerobics. Goju Ryu is an unarmed (karate literally means empty hand) fighting system that teaches strikes, throws, locks and ground grappling techniques. Although a Goju Ryu black belt certainly means the wearer can defend themselves, this is too shallow a reason to explain why so many students devote years of training to win the right to wear that black strip of cloth. Many feel the true motivation is Goju Ryu teaches both mental and physical self-improvement through the pursuit of ‘perfect technique’. We all know perfection is unattainable, but the reward comes in the attempt.

If you, or your children, are considering taking up karate for the first time then we hope the following information will prove helpful. Goju Ryu karate teaches respect for others, and just as importantly self-respect. It is also an enjoyable way to promote physical fitness. Contact your nearest dojo for further information. Many of our dojos offer a free initial trial period so you can try out a few lessons without any obligation or cost. Just find a local dojo (see below) and turn up in a sweat shirt and loose tracksuit bottoms. We look forward to seeing you.

How do I join a local club?

We have a network of local clubs across England. To join one, click here to select the nearest dojo to you. Then simply call the instructor listed. He or she will be pleased to advise you and invite you to come along and either watch or participate in a lesson. Most dojos do not charge you for attending the first few lessons, and there is no need to commit to buying the white Gi during the first few weeks of training - all you need wear is a loose fitting tee-shirt and pair of tracksuit bottoms. Following Japanese tradition we go bare foot in the dojo.

How does one choose a good school of Karate?

Go and watch a few classes being taught. Observe the state of discipline and the way in which it is applied - as a motivation or as punishment? What are the measures taken by the instructor to prevent possible injuries? Small things such as punctuality, uniformity of dress, discipline on the floor by the instructor etc, all add up to a well run school.

Some schools in other styles send their senior instructor around at the beginning of a term or year to impress new members, but, thereafter, junior instructors teach the classes. Ask the head instructor about this.

By making a few inquiries about teaching fees of more than one dojo in the area, you can quickly establish what is fair and reasonable. Some charge more than others simply because they offer more.

In the case of teaching children, can the school demonstrate a sufficient level of CRB checking (Criminal Records Bureau) of their instructors? All EGKA dojos take this aspect very seriously.

Ask for the qualifications and affiliations of the instructors - do they possess just high karate grades or have they undergone any other related training such as sports coaching, first aid courses etc?

Look at the track record of the school - How long has it been in operation etc. Trophies on the wall are no guarantee of a good school, but they certainly indicate a successful approach to take note of.

At what age can one start karate?

One can start training at any age - we simply adjust your training to your age and/or physical condition. There is no doubt the best age to start any physically demanding activity is from early school age (6-7 years) where one can condition and train the body when it is still growing and most flexible. Most students start in the early teens, but it is not unusual to find people first presenting in their forties and fifties.

Do I have to be fit to start training?

The answer is a definite "No". The instructor will adapt the lesson to match your current level of fitness and ability when you first start. Over the ensuing months you will soon attain the necessary fitness with regular and diligent training.

Of course it helps if you are reasonable fit and supple to start with, but it has to be remembered that different activities develop different muscle sets and levels of stamina. So someone fit enough to run a marathon, would still struggle to keep up in their first karate lesson, just as the reverse would be true.

New students with underlying chronic medical conditions should first seek the opinion of their doctor before starting training. For example, we have many asthmatic and diabetic students who train with us. We just ask that you let your instuctors know about your condition so they can adjust their expectations of your training regime accordingly.

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