To the New Student

To the new student –Welcome!!

You are entering one of the most fascinating experiences of your life… the study of a Martial Art. The popular art that you are going to be involved with is called Karate. Everyone has a different notion what karate is. It brings to mind people kicking or pawing the air wearing pajama-like outfits. Or an image of power and speed applied by the human body to meet a threatening confrontation.

Karate means “empty hands”. But what it means for each individual is as personal and specific as the way that individual goes about pursuing it. For some, Karate is a means to learn how to defend oneself against an attacker. For some , it is a way to condition and strengthen the body. Some may be attracted by the inner discipline and development that one finds through training.

The system that you will be studying is Japanese in origin and is based on the Ashihara style. Our organisation is called Ashihara Karate International. The essence of Ashihara Karate is a strategy that enables its practitioners to convert defence into offence. It stresses the development of flexibility, power and speed, emphasizing stretching, conditioning and practice. The principles behind the movements one learns, reinforce the essential points for any physical activity – the use of the hips to enhance power (as in throwing or hitting a baseball), keeping one’s weight centred and low (as when hitting a tennis ball), and so forth.

I would like to point out some of the areas that you will be studying in, but first I must point out that any class in the Martial Arts has some inherent risks involved especially in a contact activity such as Karate. If you have a particular health problem that you feel may restrict you mentally or physically, please notify your instructor. If at any time you feel uncomfortable in any phase of the training and would rather not participate or need additional instructions, please let us know. Don’t feel that you have to do something just to be one of the guys or girls. Training in Karate is a slow procedure and you certainly are not going to get it all down in one training session, so take your time and enjoy yourself.

In Ashihara classes you will learn basic punches, kicks and blocks. You will apply them in combinations, working with partners in controlled fighting situations. You will learn specific self-defence techniques- how to throw someone who grabs from behind, how to counter various frontal attacks. Classes consist of both practising basic techniques, and application of them in various situations, so whether you are there for the first or twentieth or even hundredth time, there will be familiar things to refine and new things to learn.

Karate is not merely a tool for protection in the face of danger. It can also provide a sense of confidence, strength and alertness in today’s world.