Frequently Asked Questions About Martial Arts:
What is a good age to start martial arts training?
There are benefits to Martial Arts training for every age. Our preschool program, called SuperKids, is designed for students ages 3 to 5. In SuperKids classes we focus on developing listening skills and appropriate classroom behavior in a fun and play-filled environment. For our Juniors, ages 5 - 12, martial arts training offers a non-competitive atmosphere with incredible benefits. Beyond simply learning self-defense skills, and maintaining or improving physical fitness, students will develop: focus, discipline, respect, self-esteem, goal setting, and confidence. And for adults, martial arts' training is a great way to improve fitness and flexibility, and to learn practical self defense skills.
What is Karate?
The word Karate literally means "empty hand". Karate is a Japanese martial art that focuses on striking with the hands and feet. Students learn blocks, punches and kicks. Like other martial arts, Karate focuses on training both the body and the mind.
At Ultimate Martial Arts, we teach a melded form of Karate (Japanese) and Tae Kwon Do (Korean) frequently called Sport Karate. Our carefully constructed curriculum, developed and continuously refined over the last 30 years, incorporates the most practical aspects of a variety of the martial arts, to provide the most effective training available. We include both traditional Korean and Japanese forms, and many of the blocks and kicks we teach are found in both styles, just with different names. We've also incorporated basic weapons instruction along with some of the throws and ground defense elements of Judo and Jiu Jitsu, so that our students have a broad exposure to the martial arts.
How often should we attend classes?
At Ultimate Martial Arts, our programs and class schedules are specifically designed to meet the needs of today's active families. Because no two students are alike, our programs are based on achieving a specific ability level, and the timeframe to reach that goal is determined by each student's unique circumstances. Students in the Red or Black Belt Programs may attend classes as often as is convenient for their family, (we offer classes 6 days per week), without feeling any pressure to meet an arbitrary deadline. Students on the Starter's Program may attend classes up to three times per week.
How do I know that my child will stay interested?
We have designed our programs to continually reward and motivate students. Students are given numerous incentives in the classroom: the possibility to earn an unlimited number of red achievement stripes for exceptional effort, the 5 colored stripes at each belt for skill attainment, and Karate Bucks when they've had a good class. (Karate Bucks can be saved and used to purchase martial arts related merchandise from the office). With each stripe and each new belt, students are able to set and achieve new goals. Our curriculum was carefully designed to give students fresh material and challenging skills to learn at each belt level that will excite and motivate them at every step. Finally, we participate in both intramural and local tournaments; a great way for students to improve their skills and build self-esteem.
When should we bring hand and foot pads?
Hand and Foot pads are included as a part of the Red Belt Program. Once you've received your hand and foot pads, you should start bringing them to all of your classes, including any graduation ceremonies that you attend. Students will use their hand and foot pads regularly during class). Remember, everyone's hand and foot pads look alike. Please mark your pads (first initial and last name) with a permanent marker (Silver-colored Sharpie markers work very well for marking pads).
What do the different colored stripes mean?
Each colored stripe represents a different skill set. For example, green stripes are earned for developing proficiency at standing self defense skills. Depending on the belt level, there are also stripes for forms, pad strikes, focus mitt combinations and paper drills. Each is outlined in more detail in the Student Handbook.
How do I know if my child is ready to graduate?
You will know that your child is ready to graduate to their next belt when they have received 5 colored stripes (yellow, green, blue, orange and black) on their belt. These stripes are awarded for proficiency at a particular skill. The instructor will also give your child a pre-graduation slip (a quarter sheet of paper) that should be turned into the office at least 2 days prior to the graduation ceremony with the accompanying graduation fee. Students who are ready to be promoted to the next belt level will also have their name placed on the school's graduation board. Their name is placed under their current belt level, and the corresponding time for that graduation ceremony will be listed on the board for your reference. Also, note that the class time for your child's next belt may be different than their current class time.
Please consult the current school schedule.
Does my child have to graduate if they have all of their stripes?
Instructors will award students advancement stripes when they feel that they have achieved proficiency at a particular skill. However, at any point, you may choose to have your child remain at a belt level after they have earned all of the required stripes for advancement.
What happens during a graduation ceremony?
Graduation ceremonies are an opportunity for students to show off their skills. Grand Master Pat Worley, founder of the Ultimate Martial Arts & Fitness Schools, attends each of our graduations to meet all of our new students and follow their progress. We encourage families and friends to attend in support of students and to help them celebrate their achievements. Oftentimes, parents are invited onto the mat to participate in the ceremony. Feel free to take videos or pictures.
Are students required to spar?
No. Under the ability level of Red Belt, sparring is not required. Sparring is offered as optional class after students have reached the level of Green Belt. Sparring classes are designed to show students a practical application of their martial arts skills. Students wear protective gear (head gear with a face shield, chest protectors, shin and elbow pads, etc.) to ensure the safety of all participants. Sparring basics and fundamentals are reviewed in each class, and students are paired with other students of their own size and ability level. Students are never required to spar against another student with whom they are not comfortable. If a student would like to try sparring, but is apprehensive, we would be happy to provide a free private sparring class.
What is a "kata"?
Kata, or form, are a sequence of choreographed movements performed against an imaginary set of opponents. They are a very traditional and more artistic component of martial arts training. Historically, kata was used as a means for retaining fitness as warriors travelled. When done properly, a student will be tired after having completed even a basic kata.
What does "Might for Right" mean?
Might for Right is our school motto. We conclude each of our classes by repeating this motto to help our students understand that there is an appropriate time and place for using their martial arts skills. We reinforce this idea during class time as well. It is important for students to understand that they should only use their skills in a self defense situation; when they feel that they are going to be harmed by someone. Otherwise they should work to resolve conflicts with words or with the help of a trusted adult.
How do I tie my Karate Belt?
Start by finding the center of the belt and hold it up to your front. Wrap one end of the belt all the way around the body and back to the front. Wrap the other end around on top of the first piece, and bring it back to the front.
Next, take the end that is on the outside; bring it underneath both pieces of the belt, from the bottom side up to the top. Take this piece and bring it back to the outside, wrap it over the top of the other end, and then thread it through the loop that was just created, from the bottom to the top. Finally, pull both ends straight to the sides to tighten.