Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu Black Belt Society Member
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ChunJiDo International
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Dragon-Phoenix Martial Arts
Swan's Martial Arts Academy
Syracuse Academy of Self Defense
New World Martial Arts Affiliate
New World Martial Arts Affiliate

FAQ

Am I too old to start martial arts?

Absolutely not. You should be clear what you want to get out of a martial arts class and talk to the instructor about your goals to make sure what is being taught lines up with your goals.

How long will it take me to get my black belt?

We usually say it's not the destination you should be focused on but the journey instead. Depending on what age you start, it takes around 4-5 years but can take shorter or longer. Many factors go into this process. Remember the belt merely holds your uniform together. The knowledge and skill acquired are the most important things you should take from any martial arts instruction.

Why do we study karate if we're not supposed to fight?

by Sensei Ken Swan

I'm often inspired by questions that my students ask me in class. So, I thought I would give them something to think about and asked a question of my own, "Why do we study karate if we're not supposed to fight?"

I was very curious to see what they would come up with for answers. I was pleasantly surprised with the thought that went into the answers I received. My younger students expressed to me that it's not right to hurt other people because that's not what you would want them to do to you. My older students gave more detailed answers. One of my adult students, Melissa, submitted an answer that was well thought out.

"Why do we study karate if we are not supposed to fight?"

"My art is Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu. I come with love and respect. If I have to protect myself, my family, my principles or my honor, Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu is my weapon. I will not in any way abuse what I have learned." The words of our creed form a succinct answer to the question posed above. In order to maintain peace, one must prepare for war. This is the one reason for studying an art that we never hope to use.

The intangible benefits go far beyond the physical ones, however. The five rules of the school -- etiquette, effort, self control, sincerity, and character -- are also apt rules for life as well. In an age where many people in our country face health challenges due to obesity and lethargy, karate teaches us that our body needs to move to be healthy and provides a dynamic for doing so. There is the benefit of social interaction, actively participating in a class that encourages and challenges. I can personally attest to the sense of accomplishment that carries over into all other facets of my life. The feeling of empowerment and pride are invaluable. The study of any martial art can enrich us physically, mentally and spiritually, without us ever needing to raise a hand against an enemy. -- Melissa

Her thoughts summed up what we try to teach. Our creed puts us in the mindset of peace. Our rules give us principles to live by. This is the heart of what we try to accomplish as instructors and role models.

While getting involved a conflict is not our goal, it is a reality in this day and age that we should be prepared to face. Martial arts teaches us more than how to throw a punch or a kick. It can give us tools to resolve conflicts in a non-physical way by teaching us to use our head before our fists. As Master Duncan has said so often, Kempo is a thinking art. We should use the tools we have, including our heads, to most effectively handle a situation. Our head and heart should not only help us to determine what to do in a conflict but also our everyday lives. Martial arts training provides us with a way to understand what we're made of on the inside as well as an activity to improve our physical health.

I'd like to thank the students for taking the time to think about their answers. I'd also like to thank Melissa for expressing her thoughts so well, I couldn't help but share it with everyone. Keep up the good work!

In Peace, Sensei Ken

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