Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What equipment is required?

Strictly speaking the only required equipment is a mouthguard. This is necessary for sparring, which will not begin until sometime into the season. The club provides each new member with a mouthguard for free. After that, replacement mouthguards (including case) are available for $4.

The mouthguard should be shaped to conform to the student's upper jaw by immersing briefly in hot (not scalding) water and then immediately placing it over the teeth and pushing it tightly against the gums with the lips and tongue.

Q: Is a uniform required?

Initially, students do not require a uniform, so they may wish to give classes a trial period before investing in one. However, in order to be promoted, a student must have a uniform (because they must have a belt), so, ultimately it is required if students wish to advance. The club provides uniforms to students at cost.

Those who choose to participate without a uniform should wear loose-fitting athletic clothing, such as sweat pants and a t-shirt

Q: What should I wear under my uniform?

If we're doing things right, karate is a sweaty business which requires freedom of movement, so we don't recommend wearing anything but the usual undergarments under your gi/uniform pants. For modesty and comfort, most students choose to wear a short-sleeved t-shirt under their gi/uniform top. This t-shirt should be tucked into the gi bottoms so as not to hang out underneath the gi top.  

Q: Is sparring gear required?

No. The club has a number of sets of sparring gear which students are welcome to use; however, depending on enrolment, we may not have enough sets to suit up everyone each time we choose to spar. For that reason, and because some people prefer not to share sweaty equipment with others, some members do choose to buy their own gear.

We would not advise purchasing gear immediately, though, until the member has decided that karate is something he/she wishes to commit to. Students who have been with the club for more than one year, are encouraged to consider purchasing gear, if finances allow.

To accommodate members in this regard, once a year, the club will place a special order for sparring gear, offered at our wholesale cost. By ordering in this way, we can minimize shipping costs, thereby, keeping the price low and uniform.

 Q: How might I expect karate to differ from other physical/sports activities?

First of all, in addition to being a physical activity, karate is also a culture. That culture is evident most notably in the mutual respect among students and between students and instructors. The culture also demands control of one's body and self-control of one's impulses. As a result, class should always be a safe, non-threatening environment for everyone involved.

Our particular martial arts emphasis is entirely non-competitive. We do not attend tournaments, for example. When working with partners in drills, and even in sparring, the goal is always to further the growth of both participants, not to "win" against the other person or to out-do him/her.

One of the goals of our program is to challenge the individual, within the range his/her abilities. Those challenges can be both physical and intellectual. At times, it will even challenge the participant's character.

Martial arts provides the opportunity for life-long learning and growth. There is no end to the martial arts curriculum. A black belt is not an end, but a beginning.

Unlike team sports, which require a certain number of willing participants, martial arts training requires only a small space to train, and a willing body, mind and spirit.

 Q: What if my schedule doesn't allow me or my child to attend every class?

We fully recognize that people have lives outside the martial arts. Students will in no way be penalized for missing classes. However, we do ask that students (and parents) recognize that, while attendance is not the only consideration in advancement, irregular attendance can have a negative effect on a student's rate of progress.

Q: If I (or my child) can only attend one class a week, can I get a reduction in fees?

We strongly believe that our fees are very reasonable as is, and we're not interested in complicating our fee collection, so the answer to this question is, unfortunately, NO.

Q: What are my fees used for?

Your fees are used to cover the following costs:

  • Facility rent, where that is a part of our expenses.
  • Club equipment.
  • Special events.
  • Travel costs of overseeing masters (Master Harding, Master Thiele) when they visit.
  • Travel costs of black belts and upper belts to further their training (and the growth of the club) by travelling to Regina.

No instructors, local or visiting, receive payment for their services. All donate their time and effort.

 Q: What should I do if I'm late to class? Should I avoid coming to class altogether?

No. If you can make it for any meaningful portion of the class, you should come. Just follow this procedure:

  • Enter the gym/dojo quietly, so as not disrupt the ongoing class.
  • Choose a place at the back of the class, slightly away from the activity and kneel down as you would at the beginning of any class.
  • Take a few moments to practice your breathing and ready yourself for class, then bow in.
  • Stand, acknowledge the instructor leading the class by bowing to him/her, and then join the class activity.

Q: When does testing occur?

Testing occurs when the instructors deem that a student is ready to advance. This can vary considerably among students, as it is dependent on age, attitude, aptitude, skill, level of concentration, attendance, maturity and a host of other factors. We will not test anyone whom we think is unprepared for the test. Our goal it to challenge people yet build their level of confidence, not destroy their confidence by subjecting them to failure. Testing can occur at any time during the year.

Q: My friend/cousin/niece/nephew/... is in ________ martial art, and he/she already has his/her ______ belt. Why am I (or my child) still stuck at _______ belt?

For better or worse, there is no uniform standard that defines what constitutes a given belt level within the vast and varied world of the martial arts; however, within our system (Shao-lin Kempo), we do strive for some consistency in the pace of promotions. We freely admit, though, that our pace is considerably slower than many other systems. We prefer to err on the side of caution, ensuring that each belt level has meaning for all those involved, but especially for the student who knows how hard he/she worked to achieve it.

Therefore, you won't see any 11-year-old black belts in Shao-liin Kempo. In fact, you're unlikely to see any 11-year-old green belts. But when you do see someone with a coloured belt, you can be assured he/she worked hard to earn it.