Most people have a vague idea of what the term Karate means, although very few know exactly what it entails. Karate is a martial art that originated in the East. Like dance which is made up of ballet, jazz, modern, Latin American etc. so to is karate made up of different styles. Goju, Shotokan and Shukokai are the 3 biggest styles in South Africa. Of the three styles, Shotokan is by far the largest. Within the shotokan styles there are various associations. The largest and strongest of these is SA JKA Karate Association founded by Sensei Stan Schmidt – of which Alberton JKA is a member. This means that if you should ever move, either within South Africa or overseas, you will be able to find a dojo that practices the same style of karate and would not have to start all over again under another style. Karate very often becomes a way of life, which may be continued well into your 70’s and 80’s. Just as you make careful choices about the educational institution in which you enroll your child there are considerations before joining a karate club. There are many different factors one should look at in order to make the right choice for you. How then should you go about choosing a karate club? Karate is much more than just a sport and careful consideration must be given to the choice that you make. Shop around, make comparisons and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If the dojo cannot or will not offer the answers to your questions, are they really right for you? Ultimately you are the one paying the fees and have the right to know whether or not the dojo you are considering can offer you a long lasting and promising karate career. It can be heartbreaking to see a child train for many years only to find out that he cannot enter any National events or earn an Internationally recognised Black belt. Although a karateka can change style or dojo halfway through their karate career, this is not really the preferred way to go - rather make the correct choice right at the start! GEOGRAPHY OR STYLE? If you do not have a preference of style then your choice may be made by the dojo (or school) which is geographically closest to you. In much the same way, a dojo may be chosen according to the times of the classes. Sometimes, however, choosing the closest or most convenient dojo is not always the right choice. There are other factors one should also take into account. ASSOCIATIONS To which associations is the dojo affiliated? There are many reasons why a dojo should be affiliated to the different associations. Affiliating to a particular style also enables the student to enter competitions, nationally recognised gradings and training camps. Alberton JKA is affiliated to SA JKA Karate Association and Karate Syndicate. INSTRUCTORS A Senior Instructor of a dojo should be training, both locally (on a regular basis with other highly graded instructors of his style) and internationally, in order to keep abreast of the changes in his style. RESULTS Is the dojo that you are considering a regular participant at national and local tournaments? If so what are the results of these tournaments? What other activities does the dojo offer during the year? We encourage our students to enter as many competitions as possible (at both club level as well as national and international) as well as attend as many other events as they can.