Shinseido
Practical Karate for Self Defence




Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What does 'Karate' mean?
  2. Which martial art is best for me?
  3. What are the benefits of practising Shinseido Shorin Ryu?
  4. Do I have to be fit to start training?
  5. Do I have to wear the funny white pyjamas?
  6. Do I have to become a member of the club?
  7. Can I practice other martial arts at the same time?
  8. Will I be able to enter competitions?
  9. How long will it take to get my first belt?
  10. How long will it take to get to black belt?
  11. I already have a grade in another martial art. Will my grade transfer?
  12. I have a disability. Will I still be able to train?
  13. Can I wear my glasses / contact lenses / dentures?
  14. Am I too old for martial arts?
  15. Do I have to train in bare feet?
  16. Is the training full contact? Will I get injured?
  17. Do I need any protective equipment?
  18. Do I need to practice at home?
  19. How do I pay?
  20. Will I have adequate insurance cover?
  21. Does the practice include training with weapons, or how to deal with armed assaults?
  22. Are there any children's classes?
  23. Are there any women only classes?

What does 'Karate' mean?
Karate is a Japanese word which means 'empty hand'. Karate-do is the 'way of the empty hand'. However, in the past kara-te was more often called 'to-te'. To-te roughly means 'Chinese hands' and betrays the Chinese influence on our martial art.

Which martial art is best for me?
It depends on a number of factors. What do you want out of a martial art? Self-defence? Fitness? Sport? Spiritual development? Different arts and different clubs will have different strengths and weaknesses. And much depends on the individual instructor. First, ask yourself what you want out of training. Then ask any potential instructor what they can provide, to see if their club meets your criteria. Before joining any one organisation, feel free to try several different styles and clubs to see which one suits you.

What are the benefits of practising Shinseido Shorin Ryu?
First and foremost Shinseido training is geared towards self-defence. However, self-defence isn't just about defeating a violent attacker, its also about living a long and healthy life. Shinseido training is an holistic approach to doing just that. Many people talk about spiritual development in martial arts. We can't promise that you'll become 'enlightened' but we do believe that Shinseido training makes people mentally stronger, so that they are better equipped to deal with life's ups and downs.

Do I have to be fit to start training?
No. Often people start martial art training as a way of getting fit. In Shinseido no-one is thrown in at the deep end. Instead, your level of fitness is likely to gradually increase the longer you train. Class sizes are small, which means that your instructor will be able to closely monitor both your technical progress and your fitness. This way, the risk of injury through overtraining is kept to a minimum.

Do I have to wear the funny white pyjamas?
Not in the early stages of training. Initially you should just wear loose, comfortable clothing. You will need to get a training uniform, or 'gi', after your first examination. Training uniforms are made of robust material which can easily stand up to the wear and tear of training. You can purchase a uniform at a discount rate through your instructor, or elsewhere if you prefer. If you already have a uniform of another design from a different martial art, you may wear that until such a time as it needs replacing, at which point you should purchase a plain, white gi.

Do I have to become a member of the club?
We welcome visitors, whether they are complete novices or highly experienced in other martial arts. There is no charge for your first training session. However, if you wish to train in Shinseido regularly then you will need to become a member. Membership ensures that you are fully insured to train in Shinseido and helps to support the running of the club.

Can I practice other martial arts at the same time?
Yes, of course. Ultimately you can only benefit from training with other instructors and in other martial arts. However, you should understand that to study two martial arts at the same time requires serious commitment, if you are to do justice to both arts. Shinseido instructors will be happy to give whatever advice or insight they can to students who are interested in 'cross-training'.

Will I be able to enter competitions?
Shinseido is not geared towards sporting success. It is not an area that we, as a group, have any interest in. Therefore, the training will not include any preparation for sporting competition. Students will not be encouraged to enter any form of competition, but neither will they be discouraged. Anyone who wishes to engage in competition might wish to seek tuition outside of Shinseido, with instructors who have expertise in that aspect of training.

How long will it take to get my first belt?
It usually takes between 3 and 6 months of training in the Leeds club to be awarded the first grade in Shinseido. This will vary from student to student. Students who have previous experience in martial arts may find that they are able to grade more quickly.

How long will it take to get to black belt?
Students should expect to take 5 years or more to get to black belt. This may be more than in some martial arts, but we believe that if something is worth doing then it is worth doing well. It should also be remembered that getting a black belt does not indicate mastery. It is merely a milestone, indicating that a person has achieved a good grasp of the fundamentals of Shinseido.

I already have a grade in another martial art. Will my grade transfer?
No. Shinseido is not just another style of Karate, that can be quickly picked up by anyone with a bit of previous experience. It is a rich and living tradition. As such it will inevitably take time to gain understanding of the system and competence in its techniques. All students work through the usual kyu/dan syllabus, though students with prior martial experience can expect to grade more quickly, depending on their level of experience.

I have a disability. Will I still be able to train?
Almost certainly, yes. Shinseido is moulded to the student, not the other way round. You will never be asked or expected to do anything that aggravates your health. If you have any concerns in this regard please feel free to contact the instructor who will be happy to discuss your concerns and work with you to address them wherever possible.

Can I wear my glasses / contact lenses / dentures?
Its fine to wear glasses during training if you need to. For some exercises it may be sensible to remove your glasses first. This can be worked out with your instructor and your training partners. Contact lenses are fine as long as they are soft and recommended for sports use by your optician. Dentures should not be worn unless they are permanently fixed in place - otherwise there may be a risk of choking if you have an accident during training. If you have any concerns in this regard please feel free to discuss them with the instructor.

Am I too old for martial arts?
Probably not. Shinseido uses economical and holistic techniques rather than the high kicks and deep stances often associated with martial arts. Class sizes are small, which means that your instructor will be able to closely monitor both your technical progress and your fitness. This way, the risk of injury through overtraining is kept to a minimum. If necessary, your instructor may work with you to modify the techniques so as to suit your body.

Do I have to train in bare feet?
Generally we train in bare feet, so as to reduce the risk of injury to our partners when practising kicking techniques. However, if you have a medical condition which requires you to wear shoes (such as having insoles for 'flat feet') then it is fine to wear soft soled shoes. It is better that these shoes are kept for Shinseido training rather than also being used for hiking in the dales or other outdoor activities.

Is the training full contact? Will I get injured?
It is very much our hope and intention that you will not be injured during Shinseido training. However, it is by nature a physical activity. During training you will inevitably encounter the odd knock or bruise, but the training is geared to avoid any more serious injury than that. Beginners are not expected to endure such knocks and bruises. Over time your training will inevitably intensify but this will be in line with your ability to cope with that intensity. Of course, each student's age and health will be a factor in determining how intense their training is. No Shinseido student will ever be forced into doing anything that they are not comfortable with.

Do I need any protective equipment?
No. Any protective equipment that is needed will be provided by the club. As you progress in your training you may wish to purchase other training aids for use at home (eg. a punchbag) but that is entirely at your own discretion.

Do I need to practice at home?
It is not expected that beginners will do much, if any, home practice. However, as students progress over the months and years, they generally become more enthusiastic about training and will naturally put in some home practice. This is by no means compulsory but is certainly recommended. Inevitably you can only progress so far without devoting some time to personal practice, or to put it another way, you will only get out as much as you put in.

How do I pay?
Please refer to the page on Costs for details of all fees.

Will I have adequate insurance cover?
Members of the club are covered by a standard members insurance policy provided by Perkins Slade Insurance Brokers.

Does the practice include training with weapons, or how to deal with armed assaults?
Yes, it wouldn't truly be self-defence training if it didn't. However, for the first several years students will work primarily on unarmed defence against unarmed assaults. Only after they have a good grounding in the principles of unarmed combat will they begin to delve more into the study of weapons. Weapons techniques in Shinseido generally build upon the skills already learned in the unarmed portion of the syllabus. Weapons you will train to defend against are those that you might expect to face in real life assaults in modern Britain, not the medieval battlefield. When far enough through the syllabus, all students will learn to use sticks of various lengths as both defensive and offensive weapons. Training in the weapons of classical Okinawan Shorin Ryu is also available for those wish to pursue that aspect of the system.

Are there any children's classes?
No. Currently classes in Leeds are limited to adults of 18 years and over. However, if you are looking for classes for your child this page lists some local clubs that we recommend for children.

Are there any women only classes?
No, men and women train together in Shinseido. We avoid the stereotypical testosterone filled atmosphere found in some martial art clubs and offer any interested adults a warm welcome, regardless of gender or age. We also believe that ultimately it doesn't do women any good to train exclusively with women. After all, if they ever have to use their martial skills for real it is most likely to be against a man, so that's what they should get used to dealing with in their training.


Home