Am I physically fit enough to begin training?
Physical fitness is a goal of training, not a requirement. You will be encouraged to further your potential by working to your capacity. At the beginning, you will work privately with an instructor or in small groups with other novices. Progress will be faster than you might imagine. Look around you at the fitness and proficiency of the advanced belts. They were once beginners too.
Isn’t karate violent?
Training at our school is active, challenging and thoughtful. It is not violent. In sparring we strive to overcome ourselves, not others. For this reason sparring at the Toronto Academy is rigorous but strictly non-contact. Standards of student behavior are rigidly adhered to. Non-violence is a value we all share.
Will I be able to learn the movements without looking foolish?
The atmosphere in the dojo is intense and happy, warm and supportive, strongly emphasizing self-discipline in an environment of self-development. You will quickly realize that grace, coordination and presence are goals of training rather than prerequisites.
What are the colours of belt at the Toronto Academy of Karate?
Every colour belt at the Toronto Academy is important and worn with pride. White is the first level belt, followed by yellow, green, blue, purple, brown and black. Advancement comes quickly to students who train diligently and frequently. These factors, not calendar times, are the basis of promotion.
The white belt holds a special place in our dojo. To the beginner, everything is fresh, new and difficult. The white belt reminds us of what it was like when we first started our training. Earning a black belt is therefore not the aim of training, it is a new beginning. Worn over time a black belt frays and fades, becoming white again. To maintain a fresh beginner’s mind is one of the basic expressions of the challenge of karate-do.
How does martial arts become a way of character development? I always thought it was concerned with fighting.
The most important victory is not over others, but over oneself. The true warrior is not one who has conquered one thousand men, but rather he who has conquered himself. Through our training, we conquer our fears, insecurities, worries, doubts – all the things that keep us from being whom we wish to be. This is not accomplished by dreaming, studying philosophy or hoping (although these may help). Nor is it accomplished solely by physical exercise. It is accomplished by diligent mental and physical training which develops within oneself, the characteristics of physical strength, self-defense technique, mental discipline, confidence and self-control. Just as we develop muscles in our arms and legs, we develop discipline and confidence in our minds and spirits.
We create an image of ourselves, and then we make it real.
“Only a truly strong person is capable of supreme gentleness, empathy, and caring for others. This is the mission of our school and the environment of our daily training.”