Shotokan originated in Okinawa with Gichin Funakoshi. He created the form and popularized karate in general. Born in 1868, Funakoshi started training while he was in elementary school, learning from two Okinawa masters. In 1922 he became one of the Okinawa masters who introduced karate to the Japanese mainland. In 1936 Funakoshi built the first shotokan dojo in Tokyo. IN 1948 the Japan Karate Association (JKA) was officially established. Master Funakoshi became the highest master, or Shuseki Shihan.
Today, the Japan Karate Association is one of the oldest and most influential karate organizations with members in 100 countries around the world. Bethpage Shotokan is a proud member of the JKA.
Students generally can rise in rank by 1 kyu every 3-6 months. Expect to train for at least 9-18 months to reach each successive belt level.
Six months after students attain 1st kyu, they may then start testing for "dan" (black belt) ranks. Students who train regularly typically require 3 to 5 years to reach the first level (Shodan) of black belt.
Each successive black belt rank takes longer to attain. It will take at least 2 years to go from Shodan (1st degree) to Nidan (2nd degree), at least 3 years between Nidan and Sandan (3rd degree) etc. The highest possible rank to achieve is Judan (10th Dan Black Belt).
The elementary building blocks of karate: stance, posture, coordinated body movement, and concentration upon the opponent. These provide a sound foundation. If the basics are strong, it is easy to develop more advanced techniques.
A pre-arranged sequence of techniques and movements simulating combat against multiple imaginary opponents. This specialized method of training is a rational extension of basics, offering situations in which certain attacks and defenses would be applicable. Kata is performed solo or in precision teams, and offers practice in combinations of techniques, focus and release of tension, breath control, and rhythm. Each level of karate study has its prescribed kata that trains the student, mentally and physically, for the next more advanced level.
As with kata, each level of training has its prescribed method of sparring, from the formal five or three-step sparring of the basic level (when the targets and attacker/defender are pre-arranged), to the free sparring of the most advanced level (when the participants themselves act/react spontaneously with attacks/blocks, using timing, distance, and strategy. But always, the attack is arrested just before body contact is made, requiring extreme body control and mental discipline.
We are located in the Police Athletic League Building in the basement. The PAL building is just slightly north of the intersection of Stewart and Central Ave, just south of the Bethpage train station.
Kids classes at Bethpage Shotokan are administered by the Bethpage Police Athletic League. Schedule and dues for the kids classes are determined by the PAL. In general, kids classes are held during the school year on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:45-6:30, immediately preceding the adult class and taught by the same instructor.
Teens and kids who are serious about karate and would like to train outside of the school year are welcome to inquire about training with the adult class.