Traditional Shotokan Karate Club, established 1972




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Kenshinkai - All Answers

We hope the information contained on this page will help you decide whether you wish to start your Karate training, and if this is the right club for you.




If you have questions not answered here please call 01284 810446. For administration inquiries please ask for Julie the club Secretary. If your inquiry regards training please ask for Sensei (teacher) this is pronounced "sen-say".



What is Karate?

Karate is a system of self defence and physical culture originally developed and refined in Okinawa and Japan. The word Karate is formed from the Japanese words Kara (empty) and Te (hand), symbolising that its practitioners - Karateka - are unarmed, but use their hands and feet for blocking and striking.


Training is conducted within an environment based on certain Japanese cultural practices.



Why do people do Karate?

There are many reasons, however, the majority of people feel that with an ever-increasing violent society, the need to be able to protect themselves and their families becomes the most important.


With bullying still present at school, the self-confidence gained from Karate can make a big difference to a child´s school life.



What are the benefits of Karate training?

The physical training required to reach a high level of skill in Karate promotes overall good health, fitness and well-being. The concentration, commitment and dedication required, help build a strong, confident and determined character. There is a "Dojo Kun", or training code, which not only ensures a disciplined training environment, but also serves as a tool for improving behaviour, so that a true Karateka will only use their fighting skills as a last resort.




Can anyone do Karate?

In general, yes.  Men, women and children can practice karate. Our students range from the very young to senior citizens. Anyone who is in reasonable health can train at karate, you do not have to be fit or flexible.


Before entering the dojo, please remove your socks and shoes. All training is in bare feet and without mats. Please remove all jewellery. This should be placed in a safe location.


Wedding rings should also be removed. It this causes a personal problem, they should be taped over to prevent injury to fellow students. Stud earrings are permitted but all other should be removed. If you are unsure about an item of jewellery please ask the dojo Secretary.


Please note, that the club accepts no responsibility for items of clothing/jewellery etc lost during the duration of the classes.

What is Kenshinkai?

This is the name of the club, which was formed in 1972 by the late Eddie Whitcher 5th Dan. The club trains at The Academy Health & Fitness Centre in Barrow, Suffolk which is owned by Sensei Moulds. Students are encouraged to train at all clubs should they wish. More information about class locations and training times can be found in the menu under 'classes'.



How often should I train?

This is totally dependant on what you wish to gain from Karate, obviously the more you practice the faster you learn. As a general rule, training twice a week will keep you in pace with the rest of the class. Less than this and you need to be questioning yourself whether you are serious enough to learn a Martial Art. More than twice and the growth will be accelerated.

I Am Ready.

Contact your nearest club by phone or email about attending a 'Taster' class, or

Contact Head Quarters

on 01284 810 446, or

Download a sign-up pack, print complete

and return to your nearest Dojo during

open hours:

Sign-up Pack

How can I join the club?

New students are permitted to take 2 lessons without applying to join the club. This will ensure they have given it a good try before committing to paying the joining fee. After the second lesson students should complete an application form and pay a joining fee of £25. This covers first year's membership and insurance. Hand this to the dojo Secretary together with your fees for your Karate suit and the monthly fee and you will receive your Gi at the next lesson you attend.


More details on costs can be found below.




First time attending the club for training

The hardest thing about attending a Karate class is walking into the dojo (hall). If you have already done that, then congratulations, if you are unsure or nervous about entering on your own don't worry, ask the dojo secretary to guide you in. It's quite natural to feel nervous.



How much does it cost?

Karate is a reasonably inexpensive pursuit. The Kenshinkai club fees are low compared to many other sports and hobbies. The main equipment needed is a Karate suit and belt. Members also need to purchase an annual licence. New students pay per lesson for the first two lessons. Thereafter, students should enrol on the monthly membership scheme which is paid at the beginning of each calendar month. Some months this will be 9 lessons and therefore the cheaper way to pay. Payment monthly also lessens the work of the dojo Secretary. Standing Order forms are available for your convenience.




Price List, 2013


Trial Lessons, or 'Tasters'

Trial lessons, or 'Tasters' are available for those considering Kenshinkai Shotokan Karate.  A maximum of two Tasters are allowed per person.  These classes are £5 each with no other costs or obligation.


Joining/Annual Membership Fee

This fee includes the cost of your licence, one year of Club Membership and insurance.  Cost is £25.


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£5 per session for first two trial lessons


Monthly Lesson Fee: Sho

£25 per month for one training class per week


Monthly Lesson Fee: Dai

£35 per month, train in class up to 7  times per week


Remember that for every paid lesson month members are entitled to use the facilities of the Suffolk Academy Life Gym.


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The cost of lesson fees does take in to account holidays in the summer and at Christmas.  Fees must be paid consecutively to maintain your position within class (please see the note below).  Your Monthly Lesson Fee will always be due whether you train or not, unless you inform the club in writing, in advance.


For your convenience and to ensure you maintain your position within the club please complete a Standing Order Form for Monthly Lesson Fee payment.




All classes have a limit to the number permitted to train in them, once this number is reached, a waiting list will operate. This list is for new beginners and current members who have not paid their Monthly Lesson Fees. To rejoin the class you must wait to see if someone drops out.

Entering the Dojo

Shotokan Karate is very traditional and is based upon many years of history and tradition, which is maintained above all. Etiquette and respect is paramount. All students must bow from the waist upon entering and leaving the dojo. The bow (rei) should be in the direction of Sensei.


All commands at the club are in Japanese; please don't worry, as you will learn these over a period of time. You are not expected to know anything to begin, even if you have trained elsewhere. You will be allocated an Instructor who will be your guide for the first few weeks. In this short time you will learn most of the Japanese terms used.


The class will then line up to start the lesson facing Sensei. Beginners will be at one end and the most senior Black Belts at the other. The formal kneeling ceremony will then commence followed by the lesson.




The Training

You are not required to have any level of fitness to start training as long as you are in good health. Many people believe you have to be fit or flexible to do Karate, this is not so. The training is designed to improve these qualities over the years. Is all we ask is that you give 100% effort when training and enjoy the class.


Karate students will improve their health, self-awareness, self-confidence and self-esteem. Parents and teachers continually report on the improvement in the behaviour of children who train regularly at Kenshinkai clubs. This is because of our disciplined training structure and the emphasis placed on good etiquette.


Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to speak to the Dojo Secretary or the Instructors.




What is involved in Karate training?

Training is structured into three main sections - Kihon (fundamental basic techniques) consisting of blocks, strikes, punches and kicks. Kata, (formal exercises), involving the fighting of multiple opponents at the same time, and Kumite (sparring). Each section has a range of complexity to suit the different levels or grades of students. Kumite will be introduced as basic blocking and counter-attacking, but will progress at a later stage to free sparring which develops the timing, reflexes and co-ordination necessary for self defence and competition. Close supervision of children is strict when doing all forms of fighting.




What is Shotokan Karate?

There are several fundamental styles of Karate which all conform to the above definition, but use slightly different training methods and place varying degrees of emphasis on issues such as the speed, strength and range of techniques - thus you will hear some described as "fast" styles, others as "strong" styles.



Shotokan is a style of Karate, which emphasises a balanced development of all these aspects, taught within a system, which instils confidence and self-control. The Shotokan style was originated by an Okinawan teacher of physical education, Gichin Funakoshi who introduced it to Japan in 1922, where the Japanese Master Masatoshi Nakayama developed it extensively.



Shotokan has spread to become the most widely practiced style of Karate throughout the world.



Grading Examinations

Kenshinkai students are entitled to take grading examinations after set periods of training. The gradings are conducted by Senior Examiners, and there is a grading syllabus for all levels. Coloured belts are used to denote grades.


There are 9 grades below Black Belt. These are known as Kyu grades with 9th Kyu, red belt, being the lowest and 1st Kyu, brown and white, the highest. More information about exams will be explained as you progress in your training.


Equipment & Sportswear


Available from the Dojo Office or in our online shop are a range of accessories frequently used for Karate training.  Sports clothing is also available for juniors and Adults.


Karate Suits, Gi

Juniors, £18

Adult, £20



Soft Hand Mitts

One Size, Juniors & Women, £6


Gum Shield, £1.50


Grading Examination, £20

Begin your journey…