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Everything you need to know about classes in Wado Karate at Shouwa Jyuku (Shikukai in Essex).

Karate, what is it and why do it?

Generally described as; Martial Art, Fighting skills, unarmed combat, etc. Used primarily for individual self defence, elevated and extended to a higher level as a form of physical and personal development.

Originated in China, Okinawa and Japan and steeped in the philosophies and cultures of these countries.

Wado as a style of Karate.

Each style or school of karate has it’s own distinctive characteristics. Wado is generally identified by it’s practicality and economy of movement making it a very efficient fighting system. In addition, Wado is unique in that it is primarily a Japanese “Budo” system. (“Budo” lit. “Martial Way”) this means that it can trace it’s lineage and traditions back to the sophisticated physical and philosophical methods of the Japanese warrior caste, the Samurai, and the schools (“Ryu”) that came out of that tradition. The founder of the Wado school, Hironori Ohtsuka, was a teacher from this very old tradition and was a master of the highest level in Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jujutsu.

Modern karate is an excellent form of physical exercise, and as a mental discipline is second to none. It presents us with an opportunity to explore our human potential and to aspire towards greater fulfillment.

Shouwa Jyuku Class Structure

Classes at Shouwa Jyuku are deliberately kept small and manageable and assistant instructors are always on hand to enable the class to be divided into groups. We have enough space and expertise to accommodate mixed grade groups but always ensure that students work to their own level.

A typical class begins with meditation (Mokuso) followed by the formal bow. Students are then led through a thorough warm-up and stretch prior to the practice of fundamentals. No two classes are the same and the themes follow a rolling programme to ensure that the curriculum is covered.


Gradings are an essential part of training. There are eight levels of student gradings, (Kyu) These begin with 8th Kyu, indicated by the wearing of a yellow belt, then 7th Kyu (orange), 6th Kyu, 5th Kyu, 4th Kyu (all green belts), 3rd Kyu, 2nd Kyu, 1st Kyu (all brown belts). There is a minimum time limit of three months between Kyu grades. The examiner for all kyu gradings is Sugasawa Sensei, who visits the club regularly. All Kyu gradings take place at our Shouwa Jyuku Dojo.

Dan grades (indicated by the wearing of a black belt) progress upwards from 1st Dan, to 2nd Dan, etc.

FAQ – Frequently asked questions.

I am a complete beginner, is it okay just to turn up? I won’t get thrown in at the deep end will I?

The club is set up to cater for new members at any time, regardless of their ability. New beginners are always taught seperately in the initial stages of their training and once a secure knowledge base is established they are steadily eased into the general training. We always insist that beginners work according to their own ability.

Do I have to be super-fit and super-flexible to do karate?

No. Everyone starts from their own level. Karate training is designed to be progressive, following logical steps. Strength, speed, stamina, flexibility and coordination all follow on as a result of continued practice. New members often comment that they very quickly notice a marked improvement in these areas.

Is there an age limit?

We do not accept students younger than 14, and at the upper age range there is no limit, within reason.

Self defence, is it included in the training?

Wado karate is about fighting and as such has a wide and comprehensive curriculum. As a system that has a large Jujutsu element to it, including, unarmed defence against weapons, locks, throws, disengagements and precision strikes involving hands, feet, elbows and knees, Wado karate is rich in fighting skills applicable to all self defence scenarios.

Is competition karate part of training in Wado Karate?

Yes, however we do not see competition karate as the end product of karate training, it is part of what we do. We appreciate that competition karate is not for everyone and as such there is no obligation for students to take part in karate competitions.

I have a background in martial art training from a discipline outside of the Wado style of karate, is this liable to be a problem?

No, often it is the case that a broad experience and knowledge can enrich your approach to Wado and give a useful perspective on the skills and benefits to be gained.

If I have a grade in another style do I have to wear a white belt?

No, you don’t have to – this is entirely up to you, you can wear whatever belt you have. Shikukai Chelmsford have an open door policy towards stylists from other schools.