How long does it take to get a black belt?

This depends a great deal on the time and effort that you are willing to put into your karate practice, as well as physical condition and natural aptitude. Some people are ready to test in 3 years, for others it might take 10 years or longer. Black belt tests are not held within the local groups, but are held at the end of summer special training and overseen by a very senior member of SKA, usually a godan or 5th level black belt.

Why should I join the SKA?

Here is a list of the benefits that membership of the SKA provides.

Becoming a member of the SKA is a requirement for practicing with Salt Lake City Shotokan. Your annual dues help to support the central organization.

How much does it cost to practice shotokan karate?

Practicing karate is not expensive. The initial cost would be:
  • $100 to become a member of SKA. This is an annual fee and membership has to be renewed every January. New members play a reduced rate of $75  in their first year. Black belts pay $200, representing their commitment to support the SKA's Black Belt Council and more serious commitment to practice in general. Note that our one time registration fee includes the first year's membership for new SKA members.
  • Dojo dues as specified on the home page.
Very soon after starting you will probably want to buy:
  • A gi or karate suit. We practice in a traditional plain white gi. These are available from several local stores and are available in both heavy or light weight cotton. You can also support the SKA by buying your gi from its on line store. The current costs at the SKA are $38 for a light weight gi, and $64 for a heavy weight gi, plus shipping and handling. A white belt is always included with a new gi.
  • A copy of Karate-do Kyohan. This is the master text of karate written by Gichin Funakoshi and translated into English by Tsutomu Ohshima. This describes all aspects of our practice including kihon or basic techniques, kata or forms, and kumite or fighting drills. This is also available from SKAs on line store, and from bookstores with specialist martial arts sections. Karate-do Kyohan costs $40.
Please note that at SLC Shotokan, unlike several martial arts groups:
  • There are no fees for testing or grading.
  • There is no requirement to purchase badges, decals, different colored belts, or a different sort of gi as you advance.
I don't have a white karate suit (gi). What should I wear to practice?

Most beginners wear a T-shirt and sweat pants until they can obtain a gi. If you have a gi from practicing another martial art such as judo or taekwondo, you are welcome to wear that.

Do you fight in tournaments?

SKA is responsible for the oldest karate tournament and exhibition in the USA. This is part of the Nisei Week celebration of Japanese American culture in Los Angeles, CA, and has been held continuously since 1957.

Ohshima Sensei also developed the rules for karate tournament fighting that are used by many organizations worldwide, including non SKA affiliated associations.

We encourage members who are interested in tournaments to pursue this seriously, and we practice free fighting regularly at the dojo. However, tournament fighting is only one part of our practice and participation in this activity is not a requirement. Generally, this is an activity that our younger members enjoy.  Fighting drills in the dojo include formal one time and three time attacks as well as free fighting. Free fighting is always practiced with control, self discipline and safety as the highest priorities.

How long have you guys been around?

The SLC Shotokan dojo was founded in 1978 by Kent Chapman, who still leads the dojo.

Karate was introduced to mainland Japan in 1916 from Okinawa by Gichin Funakoshi. The name Shotokan is derived from the pen name used by Gichin Funakoshi for his calligraphy. Tsutomu Ohshima was Funakoshi Sensei's student and was awarded his dan grades by Funakoshi Sensei himself.

In 1955 Ohshima Sensei introduced karate to the US establishing the first dojo at Cal Tech. Ohshima Sensei still leads SKA and our members practice with him regularly.

Here's a link to a site describing our heritage.