Here at Ironside Dojo, we pride ourselves on developing a well rounded class designed to suit all ages and fitness types. We run all aspects of Shinkyokushin Karate (kihon, kata and kumite) as well as self defence and fitness. Each session is designed to develop your skills in all aspects martial arts. You do not need to be a gym junkie to attend!

We understand that coming to your first class can be intimidating. However, we pride ourselves on developing a strong dojo-family relationship. If you have any questions that are not answered below, feel free to ask any of our instructors. We are always happy to help.

What is Kihon?

Kihon, also known as basics, are the fundamental building blocks of Shinkyokushin Karate. They are often done both stationary and moving in stance (Ido Kihon) to best train the body how to develop good technique, power and endurance.

Kihon include punches, blocks, elbow strikes, knife hand strikes, kicks and knees.

A list of basic Kihon and Dachi (stance names) is available on this website. Click Here

What is Kata?

Kata is a Japanese term for patterns of prearranged movements, stances, basics and breathing. Kata is designed to not only demonstrate good memory and reaction time, it also helps develops a good understanding of application of technique.

While Kata may seem archaic in a world where MMA and other full contact contact sports are the most popular form of martial arts, Kata allows practitioners to practice their focus, breathing, and flow from stance to stance. It is both a training tool, an art-form, and a communication of your understanding of Shinkyokushin as a martial art.

What is Kumite?

Kumite is the Japanese term for ‘fighting’, and is regarded as the core of the style. While Shinkyokushin is known for its full contact knockdown tournaments, not all Kumite in the dojo is at that level. At Ironside Dojo, we offer training for tournament fighters, from developing techniques to fitness and conditioning, as well as basic fighting training for practitioners more focused on their journey through martial arts.

Ironside Dojo practises safe fighting policies. All of our senior grades are First Aid Certified, and no sparring is permitted without the presence of a black belt instructor. Any child or beginner who is asked to spar will be required to wear the appropriate protective gear (including head and chest protection) until they reach an appropriate age or level of expertise.

What other training does Ironside Dojo offer?

Alongside the three main parts of the Shinkyokushin Syllabus (Kihon, Kata and Kumite), Ironside Dojo also offers training in fitness and Self Defence.

For purposes of fitness and conditioning, Ironside Dojo has many facilities, such as kettlebells, weights, boxing equipment and punching bags. We are in the process of developing a gym area for cross training.

As well as this, our dojo operator Sempai Peter Hogarth has many years experience working in security, as well as serving in the armed forces, and is an experienced self-defence practitioner.

Ironside Dojo aims to provide a well rounded martial arts journey, and that includes elements of practice outside of the grading syllabus.

What do I need to bring on my first session?

The uniform of Shinkyokushin is the traditional Dogi (or Gi) of Japanese Karate, tied with an Obi (belt). We do not expect you to have one before your first class, however! Simply wear comfortable exercise clothing (leggings/tracksuit pants) and a t-shirt for your first few classes. If you enjoy the style, we are happy to arrange a Dogi and Obi for you.

When you arrive, ensure you remove your shoes prior to entering the dojo. This is both for traditional and cleanliness reasons. Karate is a barefoot sport, so if you have any medical issues pertaining as to why you cannot take your shoes off, please let our instructors know prior to commencing a class.

We also recommend bringing a bottle of water, going to the bathroom, and ensuring you have not eaten for 30 minutes prior to training. We do however insist on the removal of all jewellery and fitness trackers prior to training for the safety of yourself and your fellow training partners.

When should I arrive?

We recommend arriving 10-15 minutes early, so that you can loosen up, have a chat, and get comfortable in the Dojo (training hall).

We like to foster a strong family feel in our club, but training is focused and disciplined, so getting there early to say hello is always a good thing!

What happens if I’m late to class?

While we know our students endeavour to attend all classes on time, we are aware that sometimes, life gets in the way. If you fear repercussions for running late, it is often best to let us know prior to class, so that we can expect you.

When you do arrive and enter the dojo, make sure you turn around and face the back, sitting in a kneeling position (known as seiza). The instructor will then call on you to bow and join your classmates. There is no need to give a reason at the time, although we welcome explanations should you feel comfortable to give one!

Can I watch training to decide if it is appropriate for me/my child?

Absolutely! We always encourage people to come and have a look before they try, if they’re not sure Shinkyokushin is for them.

However, the training can be very traditional and a lot of focus is required at all times, so we do ask that any spectators/parents watching try to remain quiet, take any phone calls away from the training space, and do their best to not distract the students.

That is not to say we don’t have fun. It’s just important for development of martial arts that students learn how to remain attentive when under instruction from a teacher.

What does ‘Osu’ mean?

A term that is heard in every dojo around the world, Osu has many meanings. While it’s literal translation is push, it is used as an acknowledgement of an instruction, an affirmation that something is understood, a communication that something needs more clarification, and everything in between.

At Ironside Dojo, we tend to follow one rule: when in doubt, say Osu and try your best!

I’m finding the commands in Japanese confusing! Where can I learn more about the terminology?

As Shinkyokushin is a Japanese Martial Art, most of the instruction (names of techniques, directions, titles of instructors, commands, acknowledgements) are given in Japanese. There is a twofold reason for this:

  1. To preserve the history and legacy of the style

  2. To ensure that no matter where you train in the world, you can understand the instructor.

We do provide a detailed terminology list on this website (Click Here) and we are always happy to answer any terminology questions.

How do I grade to the next belt?

At Ironside Dojo, we follow the grading syllabus developed by the WKO International Grading Panel, of which our Chairman, Shihan Peter Volke, is a member. Grading involves demonstration of Kihon, Kata and Kumite, with strong fitness, good technique, and high spirit.

To grade, first you must be invited by your instructor to participate in the assessment. We do not award the opportunity to grade based on how long it has been since the previous assessment. Rather, Ironside Dojo will only grade candidates whom we regard as at the technical level required for the next rank.

Instructors at Ironside Dojo know and understand the requirements for each grading from a white belt to a black belt. After a certain point, candidates will be required to go to larger state and national gradings, where they will be assessed by a larger grading panel made of higher ranking and experienced instructors.

What are the qualifications of the instructors at Ironside Dojo?

Any instructor at Ironside Dojo (be they operating as a black belt, or under supervision of a higher grade) are held to the highest standard of technical teaching and understanding of Karate possible for their level.

Higher instructors (teachers with a black belt (known as shodan) or higher rank) have certification from WKO in Japan to show their competence in the understanding and teaching of Shinkyokushin.

Each higher instructor at Ironside Dojo has also undertaken the Provide First Aid Course (also known as Level 3 First Aid). We also have clearance in regards to a ‘Working with Children’ Check. Certificates of these qualifications are available on request.