F.A.Qs - Frequently Asked Questions

The following Questions and Answers are intended to help those interested in taking up martial arts training to choose a club and to know what to expect.

The information provided is accurate to the best of our knowledge. Any further questions or comments can be emailed to swalker@wysok.co.uk and we will do our best to provide assistance and may help us to keep our questions and answers updated.

Q. What are the benefits of martial arts training?

A. Martial arts training is beneficial in many different ways, just a few of which are listed below:

* Martial arts are first and foremost very effective methods of self defence
* Promote health and fitness
* A very effective way of building discipline and self control
* Improves confidence
* Builds respect both towards yourself and others
* Great for staying fit and active
* Reduces stress levels
* Children that train in the martial arts tend to do better in school
* A great way of meeting people and making new friends

Q. Am I too old to start martial arts training?

A. No you are not, there is no maximum age, although those aged 66 and over will usually need a doctor’s note to obtain insurance. Martial arts training is suitable for virtually anyone, regardless of age, fitness level or disability, many of our clubs have members ranging in age from 5 - 65+ years old.

Q. How often do i need to train?

A. This can vary but twice per week is recommended, as this maintains fitness and skill. This is also the usual minimum frequency of training to be allowed to take part in grading examinations.

Q. How long should a class last?

A. The average class is 1.5 - 2 hours although for very young children 1 hour classes are available. When you consider that most classes include warm up exercises and stretching at the start of the class and then a cool down at the end, you can see that a class lasting much less than 1.5 hours would seem very rushed and have little time for actual martial arts training. As a rule classes aimed at anyone over the age of 9 that are around 60 minutes long are little more than fitness classes.

Q. How do I know that the club is suitable?

A. It is important that a club offers insurance to all of its members; the instructors should hold an instructors insurance, hold a valid first aid qualification and be DBS cleared. You should also make sure that the club is recognized by a national governing body like NAKMAS. It is important to make sure that a club meets the above criteria before even considering training there, any legitimate club will be happy to show you details of their insurance and details of their DBS checks.

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a club is the experience of the instructor. Most good instructors have been training in the martial arts for many years and have a wealth of experience and knowledge in the martial arts. Never be afraid to ask an instructor about their training and grade history as if they are genuine they will be proud to give you this information.

Q. How much does it cost to train?

A. The cost can vary greatly but £4.00 - £5.00 per session is the norm, avoid clubs that ask you to pay by direct debit or standing order as they usually use contracts and collection agencies who are likely to force you to carry on paying even if you are unable to continue training. You should not be afraid to ask for the costs beforehand and the costs and frequency of grading's. A gi or uniform can be purchased relatively cheaply - the club will be able to supply or advise on suppliers. Beginners will usually be allowed to train initially in a track suit or other loose-fitting clothes. A licence which include your insurance will need to be purchased, but most clubs will allow you to train for the first few weeks before buying this, the average cost for a student licence is around £25.

Q. Does WYSOK use professional instructors?

A. No! WYSOK is an amateur organisation and all our instructors are in the martial arts because they love what they do and want pass on what they have learned to help others, NOT for financial gain! No WYSOK club will ever ask you to - pay by direct debit, sign a contract or credit agreement, pay in advance for classes, pay when you don't train or exploit you in any other way. These are all unfair practices and are not necessary, no matter how much some clubs may try to convince you they are normal practice.

Q. How is progress measured?

A. Most martial arts are structured in similar ways to an academic process, where there are various steps or qualifications, for example GCSE's and A Levels, to be gained en-route to a degree. In the case of martial arts the steps are called Kyu grades and these must be passed in order to achieve the first Dan or degree of black belt. The number of Kyu grades varies between associations, but in general there are less than ten, with the highest number being the lowest grade and 1st Kyu the final step. Beginners will wear a white belt whilst Kyu grades are designated by different coloured belts, for example orange, red or yellow for early Kyu grades and brown for the later ones.

Most associations require a minimum period of three years of training to achieve 1st Dan and progress is then dependant on further extended training periods, so that 2nd Dan can be attempted a minimum of two years after 1st Dan, 3rd Dan three years after 2nd Dan etc. Good instructors should be proud to show you their grading history and an authentic 4th Dan will have many years' experience of practicing and teaching.

Q. Are there martial arts competitions?

A. There are opportunities for males and females of all ages and grades to compete at club, regional, national and international level. Many martial arts are recognized as a Sport by the International Olympic Committee and efforts are being made to have more martial arts included in future Olympic Games.

Q. Where will martial arts qualifications be recognized?

A. Awarded grades should be recorded by the practitioner’s club and association and Dan grades should be registered with the national governing body.