This page is dedicated to providing general information and answering the frequently asked questions of our members.  Don’t see an answer to your burning question?  Submit your question on the “Contact Us” page, and we’ll email you back and perhaps we’ll even add your question and the answer to the ones below.

What is Shotokan Karate-do?

Shotokan is a traditional Japanese style of karate founded by Grandmaster Gichin Funakoshi, and it the primary style taught in the dojo.

What is a sensei?

The Sensei is the karate teacher.

What is a dojo?

The dojo is simply a place to study karate.

How should a student enter and leave the dojo?

It is customary for the karate student to execute a standing bow (facing into the room) upon entering and leaving the dojo.  This is a sign of respect for the Sensei.  If the dojo also has a tatami (special karate mat) one should again bow (toward the Sensei) before stepping onto and prior to stepping off the tatami.  Karate is a sport of discipline and respect.  It is a sign of disrespect to leave the dojo class session without notifying the Sensei prior to leaving.

What dojo safety precautions are important?

For the safety of all students, watches, bracelets, necklaces, large earrings, and rings should be removed prior to class.  Suggested equipment should also be worn when instructed.

What should I wear?

Most students wear a gi (special karate outfit) and their karate belt during training. At minimum, students should always wear gi pants, the dojo's t-shirt, and their current belt, but a full gi is recommended.  Sensei offers the gi and t-shirts for sale.  The full gi should always be worn during belt testing.    

So I have bowed in…now what?

Karate students line up by belt rank, highest to lowest, with new students (white belts) standing at the end of the line to show respect to the practicing students who have already obtained a higher level belt.

What is Kihon?

Kihon demonstrates the basic moves of karate including stances, blocks, punches, kicks, and strikes, etc.  Kihon is the foundation of both kata and kumite.

What is kata?

Kata demonstrates the specific form of karate in a routine-like manner. Learning the moves and timing of a kata are an integral part of testing for your next belt. Sensei believes one should practice kata at least 300 times to prepare for testing.

What is kumite?

Kumite is the application of karate through sparring.

I hear there is competitive karate.  What do I need to know?

Sport karate is a competitive karate that extends from the local to international level.  Each type of tournament abides by specific rules and regulations.  Tournaments are considered “qualifiers” when the event qualifies the competitor to compete at the annual national competition.  These tournaments are governed and regulated by the USA National Karate Federation (USA-NKF).  Competitors competing at the Elite level to qualify for the US team, and those attending international tournaments not sanctioned by the USA-NKF, should be familiar with regulations governed by the World Karate Federation (WKF).  The WKF rules are similar to NKF rules, but there are slight differences and variations to the rules and the gear requirements.  Regulations also vary by age of the competitor, so it is important to study the regulations governing the competition.   Any member or parent member of the competition team can guide you through the process of competition, so just ask!

Where can I find out more?


~Like us on Facebook at South Carolina Karate Booster Club

~Buchen Martial Arts at and on Facebook at Buchen Martial Arts

~USA National Karate Federation at and on Facebook at USA Karate

~World Karate Federation at and on Facebook at World Karate Federation


Karate-do, My Way of Life-Gichin Funakoshi-history

Best Karate-N. Nakayama-exellent source to learn kata moves

Website Builder