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Answers to the most frequently asked questions

1.  CLASSES

1.1  Which style of karate do you teach in your Dojo?

​We teach the Okinawan Goju Ryu style of Karate, meaning a hard/soft style taught in the school of politeness and respect.  Shorei-Kan Karate was brought to Canada in 1972.  The Shorei-Kan Canada Karate Association is currently headed by Vic Hargitt Shihan, 8th degree Black Belt.  The Shuswap Dojo was established in 2011 and is the Honbu Dojo (Headquarters ) for Shorei-Kan Canada.  The Association is a non-profit organization and all instructors are volunteers.

1.2  What is the minimum age to join the Dojo?

Must be 5 years old by the end of the starting month of a session.  

1.3  Which days of the week and times are the classes?

Three classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays as follows:

  • 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm:  5-6 years old.  This class is an introduction to karate.

  • 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm:  7-10 years old.

  • 6:45 pm to 8:00 pm:  youths (11+)/adults.

1.4  Do you have a maximum number of students per class?

Yes.  Our maximum number of students takes into account the number of instructors, the Dojo floor space and an instructor/student ratio conducive to effective teaching and learning:

  • 5-6 years old class:  15

  • 7-10 years old class:  40

  • Youths(11+)/adults class:  35

1.5  Which class will I attend when I join the Dojo as a new student?

New students must reach the minimum age by the end of the starting month of a session to join the Dojo in their age group class (see 1.3 and 1.4 above for the age groups).  Specific dates are shown on the New Student Registration Form.

1.6  May I attend classes all year round?

No.  We offer two sessions per year (see the At a glance page for the exact dates):

  • Winter/spring session:  February to May (15 weeks of classes).  No classes during the two-week school spring break.  The 15 weeks are broken down as follows:  6 weeks before the spring break and 9 weeks after the spring break.

  • Fall session:  September to December (14 weeks of continuous classes).

1.7  Do you offer free trial classes?  

No.  Since we operate on a session basis, we need to know before a session starts, how many students will be attending in order to plan the new student information meeting, the Dojo rental requirements, dues to Shorei Kan Canada to cover insurance, restocking of supplies (such as dogis, bos), preparation/printing of documentation, etc.  Those expenses are based on the number of students joining the session and are incurred before the session starts.  See Q&A 3.8 for more details about payments.  Additionally, instructor group assignments are based on the number of students across ten different belt/stripe levels with over 40 different subjects to teach.  

1.8  May I watch a class before deciding to join?

Yes.  You may come to the Dojo at any time during a session to watch a class or classes as a spectator.  If interested in joining, you can then submit a New Student Registration Form for the next session.  See Q&A 2. for more information about registration.

1.9  Do you offer private lessons?

No.  We do not offer private lessons (paid or unpaid).   Our insurance policy does not allow private lessons. Additionally, our volunteer instructors already donate a total of over 1,000 hours of their time each session teaching two evenings a week (3 classes per evening).  They also perform all the Dojo management activities outside of class hours.  See Q&A 2.10 for more details.

1.10  Can I join the Dojo at any time?

No.   Each session has a registration deadline.  We operate on a per session basis to teach the stripes/belts subjects, with testing at the end of each session.  To keep up with the subjects being taught, students may join a session only at the beginning of a session; students cannot join part-way through a session.  Registration forms received after the session registration deadline will be placed on the waiting list for the next session.  See 2.1 below on how to register and 3.7 on when payments are due.

1.11  May I practice at home?

Yes.  We encourage students to practice at home to complement their in Dojo training; our website contains seven Home Training Guides.  Additionally, registered students have access to a Dojo members-only password protected page which contains videos and pictorial sequences of many subjects.   The password is provided in the Student Record of Promotion booklet which new students receive during the new student information meeting (see 2.4 below).

1.12  May parents/family members/visitors watch the classes?

Yes.  Parents/family members/visitors are welcome to sit-in during classes; your interest and presence is most encouraging for the students.  However, let the instructors handle the teaching and conduct in class.   

1.13  Can I participate with my child in his/her class?

No for three reasons:

  • This would be a distraction to the other students as well as the instructors.  As mentioned in 1.12 above, the instructors are responsible for handling all teaching and student conduct in class.

  • Our liability insurance covers only those individuals who are registered students and instructors.   Parents, other family members, guardians, friends and visitors are therefore not permitted to participate in a class.

  • With our increasing number of students, there is only space on the Dojo floor for students and instructors.

1.14 Do you have measures in place to safeguard students?

Yes.  We seek to provide a safe and secure environment for students of all ages.  We have a Policy to Safeguard Students and all instructors must abide by this policy.

1.15  When does a student move up a class?

The student's age, maturity, progress, readiness as well as space availability are taken into consideration in deciding when and if a student will move up class.  A student will normally move up class as follows:

 

  • Moving from the 5-6 years old class to the 7-10 years old class: When the student turns 7 by the end of the starting month of a session.   Since the class goes from 30 minutes to one hour, experience has shown that the student must be 7 years by that date to cope with the longer class time.

  • Moving from the 7-10 years old class to the youths (11+)/adults class: When the student turns 11 years old before the start of or during the session.

Parents will be consulted before moving a student to the next class.  In some cases, even though having reached the minimum age for the next class, a student may remain in his/her current class for one additional session.

Students will be informed which class they will be attending 3 to 4 weeks before the start of a session.  If after a few weeks in the new class a student has demonstrated that he/she is unable to cope with the demands of the new class (such as longer class times, more intense training and more subjects to learn), the student will be moved back to the former class for the remainder of the session. 

1.16  Do I keep my stripes/belt when I move up a class?

  • Moving from the 5-6 years old class to the 7-10 years old class:   To ensure a seamless transition and integration in the 7-10 years old class, the red stripes will be replaced by the appropriate number of green stripe(s) based on the 7-10 years old class curriculum.  As a minimum, the student will receive one green stripe on one end of the belt.

  • Moving from the 7-10 years old class to the youths (11+)/adults class: The student keeps his/her belt/stripes.  Since the youths (11+)/adults class curriculum has more subjects than the 7-10 years old class curriculum,  students will be taught the additional subjects prior to their next test.

2. REGISTRATION

2.1  How do I register as a new student?

Simply by submitting the online New Student Registration Form.

2.2  Why is reading the Dojo Code of Ethics and Conduct important prior to submitting the New Student Registration Form?

The Dojo has a duty of care to teach karate in the best possible safe environment for students to learn, instructors to teach and parents/visitors to watch.  The Code of Ethics is the set of overarching principles based on the core values of Shorei-Kan and the Code of Conduct is the set of rules that we follow to support those values which provide the framework for the operation of the Dojo.  All persons (students, instructors and parents/visitorsinvolved with the Dojo must understanding their respective responsibilities.

2.3  What happens after I submit the New Student Registration Form?

Your name is added to the waiting list for the session you selected.  Each session has a deadline for registration which is advertised on the website.  3 to 4 weeks prior to the start of your chosen session, you will be advised of our space availability.  If we are able to provide a space for you, you will receive an invitation to attend an information meeting (see 2.4 below).  If space is unavailable, you will be given the option of having your name remain on our waiting list for the following session.

 

When a form is received, the submission is automatically logged by our registration system in the order received, leaving no chance for error.  Forms received after a session registration deadline will be placed on the waiting list for the next session.

2.4  Do you have an information meeting for new students?

Yes.  New students are invited to attend an information meeting which is held the Thursday before the start of a session.   The purpose of the meeting is to meet the new students/parents, present how the Dojo operates, sign the release of liability form, size and give the students their uniform (dogi), take pictures of the students, give students their Record of Promotions booklet and answer any questions.

2.5  Why do I have to sign a Release of Liability Form?

This is a requirement levied by our insurance company for martial arts programs.  Forms are provided during the new student information meeting held the week before the start of a session.   New students will be advised of the date.

2.6  If I have already submitted my New Student Registration Form, attended a session, how do I register for the next session?

Returning students only need to submit the short online Returning Student Registration Form;  takes less than a minute to fill out.  This is all that is needed to register for the next session.  Invoices will be issued 3 to 4 weeks before the start of a session.

In light of the large number of students we keep track of, a phone call, voicemail, text or e-mail cannot be used in lieu of filling out the form.  When a form is received, your selected option is automatically logged by our registration system in the order received, leaving no chance for error.

2.7  What happens if I attended one or more consecutive sessions and decide to skip a session (for example to participate in soccer or baseball during the spring period), but want to rejoin the fall session?

The Returning Student Registration Form can be used to let us know that you wish to skip a session and return for the following session; your name will then be placed on the waiting list for that session.  You will be informed of space availability 3 to 4 weeks before the start of the session.

2.8  As a follow-up to question 2.7 above, why am I placed on a waiting list and not guaranteed a spot for the following session?

Lets use the example in 2.7 above: a student attends the fall session (September - December), skips the winter/spring session (February - May) in order to do soccer or baseball and wants to return for the next fall session.  In order to guarantee a spot for that student in the next fall session, we would have to leave a spot vacant in the winter/spring session.  As mentioned in 1.4, we have a maximum number of students per class.  We also have a waiting list of new students wanting to join.  Leaving a spot vacant means that we deny a new student from joining the winter/spring session because the spot is “reserved” for a returning student for the next fall session.  As well we need to take into account students who will be moving up classes based on age at the beginning of the next session (see 1.12 above).

 

Taking all the above into account, students cannot:

 

  • Pre-pay to reserve a spot  for a future session.

  • Pay for a current session (and not attend that session) in order to have a spot in the next session.  

 

We have a normal student turnover of 10 to 15% per session.  We do our best to accommodate new and returning students within the student capacity of the Dojo.

2.9  Do I still need to submit the online Returning Student Registration Form if I don't want to continue with karate?

No.   If we don't receive the form by the deadline, we will automatically assume that you are not returning for the next session nor any future sessions.  Your name will therefore be moved to our past students list and removed from our mailing list; your spot will be assigned to a student on the waiting list.

2.10  Who handles the Dojo administration and student registrations?

All the Dojo administration (processing of registrations, invoices/receipts, accounting, documentation, website management, instructor scheduling, restocking, etc.) is handled by volunteer Black Belts outside of the Dojo class hours.  We use the following apps/software:

  • Google:  E-mail service (Gmail), calendar and contacts. 

  • MailTrack: Tracking of e-mail correspondence (we receive/send over 6,000 e-mails per year).

  • MyAttendanceTracker:  Student attendance tracking.

  • Wave:  Accounting, issuance of invoices/receipts and student information/record of promotions database.

  • Wix:  Website and processing of student registration forms. 

3. FEES

3.1  Why are your student fees much lower than other martial arts clubs?  Are there hidden fees?

Our fees are very reasonable for three reasons:

  • We are a non-profit organization.

  • All instructors are volunteers (average of 1,000 volunteer hours per session).

  • The Cedar Heights Community Association is a strong supporter of our program.

Our student session fees are all inclusive and there are no hidden fees:  2 classes per week, membership in the Shorei-Kan Canada Karate Association, a Student Record of Promotions booklet, tests up to and including Brown Belt, new belts/stripes, make-up classes and special events when available.    Separate fees apply for Black Belt testing.

The only additional costs are:

  • Purchase of a uniform (see 3.2 below).

  • Purchase of a bo when promoted to White Belt 3 green stripes (see 3.4 below).

  • Purchase of a sai and hakama when promoted to Black Belt.

Pictures and prices of all items sold at the Dojo can be found here.

3.2  Where do I purchase a karate uniform?

We wear white uniforms which are available in all sizes at the Dojo; prices vary by sizeWe carry both lightweight (poly/cotton) and heavyweight (12 oz canvas) uniforms in all sizes.  New students will be sized and given their uniforms during the new student information meeting which is held the week before the start of a session.  New students will be advised of the date.   There is no need to pay for the uniforms at the information meeting.  Students will be invoiced after the meeting.

3.3  Can I return a uniform (and get a refund) or exchange for a different size after it has been worn?

No.   Only unworn dogis in their original packaging can be returned and refunded or exchanged.

3.4  Do you sell second hand uniforms?

No.  Due to limited storage space, we do not carry second hand uniforms.  Students who have second hand uniforms to sell or give awaycan offer them directly to another student or bring them to one of the local second hand outlets.

3.5  When do I receive my uniform?

During the new student information meeting (see 2.4 above).  You will be invoiced separately for the uniform after the meeting.

Current students can purchase a new  uniform at any time.

3.6  Do I need to purchase a new bo when I outgrow the one I bought as a White Belt three green stripes?

No.  Bos come in four lengts: 4', 5', 5.5' and 6'.  A bo should be approximately 3" taller than the student.  The purchase of the bo is a one time cost.  Students will receive their bos during the first week of the session.  When  a student outgrows his/her original bo, a longer bo will be provided at no extra cost.  Subject to availability, bos could be new or used.

If a bo inadvertently breaks, it will be replaced at no cost.  However, loss or breakage due to carelessness/improper use, will require the purchase of a replacement bo.

3.7  How do I pay?

We use the online Wave accounting/invoicing system.  Invoices are sent to your e-mail address (which you provided in your registration form).  Payments can be made by E-transfer (this is the preferred method of payment), credit card (VISA and Mastercard), debit card, cheque and cash.  When you receive your invoice, click on "Review and Pay".  "Pay with credit or debit card" or "How would you like to pay?"  (depending on your device) will show at the top, followed by your invoice:

  • IF YOU WISH to pay by credit card or debit card, provide the information requested and click on "Pay" or "Credit or debit card" (depending on your device).   You will receive a receipt immediately after the payment has been made.

  • IF YOU DO NOT WISH to pay by credit card or debit card, and prefer to pay by E-transfer, cheque or cash, take note of the invoice amount and the invoice number, and get out of the window: 

 

  • E-transfer: send to shorei.kan.canada.shuswap.dojo@gmail.com                                                                              Include the name of the student and the invoice number in the message.

  • Cheque:  make payable to "Shorei-Kan Shuswap" - see NOTE  below.

  • Cash - see NOTE  below.

  • A receipt will be issued 3 to 4 days after the payment.

NOTE  (for cheque and cash payments):

 

Place the cheque or cash in a sealed envelope.  Write "KARATE" and the name of student on the envelope.  Bring to the Cedar Heights Social Centre/Dojo and deposit:

  • During Dojo opening hours:  in the grey drop box attached to the book cart.

  • Outside of Dojo opening hours: in the mail slot located at the bottom right of the Cedar Heights Social Centre main front doors (on the upper level).

3.8  When will I receive my session invoice and when is payment due?

Invoices are sent 3 to 4 weeks before the start of a session and payment must be received by the due date which is before the start of the session.   If the invoice has not been paid by the due date, your spot will be allocated to the next student on the waiting list.  Registration for a session is not considered complete until payment is received in full.

A receipt will then be sent to your e-mail address.

Once a payment is made, there is no refund.  This is also stated on the invoices.

Families encountering financial challenges can discuss the situation with the Chief Instructor.

3.9  Why do I need to pay before the start of a session?

There are three key reasons:

 

  • The Dojo incurs many expenses prior to each session (rent, dues to Shorei Kan Canada to cover insurance, restocking of supplies (such as dogis, bos), preparation/printing of documentation, etc).  Those expenses are based on the number of students joining the session.  Additionally, the Dojo has annual expenses such as website fees, Black Belts dues to Japan, bank account fees, etc.  In order to maintain a positive cash flow,  funds are needed before the start of a session to cover those expenses.

  • To prevent last minute student cancellations as often experienced in the past (impacting the Dojo financially since expenses had already been incurred), students/parents need to make a financial commitment.

  • The number of students (and their stripe/belt level) needs to be known prior to the start of a session in order to determine the number of instructors needed and which group they will be assigned to.

3.10  Do you offer a discount if more than one family member attends a session?

Yes.   The first family member pays the regular student session fees. In order to help families, we offer a $10.00 discount for each additional family member.  There are no discounts for equipment (such as dogis, bos, etc).

3.11  If I attend only one class a week or I am away for part of the session, can I pay reduced session fees?

No.  We have some fixed costs (such as session student dues to the Shorei-Kan Canada Karate Association to cover insurance) for each student attending a session.  This cost is the same whether a student attends the entire or only part of a session. 

3.12  Can I pre-pay to reserve a spot for a future session?

No.  See 2.8 for more details.

3.12  Do you accept payments from home school and grant organizations?

Yes.   However, the various organizations operate under different rules/procedures for the reimbursement of activities fees:

 

  • Some organizations send the money to the parents; others send the money directly to the Dojo.

  • Some organizations will only pay for classes; others will pay for both classes and equipment (such as bo and uniform).

  • Some organizations require that the Dojo first submit an application for approval as a recognized  service provider.

Before applying for reimbursement, please contact your home school or grant organization to find out what their rules/procedures are.   We will then work with you to submit the necessary documentation.

4. TESTING

4.1  How many belt levels do you have?

We use four belt colours (white, green, brown and black); three levels (stripes) must be achieved on each belt prior to a student being promoted to the next belt.  Once Black Belt is achieved, dan rankings are not displayed on the belt.

4.2  How often does testing occur and how are my promotions recorded?

Testing takes place at the end of each session.  Minimum training time between testing is 1 session for white belts and 2 sessions for green/brown belts; green/brown belts require additional time to learn the more advanced subjects.   

 

Students considered ready for testing will be informed one to two weeks before the test date.  Testing eligibility requirements are:

  • Regular class attendance (minimum 75%).  When you enter the Dojo, ensure you check in on the attendance sheets. 

  • Meet the minimum time between tests.

  • Demonstrate a solid level of competence and understanding of the applicable subjects.

  • Follow the Dojo rules and display proper attitude and behavior.

  • Arrive to class on time.

  • Wear a clean dogi (uniform).

  • Student invoices are paid-up for the session.

Regular class attendance plays a vital role in a student's karate skills and growth as well as fostering discipline. The Dojo is not just a space to practice karate but it is where students cultivate social skills and develop a sense of responsibility, belonging and commitment.   Since many subjects are performed with partners, students can practice those with their fellow students.   Home practice and the use of the Dojo videos/pictorial sequence of subjects complement (do not replace) regular class attendance.

Not all students progress at the same rate.  In addition to the above requirements, age, commitment, skill level and prior martial arts experience are all taken into account prior to being invited to test.  If a green or brown belt student has displayed significant progress towards testing readiness, early testing may be considered.

 

Promotion dates are recorded in our student database and in the Student Record of Promotions booklets.

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