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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.

1.2  What is the starting age for the classes?

Five years old.

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.

  • 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 be joining?

  • New students: must have reached minimum age by the start of a session to join the class in their age group.

  • Returning students:  to move up classes, students must have reached the minimum age of the next class by the start of the session.

1.6  May I attend classes all year round?

No.

As of 2024:

We will offer two sessions per year:

  • Winter/spring session:  February to May (14 to 15 weeks).  No classes during the school spring break.

  • Fall session:  September to December (14 to 15 weeks).

1.7  May I watch a class before deciding to register?

Yes.   You may come to the Dojo to watch any of the classes as a spectator; we do not offer free trial classes as a  participant (insurance restrictions).

1.8  Can I join the Dojo at any time?

No.   We operate on a per session basis to teach the stripes/belts subjects, with testing at the end of each session.  Students may join a session only during the first week of classes in a session.  See question 2.1 below on how to register and 3.7 on when payments are due.

1.9  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 registered students receive during their first week of classes.

1.10  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.   

1.11  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

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) involved with the Dojo must understanding their respective responsibilities before making a commitment.

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 closing date for registration which is advertised on the website.  Once your form is received, you will be contacted and advised of your position in the queue.  Approximately two 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 question 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.  All forms are accepted by their date of submission.

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 week before (Thursday) 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 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, do I need to submit the same Form again to attend the next session?

No.   In order to plan for the next session (such as number of instructors required, rental space needs, ordering of uniforms, how many new students can join, etc.), all students are asked at the end of a current session to submit a short online Returning Student Registration Form for the next session; takes less than one minute to fill out.   This is all that is needed to register for the next session.

2.7  What happens if I am already registered, 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?

In order to plan for the next session (such as number of instructors required, rental space needs, ordering of uniforms, how many new students can join, etc.), all students and instructors are asked at the end of a current session to submit a short online Returning Student Registration Formtakes less than one minute to fill out.   This form is also 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 2 to 3 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 question 2.7 above: a student attended the winter/spring (February - May) session, skips the fall session (September - December) in order to do soccer or baseball and wants to return for the next winter/spring session.  In order to guarantee a spot for that student in the next winter/spring session, we would have to leave a spot vacant in the fall session.  As mentioned in question 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 fall session because the spot is “reserved” for a returning student for the winter/spring session.  As well we need to take into account students who will be moving up classes at the beginning of the next session based on age.

 

Taking all the above into account, students cannot pre-pay to reserve a spot  for a future session

 

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

2.9  Do I still need to fill out the online Returning Student Registration Form if I don't want to join the next session nor any future session?

Yes.   In order to plan for our next session, we need to know how many students are returning and not returning.  This will determine how many vacancies we have available to accept new students from the waiting list. 

 

2.10  What happens if I don't fill out the online Returning Student Registration Form? 

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 new student on the waiting list.

 

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.

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 Promotion 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 question 3.2 below).

  • Purchase of a bo when promoted to White Belt 3 green stripes (see question 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 size.  New students will be sized for 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.

3.3  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.

3.4  When do I receive my uniform?

During the new student information meeting.  See question 2.4 above.  You will be invoiced separately for the uniform.

Current students can purchase a new  uniform at any time.

3.5  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.  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.

3.6  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 (all details are provided on the invoice (see sample)):

  • E-transfer to shorei.kan.canada.shuswap.dojo@gmail.com (this is the preferred method of payment).  Please include the name of the student and the invoice number in the message.

  • Cheque (payable to "Shorei-Kan Shuswap").

  • Cash.

For cheque and cash payments (place in a sealed envelope and write "KARATE" and the name of student on the envelope):

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

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

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

Invoices are sent at least two 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.

3.8  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 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.

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

Yes.   In order to help families, we offer a $10.00 discount for each additional family member.

3.10  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. 

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

No.  See question 2.8 for more details.

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.   However, if a green or brown belt student has displayed significant progress towards testing readiness, early testing will be considered.

 

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 fees are paid-up for the session.

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

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