What is the minimum age?
Children’s class – age 5, Adult class – age 7
How do I join?
Stop in and watch a class, complete the application
What is the cost, and are there any hidden fees?
Adult class – $60 per month Children’s class – $50 per month No hidden fees, no contracts. Buy York Shotokan Gi and equipment, available here at school.
Are there family memberships and/or discounts available?
Yes. Adult class, second family member – $40, each additional family member -$30. Children’s class, second family member – $30, each additional family member – $25.
Do we have to sign a contract?
NO. Member application with picture and identification only.
Do you have belt test fees?
No. We strongly disagree with this practice. You must test for any belt advancement. If you pass your belt promotion examine, you have already earned that belt.
How often do the Adult classes meet?
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday (7:00 – 8:30 pm), Saturdays by appointment.
How often does the Children’s class meet?
Monday and Wednesday (6:00 – 6:45 pm).
How often can I, or should I, train?
Classes are offered three nights, we suggest beginner’s train a minimum of two nights, but techniques learned in class should be practiced every day.
What should I wear to my first class?
Sweat pants and a tee shirt or you may purchase a York Shotokan Gi.
What equipment or uniform am I required to purchase?
You will need a Gi and sparring equipment. Gi’s in sizes to fit everyone and all equipment are available at the school.
What style of martial art do you teach?
Our foundation is based on the Shotokan system; however we incorporate other martial arts disciplines to be well rounded in self-defense.
What is the York Shotokan ranking system?
White Belt (10th kyu thru 7th kyu); Green Belt (6th kyu thru 4th kyu); Brown Belt (3rd kyu thru 1st kyu); Black Belt (1st thru 10th Dan)
How and when do promotions happen?
Belt test are held four times a year, usually in the last week of the months of February, May, August and November. A student can test every three months until they are testing for the rank of 6th kyu (green belt) or higher. Tests for 6th kyu and higher (5th, 4th, etc.) may test twice a year usually during the last week of May and November. The exact dates of the tests are posted approximately two weeks in advance, but the students should remain aware of the general dates so they can plan accordingly. A student is promoted when test requirements are achieved.
What are the requirements for promotion?
Demonstrating proficiency on all technical skills for the level being tested and showing fortitude of character is the gauge our instructors use for promotion.
What are the rules for testing?
No one, other than the students testing, is allowed in the dojo (school). Students are tested in reverse order of rank. Students without rank would be tested first, given their results, and dismissed. The students holding the next rank would test next. If students must rely on a friend, parent, etc. for transportation, they should arrange to be picked up at a suitable time. Though we will attempt to give students a “ballpark” time, we cannot always determine ahead of time when an individual will complete their exam. If appropriate we can arrange to have the student call their family when they are ready to be picked up.
How long does it take to earn a black belt?
Depends on the student and the student’s level of expertise, proficiency and character. To first answer this question, the perception of “black belt” needs to be defined. There are many schools who readily promote students to the rank of black belt and in many cases this is nothing more than a piece of fabric worn around the waist. It has no meaning other than to serve the ego of the student and to pad the bottom line of the school. If your goal is to quickly obtain a black belt without the effort required to truly become a black belt, York Shotokan is not the school for you. A black belt isn’t something you wear; it is something you become. It requires a journey of many trials and tribulations, tests designed to challenge your determination, resolve, courage and fear. It is a peace of mind the student can only obtain after challenging themselves, facing and conquering feelings of self-doubt. It is the pursuit of inner fulfillment, understanding, and realization that leads to an inward peace. Self-actualization cannot be rushed and, as a result, students are encouraged to recognize that the pursuit of the black belt is a journey with no end. At York Shotokan we believe the only belt worth wearing is the belt you attain with earnest effort while striving for perfection of character and technique. It is said that the black belt is the white belt of a beginner turned black by the color of hard work, effort and sweat. Focusing solely on the destination blinds the practitioner from recognizing the merits obtained during the journey; merits which cannot be bought or hurried through.
Are the martial arts a good way to get into shape?
Yes, martial arts are an excellent means of a total body workout. Strength, balance, endurance, flexibility and coordination are all improved. Students also learn to relax under pressure which can help manage stress for positive healthful benefits.
Is it safe?
Like any athletic activity, there is a possibility of injury. However, safety is very important to us. Our instructors teach our techniques in a safe, logical progression with emphasis on control and partner safety. Our classes can be physically demanding. We want our students to do the best they can and strive for excellence within their abilities.
Are martial arts just about fighting?
We believe the primary function of the martial arts is the perfection of character. While the instructors will teach you how to fight, we believe the best fight is the one that never happens.
What is the school’s policy on inclement weather and holidays?
In the event of inclement weather, you can call the school or check the York Shotokan Facebook page for details. Often, if an instructor is available – classes will be held. York Shotokan is closed for the major holidays.
What if I need to miss a class?
If you are going to miss a class, we encourage you to notify an instructor.
What if I/We go on vacation or need to take a break for a few weeks?
Any extended leave of absence should be communicated to one of the chief instructors. Any kind of hiatus will slow your progress toward your goals, however you can resume when you are ready.
Why train at York Shotokan, what makes you different?
We are not a business. Our volunteer instructors dedicate their time to promote the martial arts and personal development of mind, body, and character of each student who enters the Dojo. We are one of the longest running martial arts schools in Pennsylvania with over 125 years of combined instructor experience.
Do I have to break boards OR compete in tournaments?
There is no requirement to break boards, but we do practice various breaking techniques. We’re happy to see students do well in competition, but it isn’t our measure for promotion nor are you required. However, the majority of our students who do compete enjoy success often placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd in kata and kumite.
Can I observe a class or take a class as a visitor?
Visiting students must complete an application, signing a release from liability. We encourage prospective students to stop in and observe a class.