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Hombu dojo of 
Shorin-Ryu Karate
    U. S. A.

Kyoshi Michael Mackay
Shihan  email Sensei Mackay

109 East 50th St.
New York, NY 10022

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Calligraphy - "Gan" - The eye triggers movement


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)





May I watch a class before I sign up?

Top Yes, in fact you are encouraged to observe at least part of a class to make sure we are right for you. You may not, however, participate in a "trial class" due to insurance and safety concerns.
Q2 What type of style is Shorin-Ryu?
Top Shorin-Ryu is a traditional style of karate that relies on natural stances, repetition of practical self-defense techniques and the performance of kata, ancient pre-arranged forms that simulate defensive and offensive moves against multiple attackers.
Q3 Does the school have locker room and shower facilities?
Top Yes.  We utilize the locker rooms of the St. Bartís Athletic Center.  Students should bring a combination lock to secure their valuables.  Items such as wallets, watches and laptops may be stored inside the karate studio.  Shower facilities are available. Please bring your own towel.
Q4 Can I work out in sweats or do I need to buy a uniform (gi)?
Top You may train in loose-fitting workout clothes for your first few classes, but a gi should be purchased within a month of joining the dojo.  A gi costs about $45 and may be bought online or at any local martial arts store.
Q5 Iíve noticed some of the more traditional schools use a lot of Japanese terms in their classes. Will I be required to learn Japanese?
Top Most instructions are given in both Japanese and English.  However, beginner students usually pick up basic Japanese within a few months.
Q6 Do you practice sparring in class?
Top No.  While some styles promote free-style sparring, we believe it detracts from the ďlife and deathĒ premise behind true karate and reduces the art to a competitive sport.  Our training capitalizes on the element of surprise and is designed to inflict serious or lethal injury in as few moves as possible.  Regular sparring with protective equipment and rules limiting contact undermines these goals.  Techniques become sloppy which may lead to injuries.
Q7 If you donít practice sparring, how do I know these techniques will work?
Top The most effective form of self-defense is avoidance: the ability to anticipate possible danger and remain calm and focused should a confrontation escalate.  In terms of physical skills, we employ a variety of partner exercises such as pre-arranged fighting (3-step sparring), arm training and kata application (bunkai) to teach proper timing and positioning for blocks and counter attacks.  Although we quickly learn that no one is invincible, we gain confidence with each class as the speed and power of our techniques improve.  Knuckle pushups and striking a makiwara board are no longer difficult.  Effectiveness is also seen at demonstrations and tests where we surprise no one but ourselves with our sudden ability to break boards or fend off three attackers. 
Q8 Are there any risks of injury associated with your training program? Will my age or physical condition limit my ability to do well?
Top Shorin-ryu karate has a long history of being safely practiced by people of all ages and physical constitutions.  In Okinawa during the 1930's, it became the official physical fitness program of public school children.  For centuries karate was taught by parents to their children and grandchildren.  Okinawan karate is steeped in traditions of promoting health, not injury.  If anything, students will tell you how their karate training has helped them overcome old injuries and avoid new ones.  As often stated by Master Ueshiro, ďAnyone can learn karate.Ē
Q9 How often do you hold promotions and will I be required to test?
Top Tests for beginners are held every two months and new students are permitted to test when they have demonstrated proficiency in basics and the first one or two forms (kata).  Tests for green and brown belt are conducted twice a year, although many students wait 12 months before testing for the next rank.  Students are not required to test, but with regular attendance progress is inevitable.  Students who are ready for more advanced training are encouraged to rise to the challenge.
Q10 How long will it take me to reach black belt?
Top Although this is a common question among beginners, the rank of black belt can only be achieved once the student sets this goal aside, and embraces karate training for its own sake.  For some, the opportunity to test for black belt may come in as little as three years; for others, seven to eight years.  Regardless of rank, however, you will discover a sense of progress with every class while also enjoying the satisfaction of reaching your long-term goals.
Q11 What about cross-training in other sports or martial arts styles? 
Top Our training program is a complete course in physical fitness.  It includes yoga stretches and breathing, warm-ups, strength building (with and without free weights), endurance training, balance, eye-hand-foot coordination, and conditioning of lightning-fast reflexes.  This training complements any sport or activity requiring precision, commitment and endurance.  However, we have found that cross-training in other martial arts often leads to confusion or hesitancy in muscle memory and fighting tactics.  Most students come to recognize that the wealth of training opportunities inside Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate take several lifetimes to master and enjoy.
Q12 Do you have any books or DVDs that may answer other questions and help me get started?
Top Yes.  The Shorin-Ryu Okinawan Karate Question and Answer Book, by Hanshi Robert Scaglione and Sensei William Cummings, is a clear, concise manual that covers every topic from how to tie a belt to the ancient origins of each kata.  The book is available at the Ueshiro Midtown Dojo for $12 or through any online book store.  See the Suggested Reading and Suggested DVDs pages for more helpful sources.