Joining FAQ

Signing up for MIT Shotokan Karate

Sign Up Now! for summer courses with the MIT Shotokan Karate Club. This form includes sign-up for any of our three formal courses -- Shotokan through Yellow Belt, Shotokan through Green Belt, and Thinking like a Brown Belt -- as well as general workouts.

How do I join the mailing list?

To join our mailing list, either send a note to the officers at shotokan-karate-officers@mit.edu or you can add yourself directly to the list through the mailman interface. If you are coming to practices, we encourage you to join the email list so that you can receive updates on special training, class cancellations, or other important updates.

Who is eligible to participate?

The MIT Shotokan Karate Club is open to all MIT affiliates with athletic cards, with a focus on serving the student body. As a student group, the majority of participants are current students. The club is entirely student run, and to encourage student leadership, the MIT Shotokan Karate Club actively works to ensure that students are on track to become instructors over time, and teaching instructor skills is seen as an integral part of the curriculum. Currently, three students in the club have their teaching licenses and instruct on a regular basis.

Do I need any prior experience to join?

No, every regular class is open to beginners. We do have special advanced classes for instructor training and advanced techniques, but these are held on the weekends. Every weekday class is appropriate for a beginner to attend. We try hard to make sure that anyone who comes to class, regardless of skill or fitness level, learns something in class, and gets a good workout!

Three times a week is a lot, can I miss classes?

As with all skills, the more you practice the faster you will get better. However, we understand that everyone is busy, and will enjoy having you in class whenever you can make it. The classes are generally not sequential, so missing a class will not put you hopelessly out of step with the rest of the students. The only schedule for when to learn things by is your own.

From a practical standpoint, it is recommended that you attend class at least once a week in order to maintain your skill level; coming less frequently than that will often mean that you will be spending most of your time relearning things over and over, and it will be difficult to progress. So, come as often as you can, but to make noticeable progress coming at least once a week is best.

I have prior experience in another martial art. What should I do?

We are extremely happy to have experienced students join the club, not least of which because diverse experience makes the classes and instruction better. Students in our club often have prior or concurrent training in other martial arts such as Aikido, Tae Kwon Do, Jiu Jutsu, Shitoryu, Ueichi Ryu, Kickboxing, Shorinji, and others. All experience is good!

All that we ask is that all students maintain a respectful atmosphere and follow the instructions of the Sensei who is volunteering their time and energy to leading the class (even if you may outrank the instructor).

If you have prior experience in Shotokan Karate or a closely related martial art, you are welcome to wear your rank belt from your old dojo as a temporary rank; however, Shotokan has a number of branches, and Sensei Tabata's rank requirements may be (and probably are) different from your old dojo. Sensei Tabata will assign you a permanent rank at your first promotion, after you have had a chance to learn the bits and pieces you may have not seen at your old dojo. To get an idea of where you would fall in our ranking scheme, please see the Rank Requirements.

Are there any dues for the club?

Yes, club dues are $30 per semester, which helps pay for instruction, equipment, league fees, etc. If you are a beginner and don't yet have a Gi the nyou are eligible to receive one as soon as you pay your dues.

There is an additional $20-25 fee for promotion if you choose to promote with Sensei.

I have a question that wasn't addressed here.

Please contact shotokan-karate-officers@mit.edu and let us know what your question is, and we will do what we can to answer it.