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Shotokan Karate

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About program

What is Shotokan Karate?

Shotokan Karate is the most widely practised form of Karate in the world today, following the teachings of Gichin Funakoshi, the schoolteacher and poet who brought Karate out of Okinawa in the 1920s. Funakoshi's pen-name was Shoto (meaning 'pine waves') and so this style of Karate came to be known as Shoto-Kan, or 'the House of Shoto'. Thus the full name of the Art, Shotokan-ryu Karate-Do translates as 'The Way of the Empty Hand as Taught in the House of Funakoshi'. Shotokan emphasises a balanced development of speed, skill, strength and range of technique taught within a system which instils self-confidence and self-discipline.

Can anyone practice Karate?

Yes! Karate students come from all age groups, ethnic and religious backgrounds and both sexes: it doesn't matter what your current level of fitness is - Karate is designed to gradually improve your fitness, as you progress.

What will training involve?

Classes begin with a comprehensive warm-up, to ensure that the body is ready for physical training and to develop flexibility. During beginners' courses, the main class will initially be split up into groups: one for beginners and one for more advanced students, ensuring that each group may be taught at an appropriate level and pace. The three sections of Karate training are:

  1. Kihon (basic technique) - where blocks, strikes and stances, the fundamentals of Karate, are taught
  2. Kata (forms/patterns) - an extended series of combination techniques representing symbolic defence against multiple assailants and containing the close-range techniques of Karate, and
  3. Kumite (fighting/sparring) - where the techniques learned in Kihon and Kata are put to use against 'real' opponents. Kumite begins with basic blocks and counter-strikes to single, named attacks, becoming more advanced as the student progresses, to Jiyu-Kumite (free-fighting), where students learn to attack with, and defend against, multiple unannounced attacks more akin to a real 'street' scenario.

What will I get out of training?

To reach a high standard in Karate requires enthusiastic and consistent physical training, promoting fitness, well-being and concentration, along with dedication and commitment, promoting a confident and determined character. There is also a 'Dojo Kun', or Code of Conduct, which not only ensures a safe and disciplined training environment but also serves as a tool for moulding behaviour so that true Karateka can learn the confidence and awareness to diffuse or escape dangerous situations, using violence only as a last resort. So if you're interested in learning to stay safe and improving your fitness, confidence and personal discipline, along with a great social life and making new friends with like-minded people - why not try us out?

What is the Dojo Etiquette?

As a martial arts club that trains in a fighting art it is essential to observe a few key points to insure that the Dojo is a safe environment for people to train in. The Senseis and  committee hope that, if everyone knows what is expected of them, there will be less time wasting during the lessons explaining everything and more time to do what we're all here for: Karate.

  • Bow as you enter and leave the Dojo
  • Address the instructors as 'Sensei'
  • Ask permission to leave the Dojo when a lesson is in progress
  • If entering a lesson late, sit in seiza at the side of the Dojo and wait to be asked by the sensei to join in
  • Bow to Dan grades as they enter the Dojo
  • Keep your finger and toe nails short and clean
  • Take off any jewellery
  • Do not talk when an instructor is talking
  • Cover any open wounds with a waterproof dressing
  • Remove any nail varnish
  • Do your bit to make the Dojo a safe and pleasant place to train

  • Confidence and Self-esteem
  • Increased self-discipline and respectfulness
  • The ability to handle peer pressure and bullies
  • Enhance physical skills and coordination
  • Real self-defense principles that could save his or her life
About program director
Alex Foygelman
(781) 493-6345
Alex Foygelman was born in 1957. He began training in karate in 1978 at the Central Karate School in Moscow. In 1982, with a fellow karate instructor, he founded Shotokan Karate School in the city of Stupino in the Moscow Region.

From 1982 to 1993 he was a karate instructor for kids and adults within this school.

In 1993 he and his family immigrated to the United States. From 1997 to 2008 he was a karate instructor for adults classes at the TNT Karate and Self Defense School in Canton Massachusetts.

He obtained his first degree black belt in 1984 in Shotokan Karate. He then obtained his second degree black belt in 2005.
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345 University Avenue, Westwood, MA 02090, phone: 781-493-6345
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