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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Why Learn Karate?

Karate is a Healthy Choice

Our workouts consist of a good mixture of cardiovascular endurance, strength training and flexibility exercises that are designed to benefit the whole body. Our instructors continue to research the best training methods known to the fitness world, and we take this effort seriously.

People feel good when their healthy. It may seem like a redundant statement, but it's something that people need reminding of. A healthy body, will assist you in having a healthy mind. Everything from waking up in the morning and thinking clearly at school, to our jobs in this fast paced society we live in becomes easier to deal with and more enjoyable when your body and mind are in tune.

Awareness and Self Defense

The key to self defense does not rely on punching and kicking. As a matter of fact, we discourage physical action in any confrontation unless it is an absolute last resort. Learning to be aware of your surroundings and avoiding dangerous situations is the focus of awareness. Simple things that people probably already know are used as constant reminders, so that awareness becomes a natural way of thinking. We don't want our students to be paranoid or afraid to walk around their own block or to go to school, so we teach that many bad situations can be avoided.

Concentration and Focus

Concentration is something that for many people, has to be taught. Many doctors are now recommending people with A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder) and A.D.H.D. (Attention Deficit and Hyperactive Disorder) learn karate because of the concentration skills that are developed through the training drills and the practice of kata - a serious of movements, much like a dance choreography with the use of karate techniques.


Balance is a physical, and mental attribute that is developed as a result of karate training. Balance in the physical sense is acquired by performing drills that make you aware of what your body is doing while in motion. Balance as a mental characteristic is developed as you use karate as a mental stimulant.

For most people karate will not be as natural as walking so you will have to focus on your movements as you learn them. With the presence of a good physical and mental balance you will enhance and develop your skills.


Control is a result of focus, concentration, and confidence. Through the efforts of repetitive karate training people learn their limitations. The more motivated person may want to push those limitations, which is not a bad thing, but they learn to deal with what they have in front of them. Emotions such as anger and fear may never leave a person completely but by practice, like anything else, you can learn to control them.

Respect, Discipline, and Humility

Most educated people associate karate with discipline. This is because of the format in which the classes are taught. In karate there is a ranking system which lets people know where they stand. Karate doesn't have to be militaristic to the point it was originally intended (after all it is a martial art developed to defend ones' life) but strong values are instilled. Generally a person who enters a karate class will see that people will bow to each other, call the instructor Sensei (teacher) and conform to the rules and guidelines set forth by the school. This can makes a person feel rather awkward themselves if they don't conform to their surroundings. If there is a problem child or an adult with an overbearing demeanor, they will generally conform to the dictates of the respectful environment.  Most difficult people can be taught humility simply by being in an environment where it is prominent.

Goal Orientation

People need direction. Most people enter a karate club with visions of wearing a black belt. The realization of reaching that goal can be overwhelming without proper direction. As instructors we help individuals set reasonable goals so that a person can make these ambitions attainable. Instead of thinking about a black belt that may be five or more years down the road, we focus on our ranking system which breaks it down to a few months at a time. At each level the student knows in advance what is expected of them to reach the next level. People who learn the importance of setting goals can more readily accept some of life’s challenges. They can learn to make realistic short-term and long-term goals for themselves and are less likely to need someone to consistently do it for them.

Self Confidence

You have to feel good about yourself and you have to trust in your abilities to be confident. Karate teaches you how to handle pressure by applying a little bit at a time. Every individual has certain a limit and once you find this limit, you feel comfortable. Once you are comfortable you can start to expand or push those limits and feel good about trying something you never imagined you could before. Karate is an endless learning experience that provides constant challenge keeping you alert and to let your confidence grow.

Role Models

Like a school teacher, we as karate instructors have a responsibility to our students to instill positive values. Children benefit by the mental stimulation of learning the choreographed moves of the kata and the discipline of conforming to the rules of the school. An adult doesn't have to feel self conscious about getting the physical benefits of the exercise provided. Karate can help instill the confidence to walk away from confrontation, not to always contest it head on. To teach these values at an early age will benefit a child for the rest of their life. For an adult perspective, it can shed a bit of light through the stresses of our daily routines.

Constant Supervision & Guidance

Karate schools, unlike many health clubs provide constant instruction by experienced leaders. Many people do not have the discipline to work out by themselves and it's human nature to work on what we already do well rather than to work at what is more difficult. By having the instructors lead a class through a planned routine you get a good balanced workout. Karate also promotes group support by having students work with each other under the guidance of an instructor. This teaches a more experienced student to work their leadership skills by passing along information that they have gathered over the years. A less experienced student will also ask questions that will challenge the senior student. This is a challenge that requires the senior student to put trust in their abilities and in return this will provide a true sense of accomplishment.

Karate as a Sport

Karate as a sport has been on a steady incline since the late 1960s. It provides a method of testing your abilities in a controlled environment. The sparring is fast paced not only for the spectator, but requires precision skill and control by the competitor. In karate you pull your technique, scoring points by showing the judges what you could do in a self-defense situation. The kata competition shows a combination of grace and power in technique through a series of choreographed movements that represent the competitor defending themselves in a multi attack environment. Both provide a sense of self accomplishment and build confidence by performing in front of their peers and an audience.

Karate is Fun!

See Dojo Rules and Etiquette below>>>



















































































HMA General Dojo Rules and Procedure

All students must bow (REI), when entering or leaving the training hall (DOJO), and to any Senior Instructor entering the dojo.

  • The correct dojo conduct and etiquette is to be used at all times.
  • No swearing / spitting / general bad behavior.
  • Sensei-Ni followed by a bow (Rei) is to be used at start of class.
  • Dojo Kun is to be recited at the end of class and when finishing formal partner work.
  • Students must not leave the dojo without the permission of the instructor.
  • Respect must be shown to all senior grades.
  • No Food or Drink to be consumed on the dojo floor, to do so is considered the height of bad etiquette.
  • Late arrivals for training should kneel at the entrance to the dojo, and await the instructions of the Sensei before bowing and joining the class.

All students must refer to Senior Instructors as 'SENSEI', Sir or Ma’am when in and around the dojo. Away from the dojo personal names are acceptable.

All karate suits (GI) are to be clean, tidy, ironed and worn in the correct manner. All students are encouraged to wash their uniforms at least once per week. Belts should be tied correctly. An HMA patch/logo is mandatory. Ladies should wear white T- shirt underneath. All members who participate in sparring should possess pads and mouthpieces. Ladies are advised to wear upper body protection. All men are to wear a groin cup.

Personal hygiene must be observed (no dirty hands, feet, nails etc.),

Students will be told when they are able to take their next belt test.  Brown belts must have attended three black and brown belt courses before they can attempt shodan. All study books should be handed into the instructor complete with the appropriate fee at least two weeks before grading date. Do not think that you can train only when it suits you - karate training has to be regular for any progression and maintenance of standards.

If you are unable to attend training your instructor should be notified. Telephone the Dojo to advise the staff of your absence, or email at:  This must be observed.  Continued missed training and failure to make this call can result in suspension from training.

Subscriptions are to be paid regularly. No subscriptions, no training under general circumstances. However, if an individual is experiencing genuine financial problems, please talk to our staff, we always try to help.

Thank you in advance for your obserbvance of positive HMA dojo conduct. It is important that all rules be observed so that all students have a safe, healthy, enriching training environment. Positive behavior is a must at the HMA Dojo.


(FAQ) Frequently Asked Questions

Can I access information about Hamilton Martial Arts Academy online on the Internet from my home computer?

Yes, our website is and it should be utilized by all students as an additional resource. Class schedules, photographs, instructor biographies, school history, calendar of events, etc. are outlined on the website. This is a huge resource pool of information that will provide incredible assistance throughout your training. Additionally, photographs and training aids will be added to assist in understanding all techniques & curriculum.

Can my friends or family members enroll at Team Karate Centers?

“The highest compliment to Hamilton Martial Arts Academy is referring other people.”

Students referring others will be recognized in the monthly newsletter.  Siblings and parents receive a special discount. A member of our staff will explain the family discounts that are available for multiple family members enrolled at HMA.

Are Gift Certificates available for purchase?

Yes, gift certificates are available through the front office. These certificates are transferable and are available on a year round basis. Gift certificates can be customized for lessons, equipment, gear, private lessons, etc.

Where does my child keep his/her karate gear bag, if they bring it to class?

All gear bags (karate gear only) should be placed in the compartments available in the front of our school, or lined up neatly in a straight line against the wall on the mat. Please note, gear bags are the only bags allowed on the mat. Please do not bring a purse/pocketbook, etc. onto the mat.

Does Hamilton Martial Arts Academy offer childcare or babysitting while parents are taking classes?

No. It is your responsibility to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that your children are supervised while you are taking class. There is equipment and techniques being practiced in the studio that can result in potential injury.

Should my child wear jewelry while taking class?

No. Many of the techniques involve physical contact and grabbing. Jewelry, (earrings, rings, necklaces, etc.) will interfere with you or your child’s ability to successfully master the techniques and can cause injury to you or your child and/or other students.

Is the curriculum strictly limited to physical techniques?

No. Each belt rank includes terminology, philosophies and HMA related items (Student Creed, Student Mission Statement, etc.) that students are responsible to learn and understand. These items are noted in yours or your child’s student guide. It is you or your child’s responsibility to learn these items and you are encouraged to ask questions about any information that you are uncertain about, at any time during your training.


What happens if I am unable to attend an Exam at the scheduled time?

It is your responsibility to schedule a private exam with a member of our staff at a mutually agreeable time for all parties involved in the exam. There will be an additional fee for private exams. Please note that private exams are not encouraged at HMA. A major part of the quality of the exam is the energy and excitement of the group exam.

What is the difference between a Test & an Exam?

A test only has two results, pass or fail; while an exam gives you a measure of you or your child’s progress toward specific goals.  At Hamilton Martial Arts Academy a success based philosophy is used for all students, regardless of age, belt rank, belt color or level. Each and every step in the process towards Black Belt will reflect our success based philosophy. An Exam reflects an inventory of skills as opposed to a test which is a process devised and administered to simply determine one’s skill, knowledge, etc.. You may hear the phrase “Test” in passing, but the truest measure of our “Exam” is to bring out the best in all HMA students.

How often are exams scheduled?

Exams are scheduled approximately every three months throughout the year.

How will I be notified about Belt Exams?

Rank Exam announcements will be posted in the front of our school; announcement letters will be sent home; rank exam approval documents will need to be signed before any student is approved for exam. (It is important to check the list of students who have been approved by Sensei for rank exam, which will also be shown on the announcement document).

Why there is a fee for Belt Exams?

The fee for you or your child’s Belt Exam will cover administrative costs, you or your child’s belt, curriculum & exam documents, promotion certificates, etc.

How long will Belt Exams last?

In essence, your initial exams will last approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Once you reach blue belt and beyond, your exams can last up to 2 hours, to include written exams and all curriculum examination.

Can my family & friends watch Belt Exams?

Yes, we encourage you to bring family and friends to watch the exams. Please advise them that there is certain etiquette expected of guests viewing an exam.

For example, they should not become a distraction by communicating with you during your exam. A great deal of focus and energy are required during the exam and these items need to be directed towards the exam and the specific technique that is being performed. There will be time for celebration and communication following the exam, and during graduation. Please note, family and friends are welcome to attend all exams until Black Belt. The qualification exam and pre-exams for Black Belt are intense personal experiences that are kept private. As such, the studio is closed for these exams. Family and friends, or invited guests only are allowed.

How often is Black Belt Exam scheduled at Hamilton Martial Arts Academy?

Black Belt Exams are generally scheduled once a year. The absolute minimum age requirement for an HMA Black Belt is 12 years old.


How does the enrollment procedure work for my child?

All new students at Hamilton Martial Arts Academy are allowed a minimum of (1) free introductory class. After which, all involved parties will discuss the result of this class and the intention of the student. Student, parent and family goals will also be discussed during this meeting. Tuition rates and responsibilities are explained in detail and new students are assigned a uniform. All new students (unless otherwise enrolled) will be considered full-time students, and are welcome to participate in 1-3 classes per week. We encourage all students to be faithful in their study; in a continuous effort to receive the outstanding benefits that Martial Arts Study has to offer. (In the case of POWER Kickboxing - no Gi will be provided, and other equipment will be offered at the individual cost of each item).


Does my child need any equipment at beginning level?

Juniors only need their full uniform. No other equipment is necessary for this level.

How does my child wear his / her Uniform Top?

The left portion of the uniform overlaps the right portion of uniform. School Patch or Logo will be shown on either front, back or both for each uniform. Special embroidered school patches are available for a small fee.

May my child wear his / her uniform outside of the Dojo?

Your child’s uniform represents a way of separating the outside world from your child’s martial arts world. As such, in an effort to maintain consistency in separation of the two worlds, it is recommended that your child not wear his uniform outside the Dojo. (Certainly exceptions may occur, as some families dress before coming to the Dojo, or have errands after class – this is understood).  

What is a proper uniform?

A proper uniform for White or Color Belt students is white uniform pants, white uniform top, and belt.  Female students only should also wear an HMA t-shirt and/or other appropriate sports top under their uniform top. The uniform must be clean, properly maintained, and the uniform top must have the HMA Logo attached.

May my child wear a T-Shirt to class instead of his/her uniform top?

The uniform top should be worn for regular classes whenever possible, however an HMA t-shirt may be worn when your child’s uniform top is not available.

Is my child allowed to wear shoes and socks while taking class?

In order to execute many of the techniques, it is necessary to be barefoot when taking class. In the event that your child has a medical condition that might require the wearing of shoes/socks, please see your child’s instructor, or a member of HMA staff.

How do I tie my belt?

This will be presented in class continually until it is mastered. Please feel free ask Hamilton Sensei to show you how to tie yours or your child’s belt. (Additionally, there will be a document presented, which shows, and explains how to tie your belt properly. If you did not receive this document in your initial packet, please feel free to ask for a copy).

What is the purpose of my child’s belt?

The purpose of the belt is to hold your child’s uniform together. Whatever belt level your child is presently training at, it is important that your child always wear his/her belt properly.

How often should I wash my child’s uniform?

It is important to treat your child’s uniform with the same level of respect that you treat your child and his/her normal wardrobe. Personal cleanliness and hygiene are critical elements for your child and his/her fellow classmates. Please respect your child’s classmates by ensuring that your child’s personal hygiene in maintained. (Once per week is recommended for uniform washing, unless an alternate uniform is available).

When should my child arrive at the Dojo for his/her assigned classes?

All students must be lined up, in a proper uniform and with their attendance card 5 minutes prior to the start of class. For example, if class is scheduled to begin at 5:00pm, students need to be lined up on the assigned mat for their class at 5:55pm.  Please note, while waiting for the prior class to be completed students should be sitting or standing quietly in a position to begin their class. After the prior class is completed, then the next class will formally begin, not until.

Is there a procedure my child needs to follow upon arriving at the Studio?

Upon arriving, your child /student needs to “Bow In”, as they enter the studio.

This is done by facing the flags and bowing with your head and eyes lowered.

Students should then greet any members of the Dojo or staff with an appropriate hand shake and salutation (hello) before proceeding in. The purpose of this procedure is to teach and reinforce the concept of respect for your child and others. Your child should then stretch or practice until it is time to go onto the mat, 5 minutes prior to class. Please note, when preparing to line up, prior to class, it is required to bow when entering the mat area. It is also required to bow when departing the mat at the conclusion of class. Prior to departing the studio, your child is to remove the belt that holds the uniform together. Unless otherwise instructed or requested, the belt should never be worn outside of the studio.

Why does my child bow?

Bowing is a gesture of respect for your fellow students, the studio, the instructional staff and Hamilton Sensei. Bowing is a completely non-religious custom that adds a level of understanding to all involved parties that we are all respecting each other.

Should I, as a parent, bow and follow the above rules?

Yes! While it is not mandatory – You are an example for your child. “Preach and teach” all the time. If necessary use the words … “Oss – Hajime – Yamai,” etc. to reinforce Karate training.

When will my child begin sparring?

Effective use of karate technique is taught immediately. However, Sparring is taught minimally after approximately 30 days (1 month) of consistent training (Not Before)! When sparring begins, it is done with a sense of ultimate control and consideration for where the student is in his/her development and skill.  

How does my child address instructors and staff members in the Dojo?

Always address instructors and staff members with respect by saying, Yes (Sir/Ma’am); No (Sir/Ma’am); Excuse me (Sir/Ma’am). When greeting them in the studio it is always Mr./Miss/Ms./Sempai or Sensei and the instructor’s first name (ex. Sempai Omar).When in class, it is critical for your child to show respect for instructors and fellow students. Your child should never interrupt when anyone is speaking and always raise his/her hand and wait to be acknowledged prior to asking your question. Again, courtesy and respect are critical elements for all students at Hamilton Martial Arts Academy. In an effort to reinforce these, the instructors will do the same.

What does my child need for his / her Attendance Card and what is the purpose of my child’s Attendance Card?

Your child’s attendance card will be filed by rank/belt color in our electronic system. When you enter, you will be asked to swipe your card to document your child’s attendance. If you lose your card, a fee of $10.00 will be charged to replace it. (The purpose of the card is to track attendance and monitor progress within the belt level/rank curriculum). Another purpose of the Attendance Card is Goal Setting and Time Management.

What role does the instructional staff play in my child’s training?

In keeping with the overall concept of Hamilton Martial Arts Academy as a success based Dojo, the HMA instructional staff members are your child’s success coaches. Their role is to keep students on the road to success at all times, and to ensure that the process of learning is taking place. The instructional staff/success coaches should not be viewed with any level of intimidation. No matter how challenging a particular lesson may be, we are always here to help.

How long should it take for my child to earn his / her Black Belt?

“Direction is more important than speed.” Each student’s journey to Black Belt is a personal journey that is self-paced. On average, the time range is 3-5 years of consistent training for a teenage or adult student. Child students should expect an added period prior to Black Belt.

When does my child’s training for Black Belt begin?

Your child’s training for Black Belt begins when they initially enter Hamilton Martial Arts Academy to register and participate in their initial class. All HMA students are Black Belt Candidates (Black Belts in Training) from the first day they start!

What is the preferred method of communication for a student to contact members of Hamilton Martial Arts Academy?

E-mail is the preferred communication tool to be used by all students. (It is recommended that for in-person discussion, you please set an appointment in advance, as stepping away from the training floor for any teaching staff member is challenging and inappropriate).

Does Hamilton Martial Arts Academy publish a newsletter?

Yes. On a monthly basis, a newsletter is published and is posted on our website, placed in our Dojo and e-mailed to students. The newsletter recognizes new students, monthly birthdays, acknowledgements, student of the month, and includes interesting and helpful Dojo information.

Does HMA offer birthday parties?

Yes. Please ask for a "Karate Birthday Party" information packet or visit our web site for more information.


As a Full Time student, how many classes is my child required to attend on a weekly basis?

As part of the enrollment process, you will sign your child up for three classes per week. The day and time of the classes for your level are listed in the HMA class schedule.

What happens if my child is unable to attend a class on the day and time that he /she is signed for?

It is your responsibility to call the Dojo and inform a member of our staff that your child will be unable to attend his/her assigned class. Three classes allows for several opportunities during a given week to train, but we encourage a full schedule wherever possible.


How should my child greet an Instructor outside of Hamilton Martial Arts Academy?

Your child should greet instructors the same way outside of HMA as at the Dojo, offering a friendly and respectful greeting.




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