Karatenarmed style of combat using the hands and feet for punching, kicking and blocking techniques. Thought to originate from the Shao Lin Monks of China, Karate mingled with the fighting arts of the people of Okinawa and made its way to main land Japan with the help of Funakoshi Gichin who performed a demonstration on request from the Ministry of Education. From there Karate become popular throughout Japan and eventually, the world. Today there are several schools of Karate, each emphisizing different aspects (speed, strength, etc.) Depending on the style, movements can resemble Chinese Kung fu with circular and fluid (such as in Go Ju Ryu) or be comprised of long, linear strikes and blocks, as in Shotokan Karate. No matter where you go in Japan there is sure to be a dojo practicing one style or another.
Shotokan Karate: In Okazaki the JKA is located in the gym next to Hane Elementary School. Class is held every Saturday at 7 to 9 p.m. Though many children also attend, classes are split so adults and upper level practioners are able to enjoy a vigorus workout. But be careful in those chilly winter months, there is no heat in the gym and it can get cold!
Wa Do Kai: Similar to Shotokan in origin, therefore style, Wa Do Kai Karate. Wa Do Kai Karate can be practiced twice a week at the Okazaki Public Sports Center on Thursday and Saturday in the dojo, located behind the main gym. Classes are from 7 to 9 p.m.Train By Yourself
On Thursdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. the Okazaki City Gym Budojo is open to any one who wishes to train by themselves. Both a hard wood floor, suitable for Karate/Kendo and a padded floor for Judo/Aikido are available. The price is a mere 200 yen for the four hours. Heat is available for 100 yen per half hour and hot showers are available for 100 yen.
How Do I Choose? The best thing to do is to check out each dojo for yourself. Talk to the instructors and students and watch a class. If you like what you see try it out for a bit. Instructors are usually more than happy to share their art with a foreign visitor. It is also a great way to build friendships and experience a part of Japan you cannot get on tours.