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What is a Karate Instructor?

By Erin Oxendine
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A karate instructor is a professional martial artist who teaches the art of karate to children and adults. Instructors hold classes for students in a karate studio or give private lessons in someone’s home. Most people who teach karate have years of training in martial arts, hold a black belt in karate and have a martial arts certification.

When a person signs up to take lessons from a karate instructor, the teacher will give the student a list of items needed for the class. The student will have to get a karate uniform, which consists of a white or black long-sleeved shirt, matching pants and a white belt. The white belt is significant because it indicates the student is a beginner karate student. Other accessories some students get include safety pads and martial arts shoes.

As the student learns the karate technique, the karate instructor will help the student to earn different color belts, sometimes with the hope of getting a black belt since this belt is associated with the highest skill level. During the class, a karate instructor teaches the fundamentals of karate. This includes teaching the students skills such as kicking and punching. The instructor also demonstrates to students certain moves like how to escape out of a bear hug, how to block with their arms and perform uppercut hits. Many women take karate in order to learn self-defense techniques to protect themselves in the event of an attack.

Another responsibility the karate instructor has is teaching students how to use Japanese martial arts weapons. Instructors typically teach advanced or older students how to use the legal weapons used in karate. Some of the weapons are shinai, or bamboo swords; bokken, or wooden swords; and nunchaku, wooden sticks connected by a chain. Other weapons instructors use are wooden staffs and sai, which is a metal fork-like object.

Often, a karate instructor has to plan and coordinate many classes during the week and on weekends. This includes scheduling students to attend the classes, conducting individual evaluations and meeting with parents for updates about their children’s progress. Instructors also hold meetings with other teachers, especially if the instructor holds a supervisory role at the training facility.

One of the highlights of being a karate instructor is helping students practice karate in order to attend local, national and regional karate competitions. Students train at least a year in advance and compete as individuals and as teams. The winners take home trophies and the karate teacher gets recognition as the team’s trainer.

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Discussion Comments
By christym — On Nov 17, 2010

@cellmania: Karate and tae kwon do are the two most common martial arts being practiced in the United States.

Karate was developed in Japan after some influences from the Chinese martial arts. Tae kwon do was developed in Korea. It is often referred to as Korean karate. Tae kwon do uses the white uniform and the colored belt as a ranking system. Tae kwon do is the official sport of South Korea.

Both tae kwon do and karate are forms of self-defense and self-discipline. They both promote morals, ethics, and a way towards spiritual enlightenment. The word “tae kwon do” is a Korean term that is used to describe a martial art that emphasizes kicking as the primary weapon. Tae kwon do puts a bigger emphasis on less punching, throwing, sweeping, and submissions. They use high, fast kicking.

For the most part, the two are very similar.

By CellMania — On Nov 17, 2010

What is the difference in karate and Tae Kwon Do? My son wants to sign up for one but I don't know what the differences are in the two.

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