Minami Dojo
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Frequently Asked Questions


How old do you have to be to begin studying karate? The answer varies, and the answer depends solely upon the prospective student. As a guide, six years old is usually about the right time to begin.


You say that you teach "Traditional karate". What does that mean? It means that we are dedicated to teaching the art of karate the way that the ancient masters intended. We are very conscious of never adding to, or subtracting from, the original deposit of knowledge and practice that our founders - Mabuni, Kuniba, Hayashi, et al. - have passed on. Further, when you train at one of Minami Dojo's locations, you will see that there are no gymnastics, after-school activities, trendy meditation techniques, or the like smuggled into the curriculum which only dumbs down and blurs the serious purpose of the dojo...to thoroughly prepare the individual karateka to defend themselves or others from being the victim of violence.


Do you participate in karate tournaments? Yes, and our students have a remarkable track record of success at local, regional, and national tournaments. But tournaments are not our focus. Tournaments are skewed towards the "sport" side the martial arts and we prefer concentrate on real world self-defense skills, kata (forms), jyu kumite (free sparring), and take downs.


Do I have to sign a contract to train at any of the Minami Dojo locations? No, never. And you will find that we are very rare in this regard. Most karate or other martial arts dojo's require you to sign a long term contract that is often quite costly, difficult to cancel, and/or allows you no flexibility at all. We don't believe in contracts. You will pay a very modest tuition at the beginning of each session (generally about one month) and stop (or pause) your training whenever you wish. If you - or your child - don't love our dojo's, love our warm and uplifting culture, and love the karate we teach, then we don't want you to feel obligated to continue. This is the way ALL dojo's should operate. Sadly, few do.


What is Kobudo? Kubudo is the martial arts with the use of a weapons - specifically Okinawa weapons. These Okinawa weapons were actually common farm implements used in ancient times by the people of Okinawa to defend themselves against Samurai, marauding pirates, and others, after the Japanese empire invaded the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa) and outlawed traditional weapons, such as swords. Left defenseless, the farmers and fishermen of Okinawa turned the tools of their trades (oars, wooden dowels, sickles, and such) into lethal weapons. Today, we train mostly with the "bo" (similar to a wooden dowel) as the Masters of old originally taught.


Can I try a class without any cost or obligation? Yes, we welcome you try to a class, at any of our locations, free of charge. We think you'll enjoy it so much, you'll start your own journey to black belt. Take a look at our schedule page for a day and time that works for you, then just show up! It's that easy.


I keep hearing that the only martial art to study is one showcased in an MMA format, such as you see in the UFC matches. What do you think? We believe that all martial artists should be well rounded in their skill sets, and to that degree one should seek out a proven martial art that has worked very well - in many real world situations - for a very, very long time. But, it is hard for many people to separate out in their minds the sporting events they watch on TV (like the UFC) and martial arts that have proven themselves highly effective in places other than a caged "octagon". Put another way; how often is the average person attacked inside a fenced cage, in the shape of an octagon, with a guarantee of only one attacker, with rules that prohibit certain offenses and defenses, with unobstructed smooth surfaces to battle on, with a referee ready to intervene at a moment's notice, and with strict time limits to boot? Right; not many. The UFC and other MMA type events are not the reality most of us will ever face - it is a sporting event with talented athletes. Most people don't realize that MMA and the UFC has been around for little more than 20 years. But traditional Okinawan/Japanese karate has been defeating all comers for over 400 years! Our students have also won many medal’s in the AAU Jr. Olympics.


I don't want to join a "McDojo" that hands out belts and ranks based upon attendance and paid tuition instead of skill. What's your philosophy? We completely understand this concern and we share it. Sadly, in an effort to make a living and keep the cash register ringing, some "dojo's" have forsaken their art and standards in favor of feel good promotion. It was not long ago that we heard of a six year old being awarded a black belt. This is patently absurd and brings undeserved disrepute to martial arts schools everywhere. What's more, it makes people cynical. Minami Dojo has unwavering high standards and we will not - under any circumstances - promote anyone (regardless of age) who has not demonstrated the advanced skill and expanding knowledge necessary to be promoted. Our affiliation with the Kuniba Kai International (sanctioned by the Japan Karate Federation) further guarantees that no corners can ever be cut where this is concerned. In sum, the Minami family of karate dojo's take great pride in producing very skilled karateka - a direct result of a students' hard work, practice, regular attendance, self-discipline, and self-sacrifice - where belts and rank are "earned" and never "bought".


I've heard that ALL fights go to the ground, and end on the ground, so it's best to study a ground art versus a striking art like karate. What do you think? This is a fallacy perpetuated by those with an interest in populating certain South American-style martial arts schools who specialize in grappling. They point to UFC matches as "proof" of this claim. But under close scrutiny, these wild claims implode upon themselves. One need only watch a night of these MMA matches on TV to see that - even under the ideal conditions for wrestling or grappling which the UFC presents - a majority of those matches are decided by stand-up striking arts and not ground oriented chokes! What's more, if the proponents of these modern-day ground arts from South America were even close to accurate with their many claims of invincibility, wouldn't every single match in their beloved UFC be won by a practictioner of their art and no other?! But it is not, thus their fantastic claims become nothing more than empty rhetoric. We think that real martial artists don't talk down other arts, nor boldly brag about their own...they are humble and let their real world skills do all the talking. But for those who believe (wrongly, we think) that the UFC really is the end-all and be-all of martial arts venues, then let them be inspired by such karate greats as Lyoto Machida and Georges St. Pierre, who both enjoyed long reigns as UFC champions, as proof of karate's efficacy.


How long would it take me to get a black belt? First, a correction. Nobody at Minami Dojo "gets" a black belt...they are always "earned". Second, since everyone's journey towards a black belt is different, there is no single correct answer to this question. However, we have observed that a person dedicating the required amount of time, effort, and commitment to self-improvement, one can expect to be considered for the prestigious black belt in 3-5 years from when their journey begins. Again, this is just an estimate. But even when the first black belt has been achieved, the journey has really just begun.

karate naples

shito ryu

Minami Dojo Inc. 
13020 Livingston Rd. #17 
Naples, Fl. 34105 
(239) 404-6563 
(239) 431-6499 

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Minami Dojo, Inc. 
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