University of Michigan
Karate Club

Q. How do I find out more and/or start practicing and/or join the dojo?

A. We hold organizational meetings at the beginning of each term which provide a brief introduction to the group and a chance to watch a short practice, meet the current members, and ask any questions you might have. For more information, you can check the How to Join page, contact one of the members listed below or e-mail

Q. What is the practice schedule?

A. For the current schedule, please see the Schedule and Announcements. For practice times during holidays and breaks, please contact

Q. What if I can't come to all the practices?

A. You should come to as many practices as you can. Seniors have recommended that beginners be able to attend at least 2 practices a week.

Q. What costs are associated with practicing?

A. The dojo is non-profit, as is the parent organization, Shotokan Karate of America, but dues are charged to cover the costs of running both groups. Club dues are $50 per academic term (fall, winter, and spring-summer). Membership in SKA is also required and costs $50 for the first year and $75 per year after. Members who join in the second half of the year also receive a discount on the next year's SKA dues. If the cost of dues is prohibitive, talk to a senior to make arrangements.

Q. Is this a class for credit?

A. No. Though practices are organized as classes, with an instructor leading practice, this is not a class for academic credit. Our connection to the University of Michigan is as an official Club Sport, and the club is also a student organization registered with MSA. However, you do not need to be affiliated with the University to practice, though you will need to purchase a user pass for access to the gyms.

Q. What is the SKA?

A. Shotokan Karate of America, Inc. is the parent national organization with which the University of Michigan dojo is affiliated. SKA is a non-profit Karate organization teaching Karate-do in America since 1955. It is also closely affiliated to several Shotokan organizations world wide. Its goal is best summed up in _The Student Guide to Shotokan Karate of America_.

The purpose of Shotokan Karate of America, a non-profit educational organization, is to teach Karate as a martial art to the public during regularly scheduled classes in affiliated dojos (schools) and universities throughout the United States. SKA faithfully follows the teachings of our Chief Instructor or Shihan, Mr. Tsutomu Ohshima. His faculty is composed of members who have attained the rank of Black Belt. They are organized through the Black Belt Council, each having an equal voice in SKA policy decisions.

For more information, visit the SKA Website or contact the national headquarters: Shotokan Karate of America
2500 S. La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90034, USA
Phone: 1-310-839-5170 (2pm to 7pm PST)
SKA Webmaster:

Q. Do I need a uniform to practice?

A. No. There are no uniform requirements; just wear loose, comfortable workout clothes (shorts or sweatpants and a t-shirt, usually). Most people eventually get plain karate gis (the club sells them at cost; you can ask when you start practicing), but this isn't necessary at all.

Q. How does SKA organize rank?

A. To paraphrase the SKA Student Guide slightly:

Rank is an award of recognition presented to indicate the progess of the student with regard to both the physical and the mental aspects of Karate, and is thought of as a learning experience for both students and instructors....

All SKA students begin with a White Belt (unranked) and may advance through different 5 levels of White Belt, 3 levels of Brown Belt, and 5 levels of Black Belt. (SKA does not award belts of other colors.) ... SKA students should not confuse or compare this original ranking system, maintained by SKA out of respect for Master Funakoshi, to various other groups that award different color belts or higher black belt degrees.

SKA ranks are recognized at all affiliated dojos. If you have practiced before with an SKA group, your rank will be recognized throughout SKA.

Q. What if I still have questions?

A. To reach us online, please send e-mail to or get in touch with one of the club contacts.

Updated 3 September 2000 (ty).