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Q: How do I join the club?
A: All you have to do to join is show up for one of the club trainings listed here on the website and train. Remember to bring comfortable clothes for exercising!
Q: Who can join the club?
A: Club membership is open to Penn State students, faculty, and staff, as well as community members. However, all participants must be at least 18 years of age.
Q: Are there any fees or dues?
A: There are no fees or dues required. The club is free!
Q: Do I need a GI (white pajamas) to train?
A: Initially no Gi is required. Plenty of people train in shorts and a t-shirt. If you would like to test, however, you must purchase a Gi. Gi's can be purchased through the club.
Q: How do I join the club's e-mail list?
A: To join the listserv (e-mail list) for the club send an e-mail to: L-Shotokan-subscribe-request@lists.psu.edu. Please leave the subject and the message body of the e-mail blank. You will receive confirmation upon successfully joining the listserv. If you do not receive the confirmation email within 24hours from the time of your request please contanct the webmaster for manual addition to the mailing list.
Q: How do I remove myself from the club's e-mail list?
A: To remove yourself from the club's listserv send an e-mail to: L-Shotokan-unsubscribe-request@lists.psu.edu. Please leave the subject and the message body of the e-mail blank.
Q: Where can I find the Club Sports liability waiver?
A: Club Sports requires all members to fill out a waiver and attach a copy of their current insurance card.
Q: Instructor is using Japanese Karate Terminology. Where can I learn what his/her instructions mean?
A: See a list of the most commonly used Japanese Karate Terms.
Q: Does your club participate in any tournaments?
A: Yes. Our club attends five collegiate tournaments per year, plus one regional tournament and one national tournament. Tournament participation is optional, and includes kata (forms) events as well as kumite (sparring) events. All ranks can participate in collegiate tournament events.
Q: Does the club use the belt system? If, so what are they and what are the requirements for each belt?
A: Yes, the club has 10 kyu rankings prior to the black belt, with white, yellow, orange, green, purple, and brown color system. One must demonstrate in the kyu exam that one has the proficiency in the basic techniques, kata, and sparring expected at that belt or kyu level prior to being promoted to the next level. Advancement depends on how hard and how often one trains with the club more than anything else, as practice is how we improve our skills.
Q: I have trained martial arts before. Does the club honor belts earned in other clubs?
A: The club is part of The International Shotokan Karate Federation. If you have trained in Shotokan karate before, you can wear whatever belt you now have, but it will not be formally recognized until you have tested with the club, unless you are already a member of ISKF. We hold 3 kyu exams per year. Those people who enter the club with previous training benefit from that and advance quickly to their skill level.
Q: What is the ISKF?
A: The International Shotokan Karate Federation is an organization of traditional karate clubs headed by Chief Instructor Teriyuki Okazaki. Sensei Okazaki came to the United States as a Japan Karate Association (JKA) instructor to spread karate in North America. The ISKF is made up of clubs that have followed Sensei Okazaki as he travelled the world teaching karate. ISKF headquarters is in Philadelphia, PA. See the club certificate as a member of ISKF.
Q: What is a typical class like?
A: Our practices begin and end with stretching, and include some basics, kata and kumite each time. We do not do full contact sparring and our beginners do not do free sparring. The best way to see what the club is like is to come and practice with us.
Q: This is a university club. Does it have a constitution?
A: Yes! Our club has an official constitution that governs the elections of officers, guidelines for membership and selection of the head coach.

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