Some benefits of Karate

Not only is Karate a great activity that keeps students physically active, but it also instills a sense of achievement as you work your way up through the coloured belts and on to black belt. Even if you have no previous experience in Karate, it is a great physical activity for children and adults from age 5 upwards. Our Chief Instructor, Sensei Andy Sherry 9thDan, has been training for over 60 years and, at 76 years old in 2019, is still as passionate and able as he was many years ago.

  • Total body workout: Karate is a high-aerobic workout that uses every muscle group in the body. Stamina, muscle tone, flexibility, balance and strength will all improve through Karate.
  • Healthy lifestyle: Due to the total-body nature of a Karate workout, hundreds of calories are burned during every session.
  • Self-confidence: The greatest benefit usually reported by Karate students is greater self-confidence, especially in youngsters and those on the spectrum. Students become more comfortable in all situations.
  • Improved cardiovascular health: The only real way to improve the status of the cardiovascular system is by participating in activities that stress the heart, such as Karate.
  • Weight loss: A one hour session of moderate intensity Karate can burn up to many hundreds of calories.
  • Improved reflexes: By participating in Karate, you not only improve your reflexes while performing the activity, but actually experience faster reaction times during all activities of your life. This is very important in a number of daily activities, such as driving.
  • Teaches great morals and values: Karate wisdom has it that after consistent practice, one becomes less impulsive and aggressive towards others.
  • Muscle tone: Regular Karate practice can greatly improve the amount of muscle mass you have in your body. The higher your muscle mass, the higher your metabolic demands will be, and subsequently the more calories you will burn each day, thereby helping prevent obesity and promote weight loss. High levels of muscle mass also lead to increased agility, thereby preventing falls as you age.
  • Better mood: Researchers have found that participating in a regular exercise routine is one of the best ways to improve your mood. Performing Karate is not only a good way to relieve stress and frustration, but may actually help to make you happier. The endorphins released by physical activity appear to be active in your body for as many as four hours after exercise.

KUGB Grading System

Grading is a system whereby students can monitor their progress by undergoing examinations to progress to the next belt. KUGB Karateka will be eligible to grade providing they have fulfilled all technical requirements, hold a current KUGB licence and record book and have permission to grade from their senior club instructor, Sensei Michael O’Connor, 7thDan.

All HSKC gradings are held at Queens Park High School, Handbridge by the KUGB Chief Instructor, Sensei Andy Sherry 9thDan.

Students must train on average twice per week at a KUGB dojo, with an approved KUGB instructor.

Students who have demonstrated the required standard are awarded a coloured belt to denote their grade. Coloured Belt grades are known as Kyu grades and range from 9thKyu – White Belt to 1stKyu – Brown Belt with two white stripes. Students training at least twice per week and achieving the necessary level, may grade every 3 months up to 1stKyu.

Once 1stKyu is achieved, students must wait a further 6 months before being eligible to take Shodan (first level Black Belt). You should consult the senior club instructors to see if you are ready to grade. Not all students progress at the same rate, so it is important to grade only when you are ready. It is not uncommon for students to miss a grade.

Irrespective of skill or confidence levels, all students must have completed at least 26 hours training since their last grading in order to qualify for the next grading (16 hours in order to take their first grading).

Novices may grade after two months of training.

There must be a minimum of three monthly intervals between each grading from 9th Kyu to 1st Kyu.

It is possible for exceptional students to be graded directly to 8th Kyu, but this is at the discretion of the grading examiner.

A student may receive a ‘Temporary’ grade, which means that they are not quite up to the required standard. They will however wear the same coloured belt and train on the same syllabus as if they were a full grade.

Students who fail a Kyu grading may re-take their examination after three months.

The examiner may ask to see some or all of the Kihon, Kata and Kumite listed in the KUGB Syllabus. Candidates may be required to demonstrate material from previous gradings to ensure overall development – a brown belt for example may be asked to perform a Heian Kata.

Allowance will be made for candidates who are unable to perform certain techniques due to physical or other restrictions.

It must be emphasised that the KUGB Syllabus is intended as a guideline to prepare students for their gradings and that the most important factor is the examinee’s quality of performance.

New Starters


We are always looking for new starters who have never done karate before or those who may have had some exposure to martial arts of different styles.

There are many benefits of studying karate whether you just want to get fit, meet people, would like to compete or are interested in more traditional budo, then karate is for you.

Our club instructor is Sensei Michael O’Connor 7th Dan KUGB who has been training for over 50 years. He is currently one of only four 7th Dans within the KUGB and has an unbelievable wealth of knowledge.

Sensei O’Connor is assisted by Sensei Dave Roberts 3rd Dan KUGB

Some of the benefits include (but are not limited to):-

  • Improves focus and discipline in children
  • Improves decision making
  • Helps to achieve goals
  • Positive effects for children on the spectrum
  • Teaches Self-protection
  • Helps reduce weight
  • Helps to relieve Stress
  • Improves overall fitness levels

After 2 months of regular training (at least twice per week), most students are ready to take their first grading. There is a system of belts ranging from White (beginner) to Black (advanced). Once the first level Black Belt is achieved, there are nine more levels of Black Belt (up to 10th Dan – Judan)

Our Chief Instructor and grading examiner, Sensei Andy Sherry 9th Dan has been training for over 60 years, so you can see how long it takes to get to the higher levels. First level Black Belt (Shodan) can be achieved in around 3.5 – 4 years of regular training.

All Kyu gradings (those below black belt) are conducted at Queens Park High School i.e. the same place you will be training. These are conducted 3-4 times a year and students who have been training diligently can expect to grade every 3 months.

In order to train and grade, students require a licence which can be obtained by visiting the KUGB website and following instructions. Alternatively, see your instructor who can assist you with this. The licence also provides insurance cover.

Prices are £4 juniors, students and unemployed, £5 adults and there are special rates for families.



Coming back to Karate

If you have trained in karate before and had a break for whatever reason, this is an ideal opportunity to come back and continue your karate journey.

Sensei Michael O’Connor 7th Dan KUGB has instructed seniors who have had 30 year breaks from karate and has guided them from Brown Belt up to 3rd Dan on at least 3 occasions in the last 10 years and has helped many more juniors and seniors achieve Shodan or higher.

There is no need to be nervous. We can introduce you slowly back into the syllabus. You can wear your belt relating to your current grade the last time you trained, or if you wish, you can wear a white belt until such time you feel confident enough to wear your normal belt. There is no pressure. We have had many karateka come back saying they wished they had never given up.

We also welcome people from different styles of karate.

Look forward to seeing you in the dojo soon.

Sensei Dave Roberts 3rd Dan KUGB


Thursday training at HSKC

Members please note, Thursdays are now kumite nights focussing on all aspects. Please bring your mitts. 

Juniors/intermediates 6-7pm

Advanced/intermediates 7-8pm

Note: Thursdays are now 1/2 hour less for the second class.