About Karate


What is karate?

Karate is a system of self defence and physical culture originally developed and refined in Okinawa and Japan. The word is formed from the Japanese words Kara (empty) and Te (hand), symbolising that its practitioners – Karateka – are unarmed, but use their hands and feet for blocking and striking. Training is conducted within an environment based on Japanese cultural and sporting practices. For example, the sturdy white training uniform (karate gi) is worn and trainees bow to one another to show respect.

Who can train in karate?

Karate can be practiced by men, women and children. Our students range from the very young to senior citizens. Anyone who is in reasonable health can train at karate. Karate students will improve their health, self-awareness, self-confidence and self-esteem. Parents and teachers continually report on the improvement in the behaviour of children who train regularly at KUGB clubs. This is because of our disciplined training structure and the emphasis placed on good etiquette.

The benefits of karate training

The physical training required to reach a high level of skill in Karate promotes overall good health, fitness and well-being. The concentration, commitment and dedication required, help build a strong, confident and determined character. There is a “Dojo Kun”, or training code, which not only ensures a disciplined training environment, but serves as a tool for improving behaviour, so that a true Karateka will only use their fighting skills as a last resort.

What is involved in karate training

Training is structured into three main sections – Kihon (fundamental techniques), Kata (formal exercises) and Kumite (sparring). Each section has a range of complexity to suit the different levels or grades of students. Kumite will be introduced as basic blocking and counter-attacking, but will progress to free-sparring which develops the timing, reflexes and co-ordination necessary for self defence and competition.

KUGB competitions

Karate is an exciting and challenging sport. The KUGB has competed Internationally since 1968 and has achieved numerous World and European titles in both team and individual events. There are club and Regional events for all ages and grades, with opportunities for selection to the KUGB English, Scottish, Welsh and British Squads. There are separate championships for children and for students who are in full-time education at Colleges and Universities.


KUGB students are entitled to take grading examinations after set periods of training. The gradings are conducted by Senior Examiners, and there is a grading syllabus for all levels. Coloured belts are used to denote grades.

There are 9 grades below Black Belt. These are known as Kyu grades with 9th Kyu, orange belt, being the lowest and 1st Kyu, brown and white, the highest.