GKR operates on a few fundamental principles which are self-evident no matter which dojo (club) you attend, anywhere in the world. They are as follows:
Karate is for everyone
From the youngest child, to the oldest pensioner, black, white, rich, poor, experienced or not; all are welcome at GKR. We don't believe that karate is only for a few tough nuts who want to fight, nor do we believe that karate is only for young people or adults, or that you need to be superbly fit to participate. We adapt for the capabilities of each student, but we are a responsible style, which means that we don't teach inappropriate techniques to children that their playground peers will then spend forever avoiding. GKR takes its role in the community seriously.
Respect each other
It's hard to teach karate to students who do not respect each other. We teach respect by showing respect. We lead by example. All are accorded the same respect by the instructors, so that students learn its value. Students who care about each other are less likely to injure themselves or others through carelessness or macho behaviour.
Confidence through karate
We believe that self-confidence and a feeling of safety comes from feeling secure about yourself and your own abilities. We hope that you never need to use your karate in a real-life situation, but nothing makes you feel better than the knowledge that your self-defense abilities can cope with most situations.
Growth through self-discipline
We believe that all people, especially children, benefit from learning self-discipline. We sometimes encourage our students to push themselves to their limits and beyond, but we are not a tough, macho style that bullies students into things that they should not be attempting. We teach adherence to a code of etiquette to develop all students' respect for others and themselves.
We use kata extensively as a measure of advancement. Kata is a formalized sequence of moves that represents responses to multiple attacks. Whilst kata is an art-form in its own right, the moves are functional. However, learning to execute them in a formal environment teaches the student body-awareness and self-control.
You get what you pay for
People occasionally express reservations about the commercial structure of GKR Karate. The organization is unapologetic for this approach. We believe that a professional service costs money. Our prices are comparable to most other martial arts styles, yet we offer a vastly more extensive service. The money that students pay to train, grade, attend events and buy merchandise contributes to the huge international infrastructure that puts on regular local, regional, national and international events. At these events, students can compete with each other, meet the most senior instructors and mix with other students from far and wide. In most GKR regions, members can walk in off the street and train at a local club every single evening of the week. It's fantastic to feel as if you are part of a truly global martial arts style and we believe that this level of organization and service is something that students appreciate and are prepared to pay a fair price for.
Less is more
Many martial arts styles such as Aikido and Jujitsu have hundreds if not thousands of complicated blocks, strikes, locks, throws and more. Although these styles are often impressive to watch and are very effective when used by experts, they are impractical for novices to use in self-defense situations. At GKR Karate, we prefer to use a small set of very simple moves that are easy to learn and perform. This means that from day-one, students are capable of doing moves that can protect them. Our style is definitely functional rather than showy, and after a single lesson, students take away a number of potentially life-saving techniques.
Strength through practical experience
GKR students spar with each other on a regular basis. These non-contact "mock battles" (called kumite) help to develop appropriate responses to various attacks as they actually happen, enabling the students to develop confidence about their ability to withstand a real attack. They are also highly enjoyable and are good exercise.
Repetition is the mother of skill
We believe that to master a technique, you need to practice it often and lots of times. Only then can you call upon that technique without needing to think about it when needed. This philosophy has been at the core of traditional martial arts for hundreds of years.
Karate should be fun
Nobody does anything for long that they don't enjoy unless they have to. Although we teach respect and discipline, and you might have a really good work-out in some classes, above all, we believe that karate should be fun. Of course, it's great to know that you're a better person, and that you can defend yourself, but we want you to enjoy yourself too. That's why classes are formulated to cover a range of activities that between them will accommodate all tastes, and most classes include time for games.
Karate is a way of life
Your karate can affect every area of your life for the better. GKR karate students should strive to be better citizens in all areas. The disciplines that you learn in karate can be used to enhance every part of your life.