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  • Do I have to register my hands when I become a black belt?
    No, that is an urban myth. Martial artists are not required to register their hands.
  • Do I have to be in good shape before I start?
    No, you will get into shape as you train. We have a series of exercises that you will learn as you progress through the ranking system which will enable you to perform the self defense techniques. We also stretch at the beginning of each class to help you increase your flexibility. Balance will come in time as many of our core basics also help improve your core strength and stability. Endurance is built up over time as well, once you know most of the basics these become drills that we will do with increased speed and intensity over time making them double as cardio in addition to honing your fundamentals.
  • I am 31 years old, am I too old to start martial arts?"
    No, you are not too old to begin martial arts training. Kenpo regularly has students start from adolecense through their 50's and older. Kenpo is a practical and effective martial art that does not incorporate gymnastics and any physical limitations can be easily accomodated. Since Kenpo values itself as a practical art, it is therefore essential that we be able to work with all abilities and limitations.
  • What is the difference between Tae Kwon Do and Kenpo? What about Karate? Kung Fu?
    Tae Kwon Do (TKD) is a Korean martial art that focuses primarily on kicking techniques. Some TKD schools also teach Olympic style fighting. Kenpo is a practical self defense system which trains the student for modern day self defense encounters. Kenpo students are taught to use their hands and feet with multiple strikes to multiple targets on each attacker, in a multiple attack situation. Karate in present day America is generally used the same way we use the word "Kleenex" for tissues. It usually implies just any martial art. In the traditional use of the word though karate, literally meaning empty hand in Japanese, is used to mean Japanese martial arts. There are many different kinds of karate from Japan such as shotokan, judo, jujitsu, etc. Shotokan is what most traditionally think of when they hear the word karate, and is known for it's deep stances and very standarized and traditional forms. Judo is known for its throws and jujitsu traditionally known for ground work and locks. There are many different flavors of kenpo as well, the ISKA has a really good write up here, see FAQ #3: Another good read for explaining what differentiates kenpo and also comparing it to kung fu is this article:
  • I previously achieved purple belt at another school, do I have start all over or can I be evaluated and keep my current rank?"
    I get asked this question a lot. The answer is that unless they were another Ralph Castro affiliated school, most likely you will be starting over as the kata's in Shaolin Kenpo are very different from other styles and you wouldn't have learned them at a karate, tae kwon do, kung fu, or even American kenpo dojo. HOWEVER - I do allow students to wear their previous belts and just work in the background testing up through our ranks until their Kenpo rank eventually exceeds their original prior dojo rank. Also if you have previous training you will find that you are able to power through some of the lower belts at a quicker pace. Also we don't charge belt testing fees, so there's no added cost to you for having to re-rank in our system. Think of it like having earned a bachelors degree in college in the Spanish language. Now you switch to a college for Portugese. Sure the two have many similarities, but the languages themselves are indeed very different, so you wouldn't instantly have a bachelors degree in Portugese. So while you'll catch on quickly, you are not a master of Portugese the day you walk into that new classroom. The same applies to how different martial arts will have some similarities and while you may catch on quick still are very different systems from one another.
  • How long does it take to get a black belt?
    In Kenpo Karate, it takes approximately 5 years to reach student black belt.
  • I am very busy with my work schedule, how much time do I need to devote to kenpo classes?"
    Two 1 hour classes per week are recommended, as is practicing at home. As you progress through the ranks if you want more 1:1 attention we offer 30 minute private lessons which can further help hone your skills.
  • What sort of things should I consider when choosing a school?
    My instructor Master Professor Bill Grossman has a great write up about choosing a martial arts school on his website here: I have copied over some of the questions on that page that Master Professor encourages asking to outline my answers here in the FAQ: How long does it take to get a black belt? The average is 5 years at our school. This is the same at Master Professor's school and my school How long is the lease at the school location? A long lease is a strong indication of the schools dedication and stability. I began subletting in 2017, at the end of 2020 I finally was getting to the point with our student base where finding our own place made the most sense for future growth, the ability to offer my classes, and be able to have the essentials we need for the best training environment. I hope to be able to update this page to say that we will have signed our first 3-5 year lease in early 2021. Does the school have liability and medical insurance? Yes, I carry the required insurance. I also stay up to date on my CPR and First Aid training for kids and adults. How long does the instructor plan on teaching? If you reach the rank of black belt does the instructor have the necessary rank to promote you to 2nd or 3rd degree or higher? I plan to teach until I am no longer able to physically or mentally do so. Even after I retire from my day job, I will be here for years after continuing to teach and grow with my students. Ones journey is never complete in martial arts. I see martial arts as the job I continue long past traditional job retirement ages. As of writing this answer today in December 2020, I may only be a 1st degree black belt in Kenpo, but by the time any of my students reach 1st degree themselves, I will be at least a 2nd or 3rd degree black belt myself. I regularly fly back to California and test on the normal schedule for my rank. I attend zoom private lessons weekly with Master Professor. I expect to test for 2nd degree black belt sometime around December 2021 (assuming COVID is long behind us and it is safe to fly back for that test in California) If the school closes is there another school in the area where you can continue training without starting over? Not all schools teach the same kata's or forms. Shaolin Kenpo (Ralph Castro's) branch unfortuantely did not exist in Texas before I moved here and started this school. There are some American Kenpo schools in the area but they have completely different techniques and forms. I hope to foster future teachers through my school and continue to spread the art in Texas as my students rise in rank and hopefully want to have their own schools one day. Does the school charge additional registration fees, test fees or insurance fees? The only additional fees you will pay are for patches on your uniform (you are expected to have these for your first test), and testing fees. When you begin learning weapons like the bo staff and kama's you will be expected to purchase those but that is at higher ranks and both items can be obtained for very reasonable prices. I don't charge extra registration or insurance fees. Buying extras like dojo t-shirts, hoodies, sparring gear (if you wish to spa with others) is not a mandatory purchase.
  • What do the words Kenpo Karate mean?
    Karate (空手) literally means empty (空) hand (手), which is why many Japanese arts use this in their name. Kenpo (拳法) is usually translated to mean law (法) of the fist (拳) based on the meanings of the characters.
  • What is the policy on spectating?
    Immortal Tiger Kenpo Karate staff have the right to request any person who is watching class to wait outside if they are making any student or instructor feel uncomfortable or otherwise disturbing the normal instruction of classes. Due to privacy concerns, recording (video or photography) of class is strictly prohibited without prior permission.
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