Frequently Asked Questions


+ What types of classes do you offer?

  • TMAA offers a variety of traditional martial arts classes in Traditional Okinawan Karate at our Richland and Hermiston locations. Each class has a target age and rank for attending.

  • Our class schedule page has more information on this. However, at a high level:

+ Do I have to speak Japanese in class?

  • All of TMAA's class include some elements of the Japanese language. More senior students are expected to be able to execute most of a class / test based on Japanese commands.

+ What can I expect from a typical class?

  • All of TMAA’s classes are supervised by certified black belt instructors. Each of our group fitness classes include:
    • Basic warm ups and exercise
    • Traditional karate movements and techniques (kata)
    • Application of these movements and techniques for:
      • self defense (bunkai)
      • sparring (kumite, not full-contact)

+ How much do your classes cost?

  • The specific pricing details will vary depending on our current promotions, and how many students are subscribing with your family each month. Contact us for details!

+ Can I take a class with my family?

  • Yes! Many students participate in classes with siblings, parents, children, etc. We love when your family trains together.

+ Can I try a class for free?

  • Absolutely! We also offer special Karate 101 classes for new students so that you don’t have to start in a larger group class on your first day. We also allow prospective students to observe full classes prior to jumping in. Contact us for details!

+ What equipment do I need for a class?

  • In most classes, you only need a uniform (gi). You can purchase this when you sign up for classes.
  • Specific equipment requirements (such as sparring gear and weapons) are detailed on our class pages.

Note that all necessary equipment may be purchased directly through TMAA. We recommend purchasing equipment through our dojo to ensure that the proper size and style of equipment is ordered.

+ Can I miss or makeup a class?

  • Yes! Our class schedule is such that there are multiple opportunities during a week to learn the same material. You can work with an instructor to identify a makeup class.

Note that missing too many classes may make you ineligible for the next test. See our testing policy for more information.


+ What style of karate do you teach at your school?

  • TMAA practices traditional Okinawan Karate-do. Our style is known as both Shudokan and Seito Karate.

+ Is Karate safe?

  • Yes! Millions of people in the United States and around the world practice this martial art. Karate is a physical sport. However, TMAA’s focus is on the safety and security of our students. Our instructors work alongside our students to insure that training always occurs in a supervised and safe environment.
  • TMAA students learn about self defense and how to apply the traditional karate we teach to protect themselves. We do not do this to teach our students to fight, bully, or otherwise “fight” with other people and in fact this type of behavior is not allowed from our students. One of our key principles is to "defend the innocent" and we instill this in students from day one.
  • Older students learn to spar. Sparring is a style of applying karate to score points against an opponent and is not full contact. All students learn to spar at a level appropriate for their age

+ Can I do Karate if I have a physical limitations?

  • Yes! People from all walks of life can, and do, participate in martial arts. Our instructors work with students to tailor materials to your personal needs.

Note that more advanced ranks do have specific fitness requirements that may be challenging or prohibitive for some students.

+ What Weapons do you teach at your school?

  • Weapons rotate between Oar, Sai, Bo and Tonfa (many other weapons are taught at a seminar or special season).
  • Weapon offerings are announced at the beginning of each quarter.
  • Each student must be proficient with at least one weapon prior to attaining brown belt rank

Belts and Testing

+ Why does everyone wear a belt?

  • The short answer is tradition!
  • Karate belts date back over a hundred years, and are a part of not just Japanese and Okinawan martial arts, but many others from around the world as well.
  • Students and instructors wear belts to indicate their experience and rank.

+ How many belts are there?

  • At TMAA we use the same belt system as our sister-schools that practice traditional Okinawan Karate in the Pacific Northwest. For adults, there are twelve belt ranks between white belt and black belt. These belts are:
    • White
    • Yellow
    • Orange
    • Blue
    • Purple
    • Green
    • Green + Black stripe
    • Brown
    • Brown + White stripe
    • Brown + Black stripe
    • Brown + Red stripe
    • Red + Black stripe
  • There are also multiple ranks of black belt that may be attained through years of additional study and training. In our system, 10th degree black belt is the highest possible rank, and it has only been attained in our association by one instructor, Hanshi Morris Mack.

+ How do I get my next belt?

  • TMAA designs its curriculum on a quarterly basis. We offer a test each quarter for students who have attained the necessary attendance and technical requirements to qualify for the next rank. Students who are not prepared are not allowed to test.
  • Students who take part in testing will perform the materials they have learned over the quarter for one or more instructors. Students that pass their test will be promoted to the next rank. Students who do not pass will continue to train at their current rank.

+ What does it mean to be a certified black belt?

  • Attaining the rank of black belt in a martial art is similar to receiving a college degree. It means that the individual has earned the right to be referred to as sensei (teacher). It also means that they have been certified as being a capable and trustworthy practitioner of our martial art.

Competition / Performance

+ Do your students compete in anything?

  • Yes! We have a tournament team that travels to and competes at tournaments around the Pacific Northwest. We also have some students that compete at the Nationals tournament each year (including some that have brought home gold medals).

+ Will I have an opportunity to watch my student / family member perform?

  • Yes! Parents / family members are always welcome to observe classes.
  • In most cases, tests are open to the family members of those up for advancement. Some higher level tests (including the black belt exam) are closed.