Frequently Asked Questions

What is Zen Budo Karate/Zen Budo Martial Arts?

Zen Budo is an organization of people dedicated to teaching the self defense (Goshin Jutsu) aspects of all martial arts.


What is Goshin Jutsu? What Style do you teach?
Goshin Jutsu isn't really a style, it's learning things for self defense. In the earlier part of the century Judo, Aikido, and Karate books all had a section in the back called "Goshin". It would show you the most practical effective techniques of the style, real stuff you would do if attacked on the street. Basically what we do is that chapter out of each book. Our concern is keeping people safe, not adhering to a particular style.


So do you teach Karate?

Karate on mainland Japan and in America focuses almost exclusively on striking and sport competition.  Earlier in Karate's history (on Okinawa), it was primarily a self defense art and embraced all forms of combat which included joint locks, pressure points, chokes, take-downs, wrestling, and ground fighting. Also, people that learned and developed the art of Karate also cross trained with people who did Jujitsu, Kung Fu and Judo. We practice this more open, broader form of Karate. 


What is unique about your curriculum?

We emphasize partner work training for the bulk of the class.  Most martial arts classes have a teacher up at the front and the students imitate them. We try to avoid that as much as possible, because real self defense skills can only be learned from realistic scenarios with active, resisting partners. Imitation doesn't teach improvisation or adaptation, nor does it engage the three dimensional reasoning parts of the brain. 


Our focus isn't on belts, or status, or trophies, or preserving a style or lineage. Our purpose is always on self defense and not any of these other things. Once you make that your focus you start to see things differently. The flashy or complicated techniques fall away and you're left with this deep simplicity. 


Another unique part of the curriculum is that we front load most of our best information into the first class, because we don't want you practicing for months or years until you can do something practical to defend yourself. We want you do get some useful tools right away.  You never know when you might get attacked, so sooner is better than later.


But most people don't get attacked. Most people can wait to receive self defense skills. It's not very likely is it?

It actually is more likely than you think. 1 in 5 women are assaulted before the age of 18. Men are attacked at a ratio of 1 in 3. You could go your whole life and never be attacked. Or it could happen to you once or even more than once. We train you to have some preparation for that, so you won't simply be a victim. 


Aren't Martial Arts dangerous? Don't you get hurt a lot?

No. In 35 years I've been injured exactly 3 times. One injury was spraining my wrist because it got twisted too far. The other two were healed up in two days.


Will this make my child violent? 

Quite the opposite. Research has shown that students taking martial arts are less likely to bully others and also less likely to be bullied themselves.


Will this make my child "bullyproof"?

There are no guarantees in a self defense situation. Self defense situations are dangerous. Physical bullying is dangerous. However, having training increases the odds that you will be able to successfully navigate a bad situation. 


Will my child have to do sparring? 

Not at the first belt, no. But eventually, yes. 


Isn't sparring dangerous? Not the way we do it. Hitting others forcefully is not permitted. Children start sparring training by attempting to play tag and touch (not hit) the opponent's shoulder. Later they learn point sparring, where a person strikes near, (but not touching) the person with a punch or kick. Judges decide if the techniques would have worked.They do not wear gear so they can hit each other. Students wear protective gear in case of accidental contact.  


What fees do I have to pay?

This varies based on your location and provider. Details are given on our After School Tab. Look up your school and what client it's under. Each client has different fees.


Do we have to buy a uniform?

Not if you already have one. If you don't, there is usually a fee. Click the After School tab to check. 


How do kids get their next belt? 

The promotion of a student is up to that student's instructor, or for higher belts, a panel of instructors. This is similar to how a school teacher is in charge of grades. All instructors will work with students on a plan for their next promotion, which may include working out at home, coming to more classes, private lessons, etc. For belt requirements click the "Curriculum" tab above. 


How long will this take? The guy across the street says he can make my son a black belt in one year. 

Training in self defense takes many years to attain true proficiency. A Black Belt isn't given in our style until the basic skills have been mastered. If we gave out black belts easily we would ruin our reputation and we aren't willing to do that, not for any amount of money. 


How did you develop your curriculum?

It took many years of trial and error. I had several great teachers. My wife is a school social worker who specializes in Anti-Bullying tactics. I learned from another teacher meditation techniques that helped with classroom management. 


You also have to make it fun for kids or they don't come back. We found that a lot of things you need to do for self defense, such as hitting pads, doing take downs and falling and rolling on mats, kids really enjoy anyway. I have a lot of experience making fun kid's activities, so that really contributed.


Are you a Martial Arts Master?

After 35 years of training in half a dozen martial arts, I know a thing or two.  I have had many people come to train with me from different styles. Even though I may have never trained in their particular style, they are often fascinated with what I have to teach, and they keep learning from me. 


At a certain level, different arts and people can't be compared easily.  What's better: a Ming Dynasty vase or Renaissance stained glass window? All truly skilled martial artists share a special bond of respect for one another, whether they work on kicks, punches,  or wrestling. 


There are people who know things about kicks or elbows, or pressure points that will blow your mind. I specialize in curriculum development, practical application, and self defense. Other people have other specialties. Learning in martial arts never stops. I still have a Kyusho teachers and a sword teacher. There is always an open path ahead.