Karate is probably one of the most popular martial arts in the world and, no doubt, you first heard about it from a friend or family member. Just about everybody knows somebody who trains in karate and almost every major city has a dozen karate schools.\nTypically, karate is practiced in a school, also known as a Dojo (the Japanese word meaning “place of the way.” But, karate can be practiced anywhere: you garage, basement, back yard, parks, gymnasiums, and fitness centers. More than likely, your local YMCA or YWCA has a karate class that you can attend.\nI first recommend that you find a good karate school near you. Then, probably the hardest part of the process, you must develop the fortitude to actually walk through the door and talk to the instructor.\nNow that the hardest part is over, when you first start karate as a student you need to make sure you have the correct attitude. You can do whatever you set your mind to do and having a good attitude will take you very far in the martial art of karate.\nLiterally defined, karate means “empty hand,” but you can expect a lot of great things to come your way as you continue to pursue karate, such as: • Increased strength and stamina • Confidence in yourself and your abilities • Time management skills • Agility and balance • The ability to persevere under pressure • Mental strength\nNext, take a second to think about why you want to student karate. Do you want to pursue it as a sport or as a hobby? Do you want to know how to defend yourself or just lose a few pounds? No matter which one of these reasons is most relevant to you, you will find karate to be extremely rewarding.\nYour first class will probably be the most difficult, especially if you are learning advanced techniques. There is no way that you are going to pull off a spinning wheel kick your first day! Most people will quit karate because they fail to see the benefits fast enough. If they just stuck it out for six more months, they would have seen what amazing things karate can bring into your life. If you are finding that karate is not for you, maybe you are just at the wrong school.\nAfter the first class, there is a very good chance that you will be sore. You are likely using muscles that you have never used before. As long as you continue, and don’t give up, you will see that soreness disappear and begin to enjoy the true benefits of a lifelong career practicing karate!\nAlso you want to make sure that you always stretch properly before and after karate class. You can even practice stretching at home with a stretching machine made by Proforce.