CT Kenpo Karate Student Handbook

Welcome as a student of Connecticut Kenpo Karate! We want your training to be as rewarding as possible and to help you get off to a good start, we have prepared this Student Manual. It contains valuable information for students and also for the parents of our younger students.

At Connecticut Kenpo Karate we believe that everyone has the potential to become a Black Belt. It requires commitment, dedication, and hard work but it is within every student’s grasp.

Our program strongly emphasizes team spirit and cooperation. Throughout the course of your training you will work with many different people—instructors, assistant instructors, and fellow students. You will find the environment friendly and supportive because we have common goals to learn a difficult martial art and become as good as we can be.

Much of what you learn here will carry over into other aspects of your life and remain with you long into the future.

Many martial artists will tell you their involvement was a life-changing event and most Black Belts will list getting their Black Belt as one of the major accomplishments of their lives, right up there with graduating from college, getting married, and having children. We want your training to be a positive experience and strive to build an environment that supports individuals’ aspirations in a climate of friendship and trust.

Parents should know that we stress positive values: honesty, integrity, and behaving in ways that make family, friends and fellow students proud. We let our younger students know that, while karate, sports and other activities may be fun and important, their most important responsibilities are doing well in school, helping the family in every way possible, and being good citizens in the community. We are prepared to work in partnership with parents to help keep kids’ priorities in proper order.

Once again, welcome . . . and congratulations for your decision to pursue this course of study. I am sure your will find it fun as well as rewarding.

Professor Wayne Tanguay
Professor Lee Anne Brophy
6th Degree Black Belts

General Rules and Regulations

Observe good martial arts courtesy at all times – to instructors, fellow students, and visitors.

Wear a clean uniform and belt to class.

Bring sparring gear to every class.

Students who are late must perform the bow-in ceremony, do ten pushups, and form up behind the last row,
regardless of belt rank.

No street shoes in the workout area—guests included.

Do not bring food or drinks in the studio.

Do not chew gum in the studio.

Guests must have permission to watch class.

Keep finger nails and toe nails trimmed.

No running, horseplay, or fooling around in the studio.

If there is a class in progress when you arrive, please respect the instructor and students by keeping as quiet as
possible so as not to disrupt the class.

Do not kick or punch, or pretend to kick or punch, near or at other students.

Do not spar without instructor permission.

Students under the rank of Green Belt may not use any martial arts weapons unless supervised by a Black Belt.

Students under the rank of Green Belt may not free spar without supervision by a Brown Belt or higher unless they have received permission from Sifu.

Business Procedures

Tuition payments are due in advance. You should receive a bill in the mail or by email near the first of the month.  If you do not receive a bill by your due date, please let us know so that you do not get penalized for a processing or mail problem.

Please make payments on time! Amounts more than 15 days past due are assessed a late fee of $5 or 5%,
which ever is greater.

Attractive incentives are available for pre-paying the full term of your Lesson Agreement. Our Family Plan is also very inexpensive and flexible for other family members who may want to try our program but are concerned about making a long term commitment. Ask for details.

Our program and pricing is based on attending an average of 2 classes per week. There are no credits or
refunds for missed classes. If you are absent 1 or 2 weeks, missed classes can be made up by attending more than 2 classes other weeks of the year. If you are absent for 3 or more weeks, due to illness or injury, please notify us so that we may add the days, free of charge, to the end of your membership. Remember that tuition payments are still due on their normal date during your absence.

In case of snow or other inclement weather, call the studio to find out if classes are cancelled—the message on our answering machine will be changed if that is the case.

We close for most public school holidays, on several Saturdays and Mondays to accommodate long weekends, and also for studio sponsored events such as tournaments. The days we are closed are listed on our class schedule and may change without notice. As a rule of thumb, if Newington public schools are closed there will be no karate classes.

Prices posted for our stocked martial arts supplies reflect the catalog prices but are equivalent to a 10 to 15%
discount because CKK pays the shipping and handling charges. In addition, CKK guarantees sizes, saving you the time and cost of exchanging merchandise that doesn’t fit. If you want to order heavy bags, stretching machines, or more than $150 of supplies, additional discounts may apply.

Please feel free to discuss a financial problem with ProfessorTanguay. Working together, we might find alternatives that satisfy both training and financial needs. All conversations are held in strict confidence.


Please drop off children no sooner than 10 minutes before class; pick up children promptly at the end of class. It gets very busy around class changeover time and we cannot provide supervision for students who are waiting for rides. Please consider using the parking lot and entrance at the rear of the building for additional safety.

Little Dragons and Dragons should wear their uniforms to class. If that is not possible, the upstairs bathroom may be used to change. Only Jr. Black Belts and Adults are permitted in the basement.

We encourage parents to periodically make appointments to observe their child’s progress. We do not recommend this as a regular practice because children are often self-conscious, inhibited, or nervous due to their parent’s or others’ presence. In addition, background conversations among visitors can be quite distracting to both instructors and students. Please do not bring friends of your child or younger siblings at these times unless you are trying to assess their interest in beginning class.

If you do bring siblings or friends of your child into the studio, they must be closely supervised by an adult. At no time should other children be left unattended. Visitors may not use any of the studio equipment and no one should walk in the workout area with shoes on!

What Parents Can Do To Help

Our goal is to make karate a positive, constructive, and fun activity for your child. Reinforcement from home can also help a lot! How? By showing an interest in your child’s training she/he will see that karate is important to you and you are proud of them. Have them demonstrate new things they learn for you, purchase some hand pads to help them practice kicks and hand strikes at home, observe classes occasionally, take them to tournaments. Watch our new instructional DVD’s with them – they make it a lot easier for you to coach them at home. Help keep their interest and excitement alive!

Through karate, many children learn valuable lessons in discipline, self-control, concentration, group learning, and positive socialization. Karate also develops a sense of accomplishment, pride, self-confidence, and self-esteem. These attributes often benefit other aspects of their lives—school, other sports, family and peer relationships—and in the long run, may be even more valuable than the physical skills your child may develop.

School Courtesies and Protocols

Bowing is a traditional act of respect and courtesy in the martial arts. When you enter the studio, bow (use the Kenpo salutation) to the senior instructor; bow to all Black Belts when you first see them; before entering the workout area, bow to show respect for your dojo (karate studio) and fellow students.

Never wear shoes (except approved studio shoes) in the workout area.

The chief instructors are Professor Tanguay and Professor Brophy.

Adult Black Belts are also referred to as “Sifu”, Junior Black Belts are referred to as “Miss” or “Mister”. It is also acceptable to refer to all levels of Black Belt as “Sir” or “Ma’am”.

Occasionally, lead instructors below the rank of Black Belt will conduct a class or portion of a class. They have full responsibility for the class and deserve the same respect a Black Belt instructor receives. All instructors, assistant instructors, warm-up and basic drill leaders, and breakout group leaders, regardless of rank, are to be referred to as “Sir” and “Ma’am”.

Bowing in before class and bowing out after a class should be done with dignity. From instructor to student it says, “I respect you for your desire to learn and I will do my best to teach you.” From student to instructor it says, “I respect your knowledge and what you have to teach me, and I will do my best to learn from you.”

If you bring guests with you to watch a class, introduce them to the senior instructor and request that they be
permitted to observe. Appointments for guests should be made in advance.

We believe that we all deserve each other’s respect and friendship because we have a common bond to learn and to help others learn our art.

We want your training to be a positive experience. We also want to maintain a climate of friendship and trust and support achievement of each student’s aspirations in the martial arts.

Conduct During Class

Be on time for class!

If you are late for class, wait for the lead instructor to acknowledge you. Perform the bow-in ceremony, then form up behind the last row. After warm-ups are over, form up in your appropriate belt rank row.

Raise your hand if you have question.

Martial arts courtesy is expected at all times you are in the studio. Remember to use “Sifu”, “Mr.”, “Ms.”, “yes sir”, “yes ma’am”, etc., as appropriate, with all Black Belts. The same courtesies are given to designated lead instructors, regardless of rank or age.

Insulting, abusive or vulgar language is not tolerated.

Try to use the restroom before class, however do not be afraid to raise your hand ask permission if you must use the restroom during class.

Avoid unnecessary talking and other distractions during instructional periods.

During class, practice only what the instructor teaches.

Do not use studio equipment without the instructor’s permission.

Do not join or leave a class without the instructor’s approval.

Practice control and caution at all times. Show respect for instructors and your fellow students.

If you are early for class and another is in progress, please do not speak or act in a manner that might cause
distractions. Also, do not enter the workout area without the instructor’s approval.

You must wear an approved, clean uniform to class. If you do not have your rank belt, you may borrow a white belt and form up in your normal rank row.

It is each student’s responsibility to bring sparring gear to every class, most especially to scheduled sparring classes. If you forget your gear, you will have to sit against the wall and observe or possibly assist as a corner judge.

Wearing Apparel

A complete Gi must be worn. If you are not properly dressed, you may not be permitted to join the class. Exceptions are occasionally made for students participating in Introductory, Beginner, or other special programs. Uniforms should be clean and good repair. They may be any color or combination of colors except that they may not be Demo Team or Instructor uniforms unless authorized.

During summer months, from Memorial Day and Labor Day, Connecticut Kenpo T-shirts may be substituted for Gi shirts. No other T-shirts are approved for wear in regular classes.

A Gi belt of proper color, clean and in good repair must be worn in the proper fashion. Knowing how to tie the belt correctly is required before testing for rank.

No jewelry (except for wedding bands) is to be worn during class due to the safety hazard for you and others.

Train with bare feet or appropriate studio shoes. Socks are not permitted due to the risk of slipping or tripping.

Clothing should not be left in the studio over night.

School patches should be purchased and worn over the heart on the left side of the Gi. Other patches may also be
worn, if you choose, on the right side, sleeves, back, or pant legs.

Prices of uniforms vary according to style, weight of material, color, and size. We stock popular sizes of pullover
demo team uniforms. If what you want is not in stock, we can order it, in which case there is usually a one week
delivery time.

Students who have completed Introductory or Beginner programs must supply their own safety equipment for
sparring. This may be purchased through the studio—we offer attractively priced packages which are discounted for shipping and handling charges that customarily are an additional 10 to 15%.

Promotion Requirements

Belt Sheets list requirements for promotion to the next level. These requirements, through the Brown Belt level are also demonstrated on instructional videos produced by Sifu Nokes.

For Advanced Dragons, Juniors and Adults, it is a good idea to document self-defense techniques as you learn them. Keep a note book of your techniques and whatever else you feel is useful to write down. You will find this notebook to be invaluable, especially when preparing for Brown Belt and Black Belt tests.

The intangible part of evaluating a student’s readiness for testing is judging his or her proficiency in execution. The striping system provides progress recognition and allows instructors to quickly gauge a student’s approximate skill level. Stripes are awarded as follows:

1st Stripe – knowledge of Basic Skills (and 1st Kata for Juniors and Adults)

2nd Stripe – knowledge of Kata (Self-Defense Techniques and 2nd Kata for Juniors and Adults)

3rd Stripe – after a mock test with one of the instructors to demonstrate proficiency in all requirements

Readiness for testing is also based on a student’s attitude and conduct: his or her willingness to work with instructors and fellow students toward common learning goals, being positive and dedicated to improving skill levels, and adhering to the policies and rules of the studio.

All tests except Brown, Junior Black, and Black Belt are conducted a promotion night held once per month. Brown and Junior Black Belt tests are administered by Black Belt panels with Sifu Tanguay as the principal tester. Black Belt tests are conducted and administered by a panel of Black Belts and ceritified by the New England Martial Arts Teachers Association (NEMATA). Those tests are private.

At the end of your test, your next belt is awarded and you are given feedback on your progress. You also receive a
promotion certificate and instructional video for the next belt level (available through Brown Belt). Belt and video costs are included in the test fee.

Belt Levels

Beginner Intermediate Advanced Instructor
White Purple Brown Black Belt and above
Yellow Blue Red
Orange Green Red/Black

Testing should be a positive experience. Promotion tests to the next level are only scheduled when we are confident the student will pass. This is the crucial role that “mock tests” play in assessing proficiency and readiness for promotional testing. Occasionally more than one “mock test” may be necessary before awarding the 3rd stripe and scheduling a test date.

Sparring Rules

Sparring is a privilege that is earned by students who demonstrate the proper mental attitude, maturity, and physical ability to respect and take responsibility for each other; it is reserved for those who prove they possess both the mental and physical control to avoid harming others. It may be revoked at any time for anyone who represents a danger to self or others. Children under the age of 6 are not eligible for sparring.

  1. The following mandatory safety equipment shall be worn at all times during sparring: head gear, mouth piece, hand gear, foot gear, groin cup for males. Shin guards are highly recommended. Optional safety equipment may include wrist, elbow, knee, chest, or stomach protectors. All gear must be in good repair and have the approval of the sparring instructor.
  2. Stop sparring IMMEDIATELY upon hearing the “BREAK!” command, whether issued by the referee, corner judges, or from the sidelines. When breaking, move away from your partner while still facing him or her—do not turn your back.
  3. Approved target areas for point scoring are: head, neck, chest, ribs, stomach, sides, kidney, arms, and groin. Legs and back are not approved target areas.
  4.  No contact rules are in effect:
    1.  NO CONTACT, no matter how light, to head groin, legs or back.
    2. Excessive contact (too hard, in the judgment of the referee or instructor) to any part of the body is not permitted.
    3. Wild or blind techniques are not permitted.
    4. Incidental light contact to the front or side body is allowed (may occur if both fighters are in motion and unintentional, light contact is made by one or both. If only one fighter is in motion, no-contact control is expected.)
    5. Intentional or malicious contact will result in loss of sparring privilege.
  5. No spinning kicks against White or Yellow Belts.
  6. No spinning back fists, leg sweeps, grabbing, holding or takedowns.
  7.  All students are expected to demonstrate a level of control over their sparring techniques commensurate with their belt rank.
  8. Observe courtesy at all times toward referees, judges, and sparring partners. Bow on command to the referee and your sparring partner at the beginning and end of each match. Shake hands with your partner at the end of each match. Observe good sportsmanship at all times (no “show-boating”, no victory celebrations, no displays of bad temper).
  9. During matches the referee is in charge; during line sparring the sparring instructor is in charge. Their instructions must be followed.
  10. When not sparring, sit in the designated area and observe the matches under way; do not behave in any manner that might be distracting for sparring pairs, referees, or corner judges.
  11. Scoring: 3 of 5 (or 2 of 3) judges determine a point. Contact calls are at the discretion of the head referee. The first contact is a warning, the second scores a point for the other person, the third disqualifies and a 3 – 0 victory is awarded the other person. Contact is called for violations of rules 4, 5, and 6. Stepping (both feet) out of bounds receives 2 warnings, then points are awarded to the other person. Poor sportsmanship, taunting, or showing disrespect are treated like contact violations.

Sparring is just one aspect of a well rounded martial arts program designed to develop self-confidence and self-
defense reaction skills. It is neither the most important skill nor one to be disregarded. Remember that sparring is designed to be a learning experience for both you and your partner. Be prepared to work in give-and-take fashion and to experiment with new techniques in a controlled manner. Regardless of the point outcome in any match, you can be a winner every time if you focus each time on what you did well and what you didn’t do well, what worked for the other person and what didn’t work. In this way, your skill and experience will grow with each match.

Meaning of the Bow-In and Bow-Out Ceremony

This important ceremony should be performed with dignity and respect. Never rush through the steps. It shows a
lack of respect for our traditions.

Begin in a Neutral Position. Come to Attention with hands at sides.

Kneel down and bow: Instructors, in bowing to students, show honor and respect for the students having come to class to learn karate; students, in bowing to instructors, show honor and respect for instructors coming to teach them.

Stand up at Attention: show your right fist and left open hand at head height at your sides (instructors should reverse this); the open hand symbolizes the Yin, the closed fist is the Yang (from the Chinese theory of opposites).

Cover the fist with the open hand to symbolize that when Yin and Yang are in balance there is peace and harmony.

Spread your feet apart and show your weapons — the right fist and left open hand (instructors should reverse this): the fist symbolizes Kenpo (Ken Po means ‘fist law’ in Chinese), the open hand symbolizes Karate (Kara Te means ‘empty hand’ in Japanese). These are your weapons and symbolize the power of Karate.

Come to Attention with right fist covered by left open hand (instructors should reverse this): the empty hand covering the fist shows your control over that power. Bow once more from the waist to show respect for your dojo. Return to neutral position.

PDF Version – Student Handbook