Getting Out Of Your Karate Comfort Zone – It’s A Great Big GKR World Out There


As most students know, GKR is a worldwide organisation, with over 2500 classes weekly across three countries ( Yet, with so many training options available, many of us don’t venture further afield than our region, or even our regular dojo. With so much to offer, why do so many of us limit what we experience and why is that an opportunity missed?


The Comfort Zone

A comfort zone sounds like a nice place to be, like a cosy bed or comfy sofa, so, it’s no surprise that we may want to stay in it. Moving out of your comfort zone can create feelings of anxiety and stress, making it challenging to take that first uncomfortable step into the unknown. There’s a certainty about what you’re used to, you can control it and it’s unlikely to surprise you. From a karate perspective, attending the same dojos and training with the same people is much easier and less stressful than trying something new.


If the comfort zone feels so good, why leave?

If it might cause you to feel stressed anxious and a little bit scared, why would you push yourself to do something new and different with your karate? Well, there’s a number of reasons why, which could benefit your karate and other aspects of your life.

  • You might find something you like! – In simple terms, we do karate because we like it. Yet, if we’d not stepped out of our comfort zone and attended our first class, we wouldn’t be involved now. The same applies to other experiences. Maybe tournaments, or national seminars seem scary to you, but what if you find that you absolutely love them and can’t believe you waited this long to attend?
  • Extend your learning – However great your main instructor or instructors are, there’s always something new to learn. A new instructor may tell you something you didn’t previously know, they may show you a new way to train, or a new way to think about your training. Similarly, training alongside people you aren’t familiar with will help you develop, as you observe their approach to karate and work with them in pairs or groups. It’s also useful to remember that even the most experienced instructors don’t know everything. All teachers, at all levels, have something different to offer.
  • You are capable of more! – Pushing yourself to experience things outside your comfort zone is great for your mindset. Taking a leap into something new is an achievement in itself and will give you confidence and improve your self-esteem. In most cases, you will also find that it wasn’t anywhere near as scary as you thought. These experiences also make you better prepared for times when you can’t avoid the nervous situation, such as your karate gradings, or, possibly something more general, such as a presentation at school or work. By taking difficult steps when it is your choice, you are building your resilience muscle.
  • Achieve your potential – Maybe you could be a National or World Cup champion, but you’ll never know if you don’t enter your first tournament. You could be an incredible instructor, if only you agree to get involved. Similarly, our lives outside the dojo are full of these potential opportunities that you might miss if you don’t take that first step. Maybe you try and it doesn’t work out, but now you know more about who you are and won’t have the regret that comes with never finding out.


Sounds great, so what can I do?

GKR has so many opportunities to expand your karate horizons and it depends on what you are used to as to what would be your next step. So, let’s start with cross training:

  • Find an additional dojo – The simplest and easiest way to push your karate boundaries is to train with different instructors and in different locations. Most regions will have additional classes you can attend with new instructors and students to work with. Visiting a new dojo for the first time can feel a bit like when you attended your first karate class, but just like that, it will be no time at all until it feels comfortable.
  • Seminars – You will probably have seminars in your region, focused on kata, tournaments, or self-defence. These are a good place to start. However, GKR also runs seminars in your zone, or nationally. These are a chance to train with GKR’s finest and most experienced instructors, including Kancho, Kyoshi Gavin and Kyoshi Anthony. Seminars provide an amazing opportunity to expand your horizons, with so much on offer and opportunities to learn. Finally, if you are brown belt or above, there’s black belt camp which includes multiple seminars over one weekend and is a great way to meet and train with karateka from multiple different regions.
  • Competitions – When it comes to competitions, we all have different views. However, they are an incredible learning experience and if you’ve never done one before, you should definitely try it, at least once. Few things push your kata or sparring forward faster than knowing you will be performing at a tournament. It focuses your mind on analysing and improving your own karate by a certain date. Furthermore, doing your kata and sparring with an audience is excellent training for future gradings.
  • Instruct – As a GKR student, you’ve probably passed on your knowledge to others in the dojo at some point. Often this is during kata practise, or partner work. However, helping out formally, as a Sempai or a Sensei, is a great way of reinforcing your karate understanding. There are few things that test your kata knowledge better than teaching it to a room full of students. There will almost always be a question that you hadn’t thought of before, that will require further investigation. In addition, instructing has a host of benefits beyond your own karate, including the pleasure of seeing students improve their own karate.
  • Online Academy – Did you know GKR launched an Online Karate & Fitness Academy this year? This gives existing students a perfect opportunity to try a new class with a new Sensei, from the comfort of their home. Eliminating any issues that may arise with extra travel to an additional dojo. There are scheduled live streamed classes available as well as on-demand content which can be viewed at any time. You can join the Online Academy for as little as $5 a week or £10 per month! For more information or to upgrade your existing membership – Click Here


Expanding your karate horizons will improve not just your karate, but also your confidence, mindset and resilience. If you want to push your boundaries, then make a plan now. Don’t wait until the last minute to get involved in a seminar or a competition. Save the date in your diary and get it booked in advance. There’s a great big GKR world out there to experience.

Mike Norton – Senior Instructor, Region 26 UK


Why GKR Karate?

GKR creates the right environment for our members to train in. Although we promote self defence and fitness, our style also fosters positive values, confidence, discipline, focus and well being. GKR teaches you not only how to punch and kick, it teaches you to be a better person.

We encourage students of all ages, from all walks of life to join our club and be part of the supportive ‘family’ that is GKR Karate.

  • Self Defence
  • Weight Loss
  • Focus
  • Family
  • Respect
  • Friendships

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