Ellis County Martial Arts

What is karate?

Karate is a Japanese word which means “empty hand”.  While originally used to describe the art founded by Gichin Funakoshi, it is now generically used to describe martial arts styles that primarily use kicks and strikes.  Some karate schools also teach joint locks and traditional weapons as part of their curriculum.

In times past, tae kwon do had been referred to as “Korean karate” and kung fu as “Chinese karate”.

What kind of karate do you teach at Ellis County Martial Arts?

We teach San Sai Ryu karate. San Sai Ryu is based largely on kenjutsu, the art of the Japanese sword, but also includes karate, kung fu, jujitsu, and aikijutsu among others.  The thread that ties all of these arts together is the application of strategy.

Our curriculum has a distinct kenpo influence.  Kenpo is the Japanese translation of the Chinese art chu’an fa or chu’an shu, better known to westerners as “kung fu”.  Kenpo emphasizes speed, uses linear and circular motions, and employs intermittent power where needed.  This blend of motion makes kenpo adaptable to students of all ages and abilities.  It does not require great strength, high kicking, or acrobatic maneuvers.

We do not teach MMA or mixed martial arts, as it is commonly viewed by the public.  However, you will see influences of karate, kenpo, jujitsu, kenjutsu/aikijutsu, and Filipino martial arts in our adult curriculum.

How are your classes scheduled?

We have separate curricula adapted by age groups.  “Karate Kids” is for children ages 7-12 (6 year olds may be considered on an individual basis), and our Adult Class is for students ages 13 and above.

Our Karate Kids class is further divided by experience into three phases: Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced students.  By scheduling these classes into phases, students are able to learn faster - and better - than in one large class.  Class times vary, but each phase is offered several times per week, Monday through Thursday. (see our "Training" page for complete schedule).

Our Adult class includes students of all ranks.  New students are welcomed by advanced students and black belt instructors, who assist them in learning new moves and techniques in every class.  Adult classes are scheduled four nights each week, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  Adult students choose whichever nights work best for their schedule, and can change those nights as necessary.

 All curricula consist of basic moves, kata (memorized patterns), and self defense techniques.  Each curriculum is designed to meet the needs of its specific age group.

What is a typical class like?

Each class begins and ends with discipline, courtesy, and respect.  A typical class will consist of warm up drills with karate basics (not calisthenics!), reflex drills, and bag work.  Solo exercise consists of kata, memorized patterns reflecting class basics that can be practiced at home.  

Partner exercise for learning self defense is part of every class; intermediate and advanced students also practice controlled sparring to learn to judge distance and timing.  

Kids classes may include “games” with a purpose, such as learning balance, timing, or focus.  We believe that kids can have fun and learn at the same time!

​How large are your classes?

Class sizes can vary with new students enrolling, and students being promoted into more advanced classes.  Our typical kids classes average 10-12 kids per class, with 2 adult  instructors per class.  They are often assisted by Junior Leaders, advanced karate kids who volunteer to help with new students.  Junior Leaders typically have about 3 years minimum training themselves, and most of them are Junior Black Belts.

With our flexible schedule, adult classes will vary from night to night, but again the average is about 10-12 students per class.

What is the youngest age my child can start karate?

Generally we like to start kids no younger than 7 years old, but we may allow 6 year old students who demonstrate adequate attention span and focus.  Please contact Mr. Ray if you would like to discuss this possibility further.

Am I too old or out of shape to start karate?

Most often, the answer is “no, you are not too old or out of shape” to start learning karate at Ellis County Martial Arts.  Youth and fitness are helpful, but desire and determination are far more important qualities.  Our adult curriculum does not require great flexibility, great strength, or acrobatic moves; instead it emphasizes knowledge of how and where to strike, defensive positioning, and continuity of motion (one move flows into the next).

How does someone get started in your classes?

Unless you or your child has previous martial arts experience, we encourage you to take advantage of our introductory Trial Membership special of $99.00 per person, which includes 4 weeks of classes (2 classes per week) – for more details, please call (972) 937-5353 or email us: 

If you have verifiable experience in an acknowledged style of martial art, you are welcome to attend a class as our guest.  Some restrictions apply; please contact sensei (chief instructor) for more details.

How should I address the instructors in class?

Traditional respect is an important part of classes at Ellis County Martial Arts.  All yudansha (students awarded first degree black belt and above) should be addressed by Mr., Mrs., Miss and last name – Mr. Jones, Mrs. Moore, etc.  In order to avoid confusion that we are teaching martial arts as a sport, we prefer not to be addressed as "coach".

Students may address the chief instructor as Mr. Ray, Sir, or Sensei. 

How much does it cost for your classes?

This may vary, depending on the type of classes and your level of commitment.  We pride ourselves in offering superior service - we are currently offering options that are comparable to our local competitors, plus NO testing fees, NO tournament requirements, and discounted or FREE* equipment upon renewals!
(*restrictions apply)

Do you have extra fees, such as setup/administrative fees, testing/belt fees, or association fees?

No. Plain and simple.  There are no other fees besides the tuition for classes.  While students will need specific equipment for training at intermediate and advanced levels, there are no additional fees.  Ever.

Do you offer after-school/pickup services?

We do not; in many cases, an after-school program requires a daycare license from the state, or in the least case, an exemption.  Operating a weekly martial arts after-school/pickup program without a license or an exemption, is illegal.