Club membership takes the form of an annual licence provided by the Western Karate Union, through the English Karate Federation (EKF) Licensing scheme. Licences are therefore valid for any EKF-affiliated club or EKF-sanctioned event. Students may not engage in contact activity without a current licence, and licences can be revoked in cases of persistent or severe indiscipline.
Students may not engage in sparring without at least approved hand pads. Fitted gumshields are also mandatory except in exceptional medical circumstances (e.g.brace-wearers) where dispensation is granted by the instructor in charge of the session. Students are expected to obtain this equipment once they are licensed. In competition kumite, they will also normally be required to wear shin and instep pads, which can usually be borrowed from other club members. At higher levels of competition, for advanced grades, there are requirements for chest guards. During training, kickpads and large hand pads will be used by experienced higher grades to allow students to practice striking real objects, as opposed to kicking or punching against air.
Training will occur in areas that are sometimes matted, and sometimes not. Students are not allowed to take each other down to the floor in unmatted areas, and while this may be allowed in matted areas, it may not be, and strict control will be maintained at all times. All training areas are subject to ongoing health and safety assessment by the instructor in charge of the session.
Contact to the head is not allowed during training. Controlled body contact is allowed, which must be light enough not to cause discomfort. Great emphasis is placed, in training, upon ensuring that students understand the correct level of contact in order to score in a competition bout. Students who are unable or unwilling to restrain their strikes to that level may be excluded from sparring, and in persistent cases may have their licences revoked. Takedowns are permitted only on matted floors, and may be restricted even in those circumstances.
All instructors are required, as a condition of their insurance (see below), to have first aid training to first responder level. The club encourages all students, at every level, to learn first aid, and the Western Karate Union provides free training to any affiliated student wishing to undertake it. No session may proceed without at least one trained first aider, and a properly maintained first aid kit, being present.
Students and instructors are required to wear the traditional two-piece white karategi and belt. Female students must wear a white t-shirt beneath their gi tops. Beginners who do not yet own a gi should wear loose-fitting full-length tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt. For other students, exceptions may be made in extremely warm weather, or training immediately before important events, where gis are being kept pristine for the event itself. In these circumstances, however, gi trousers must still be worn, and at least a t-shirt must be worn over the torso.
Each of our instructors has full individual public liability insurance, tailored specifically for martial arts instruction, organised through the Western Karate Union's private insurance policy. No session may take place without the presence of a fully insured instructor.
All instructors undergo Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) checks. The Western Karate Union additionally provides free safeguarding courses, available to any affiliated student, during which attendees are taught what kind of actions or events should trigger their concern, how they should approach each, and what their legal duties and requirements are in terms of reporting and communication, and their own conduct as adults in a position of trust.
Clevedon Karate Kai opposes, and will not tolerate, any form of discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, nationality, religion or culture. The only characteristic we require of our students is a genuine willingness to apply themselves to the study of karate, adhering to the culture of mutual respect that is the foundation of this club.