Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is Clarke County Yoshukai Karate?
    • Clarke County Yoshukai (CCY) is a branch of the World Yoshukai Karate Kobudo Organization taught by Sensei Sherrie Hines. It is closely associated with its sister school - Athens Yoshukai - taught by Sensei Hali Serrian. CCY exists to provide free, quality martial arts training to the Athens community.
  • Are classes really free?
    • Yes! There's no charge for you to attend classes for as long as you want. The only costs associated with training at CCY are membership fees and testing fees which are mandated by WYKKO and students' personal equipment (e.g. uniforms, mouth guards, weapons, etc.). Students are encouraged to try CCY for a number of weeks before deciding if they want to purchase a uniform and continue their training.
    • For students who are unable to afford the cost of their supplies and the WYKKO fees, assistance is available. Please contact Sensei Hines for further information.
  • Why do you teach for free?
    • There are a number of reasons why I've decided to offer class for free: 
      • I had never really thought about studying martial arts myself until a close friend of mine began offering free Yoshukai classes. Of course, that good friend is now my Sensei, Dr. Erik Hofmeister. He explained to me that he felt that martial arts instruction is a basic life skill and, like academic knowledge, should not be charged for, as the student's improvement is of value to society as a whole. I thought that was a novel idea, and I began studying with him. I don't think I ever would have begun studying martial arts if it wasn't for him and the free opportunity he gave me to practice with him and learn his skills. I suppose you could say that I'm simply paying it forward. But more than that, I agree with his teaching philosophy, and I can't imagine what my life would be like now had I not begun training with Sensei Hofmeister. I'm happy and feel privileged to extend that same opportunity to anyone else who should choose to take advantage of it.
      • The traditional martial arts education system was not based on fee-for-service, but was rather apprenticeship based. Both Sensei Hofmeister and I feel that this stays more true to the spirit of martial arts. It also creates a situation where both students and teacher are there for the love of the art, not out of any sort of financial or contractual obligation.
      • Finally, some people would make excellent students and martial artists but cannot afford commercial training. CCY provides training opportunities for such individuals.
  • Do you offer classes for young children?
    • Unfortunately, we generally do not. CCY only offers classes to individuals 13 years of age or older, with few exceptions. This ensures a more mature training environment for young adults and adult students alike. Because of the serious nature of martial arts training, including the use of weapons at higher ranks, a mature environment is necessary to ensure the quality of training and the safety of all students involved. Sensei Hines recommends AKF Athens Martial Arts if you are looking for a a child-friendly dojo. Sensei Blumreich, who teaches at AKF Athens, has many years of experience training children of all ages. Sensei Hines may make exceptions for children who show a particular interest and maturity level who are not yet 13 on a case-by-case basis. However, an unruly child (or adult!) of any age will not be allowed to participate.
  • What should I wear to class?
    • Sensei Hines recommends that you wear comfortable workout clothing, such as sweat pants and a t-shirt when you first come and try out CCY. If you enjoy a few classes, you can order a uniform through Sensei Hines. Shoes will not be worn in the dojo, so you don't need to worry about footwear.
  • What can I expect to learn while studying Yoshukai?
    • Yoshukai is a hard Okinawan karate-do style. We are approximately 60% offense, 40% defense. Our techniques concentrate on fighting from a distance and using head and killing strikes to end a fight quickly. We do some self defense and throwing as students advance through the ranks. We use the nunchaku, bo, sai, tonfa, and katana weapons at various ranks, starting at blue with the nunchaku. Yoshukai emphasizes achieving personal goals rather than forcing a student to perform to the standards of others. Spirit, enthusiasm, and interest are the key qualities in Yoshukai students.
  • How long does it take to advance in rank?
    • There are nine ranks before first degree blackbelt (Shodan) in Yoshukai karate. They are white belt (starting rank), yellow belt (two degrees), blue belt (two degrees), green belt (two degrees), and brown belt (two degrees). Testings before brown belt may occur every 3 months so that a student can be a 1st degree brown belt in 21 months. Brown belts must wait 6 months before testing, for a total minimum of 3 years from white belt to Shodan. Usually only very dedicated and energetic students make Shodan in 3 years. Most students take slightly longer, though if a student is willing, they will certainly be given the chance to become a blackbelt in 3 years. After Shodan, the minimum time is a number of years equal to the degree of blackbelt the student is training for (2 years for Nidan, 3 for Sandan, etc.), although this minimum is almost never achieved and most students take 3-6 years between blackbelt ranks.
  • How do I advance in rank?
    • To advance you'll need to attend class regularly and to learn all of the requirements for your next rank. Requirements vary by rank, and are listed on this site. Requirements typically include new katas (forms), new techniques (kicks, strikes, blocks, etc.), Ippon Kumite (one-step sparring), fighting combinations, board-breaking, fighting, and eventually weapons and self-defense. You'll also learn Japanese terminology as you move up in the ranks, and eventually advancement will require a written test as well. Sensei Hines will make sure you are ready and understand all rank requirements before you will be allowed to test, but you will need to practice at home!
  • I understand that the classes are free, but could you please explain the membership fees?
    • Good question! Classes are free, but there are membership fees and testing fees mandated by the WYKKO. The membership fee is a yearly fee of $50.00. Testing fees are $50 per test, plus the cost of your new belt (if you're getting one), and the cost of the boards that you break, which usually ends up costing an additional $5-10 or so. There will not be a testing fee for your introductory test from white belt to yellow-stripe. But you will be responsible for paying your $50.00 membership fee to the WYKKO, plus the cost of your new belt. Discounts are available for families and financial assistance is available for indigent persons. Please contact Sensei Hines if you have any further questions about the testing and membership fees. 
  • I'd like to purchase a uniform, sparring gear and/or weapons. How do I go about doing that?
    • If you contact Sensei Hines, she will be happy to order items for you from Tigerclaw. You are welcome to buy weapons and sparring gear on your own if you'd like at Academy Sports or other sellers. However, if you'd like anything with the Yoshukai design on it, you will have to order it from Sensei Hines. Given that uniforms must bear the Yoshukai patch and michi, they must be ordered through Sensei Hines. They cost approximately $20-$30.00 depending on the size of the uniform. Below is Tigerclaw's sizing charge for the Medium Weight Uniforms we use:
    • Uniform Size Chart 2
      Medium Weight UniformWeightHeight
      00045 lbs3'5"
      0060 lbs4'0"
      080 lbs4'5"
      1100 lbs4'9"
      2120 lbs5'2"
      3140 lbs5'6"
      4175 lbs5'9"
      5185 lbs6'0"
      6200 lbs6'4"
      7200+ lbs6'5"
  • How can I get in contact with Sensei Hines?
    • The best way to contact Sensei Hines is via email at or to simply talk to her before or after class.