Even the western world has recognized the value of martial arts both in self-defense and in physical fitness. Martial arts have been introduced in the United States in the mid 1940s when the first martial arts school in the country was opened in Phoenix, Arizona. It was in the 1950s when tournaments and karate associations were established. Karate was propelled to popularity with the rise of the martial arts genre in American film dom. One of the most popular movies about karate is the "Karate Kid" series which featured an American teenager who succeeded in learning the art of karate under the tutellage of an Okinawan karate master. Among the movie stars that are famous for their karate moves include Dolph Lungren, Cynthia Luster, and Wesley Snipes.
You too can learn karate and train with karate masters. There will most likely be a karate school at your locality. You have to be careful, though, in choosing a school that is true to the teachings and philosophy of the art of karate. There are some small karate schools that are not well-maintained and do not really teach karate right. Among the first things that you will notice about bad karate schools is their premises. In all likelihood, their premises will not be well-maintained. Good karate schools have rooms called "dojo" that are clean, although not necessarily spotless. Those who have respect for the art of karate have enough sense in them to keep the environment where they train clean and well-maintained. You will also notice that bad karate schools would have pictures of celebrities and other posters that boast of how good their training is.
The best endorser for a karate school is the instructor himself. Talk to the instructor about the particular styles and values they teach in the karate school. Ask also to observe their students. You will notice that good karate schools have happy and respectful students instead of a gang of burly, blood-thirsty students who look like they are about to take their lessons out on the street. A sense of reverence towards their teacher would show how much students of good karate schools value their karate training. This would indicate that their teacher possesses the capability and the effectiveness in imparting the values of true martial arts to his students. A teacher with a sense of history is also one who can effectively inspire his students. Sharing his story on how he himself trained as well as some valuable information about the place where karate originated from and about the place where they teach could give another dimension to the learning of karate. Perhaps one of the greatest indicators of the quality of a karate school is the way the teacher commands his students. A quiet and commanding presence in a teacher would show that he is respected by his students for his expertise and wisdom.