My karate club is normally held in a school gym. I think this is an ideal place to practice karate - it's spacious but not too big; it has nice smooth wooden flooring which is kept pretty clean; it has good lighting and doesn't get too hot. In summer we can fling open the two sets of fire escape doors to let the breeze in. It makes the perfect dojo.
Occasionally we have to train in the adjacent sports hall. I don't like it in there so much - it's too big for the size of the class, the ceiling is too high and the sound echos a bit, but it's okay.
For the last fortnight the school has required the gym to display A level Art students work so we have been accommodated in either the dining room or the performance studio. The performance studio is okay but it's a little small for the class and has a completely mirrored wall which is a bit disconcerting. I find it disorientating to watch myself in the mirror, I end up turning the wrong way or using the wrong arm. The floor is very smooth but more highly polished than the gym and so can be a bit slippery sometimes.
The dining room was just about passable as a training space. All the tables had been cleared to the side but space was still a bit tight. The dining room is in the basement and so has lots of supporting pillars dotted around. More than once I turned during a kata to find myself virtually nose up to a pillar! The floor was the main problem though. It was so dirty you had to keep brushing the bits of your feet - which we identified as chocolate cake crumbs! It was so bad that sensei advised us to wear trainers this week. It was a novel experience for me to train wearing shoes - my feet felt like lead weights and you just can't do cat stance properly in shoes!
They say you can practice karate anywhere - you don't need much space and you don't need a partner for much of it. This is true BUT... doesn't it make a difference having a nice dojo to train in. Can't wait to get back into the gym!
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