New Students

Jumping into a martial arts class can be intimidating and confusing for the new student and disruptive to the class. That’s why we ask new karate students to set up an appointment so we can go through an orientation before attending the first class. In the orientation, we will cover all the expectations of the instructor, school and fellow students. We will also cover any questions and complete the beginner paperwork. This orientation can be before class or scheduled at another convenient time.

What to expect during the first karate class:



Meditation and Rei

All our karate-do classes begin with bowing and meditation. This time is spent relaxing, controlling you respiration and clearing your mind. Sei-za

Stretching and Conditioning

Before every workout we spend time stretching and engaging in conditioning drills to prepare your body to preform the skills you will be taught. Conditioning will consist of many different exercises including but not limited to: sit-up’s, push-ups, leg lifts, isometrics, stance work, running, jumping rope, working the heavy bag and mat work. These activities can be done in a group, with a partner or individually. This portion of class builds the body and prepares the mind for martial arts training.


During this portion of class students will cover different aspects of martial arts training including but not limited to: kata, kumite, self-defense and combinations of skills up and down the floor. During the instruction part of class you will be taught skills appropriate to your skill, ability and experience level.

Discussion and Rei

During this part of class we discuss the events of the class, give announcements, discuss future events and bow out of class.


It helps for the new student to understand that martial arts is a unique and structured study. It takes a distinct level of commitment and drive to succeed. Attendance is a must and the student must be ready and eager to learn.

Our adult and child classes are very similar in their basic structure. For many reasons the children's class is a little shorter in duration and some of the in-class activities are different. In the end, all the students learn the same information.



We welcome people of all ages, skill and ability levels. Our family friendly atmosphere allows all the members of your family to feel welcome and comfortable in our dojo.

The benefits of training at the Eastern Maine School of Self-Defense are extensive. In our classes you will improve your flexibility, strength, balance, coordination and mental focus; not to mention, you will be learning a true art and how to defend yourself. Martial arts training is the only exercise that will give you all the benefits mentioned in one package.

"My children have been attending Eastern Maine School of Self Defense since October 2003 and thoroughly enjoy it. It has helped build self confidence and discipline and it provides a wonderful opportunity for us, as homeschoolers, to meet our physical education requirements. I would highly recommend it to adults and children." -Amy Fletcher

All schools are unique. The Eastern Maine School of Self-Defense offers: Traditional martial arts training, extended class times, a very large and inviting training area, instruction from experienced instructors, a family friendly atmosphere and a great workout.

To begin your study of martial arts here at the Eastern Maine School of Self-Defense, all you need is a desire to learn and the commitment to train. Becoming a member is very easy, contact us via our email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call the school (207-990-9330) and we will set you up for a brief orientation.

All classes are open to new and perspective students.

Many people ask

Q: "What should I wear on my first few classes?"

A: Sweat pants a t-shirt and no shoes, we don't expect you to own a Gi for your first few classes. If you want a Gi we most likely have one in stock and you can get it at your orientation.

Q: "How long will it take me to earn a black belt?"

A: We do not guarantee your achievement of any rank especially a black belt. Any achievement in our school is solely dependent on your ability, commitment to train, attitude, and how you understand and apply the skills taught. We do guarantee our commitment to teach, the quality of the skills and the opportunity for you to learn.

Q: Do you offer special classes to help you students achieve?

A: We offer additional training to ALL our students (one on one instruction). Most of these trainings are offered as part of the students membership. We do not have classes/clubs to main stream students to become black belts.

Q: "What is the youngest and oldest student you teach?"

A: The youngest is 4 we have no limit on age after that.

Q: "Do I need to sign a contract and pay for my classes in advance?"

A: No contract. We do offer options for students to pay or sign-up for classes for months at a time, with doing so, discounts are offered.  When paying or agreeing to pay in advance, the student must agree to pay for the term signed up for in the agreement.  Students can pay for classes in 1, 3, 6, 9, or 12 month increments.

Q: " As a new student, am I expected to perform the skills intermediate or advanced students perform?"

A: No each and every student works at their own ability level. Students are pushed to improve their skills but are not compared to other students.

Q: "How long has the Eastern Maine School of Self-defense been in existence?"

A: Although Sensei Barker had been teaching for some time, the school name was established by Sensei Bruce Barker in 1976. Some of the first classes were in Bangor and Millinockett. In the early 80's, Sensei Barkers first black belt student ( James Campbell ) began teaching karate in Old Town. This is were Glen Kennedy started training.

Q: "I have been studying martial arts for some time, will my belt transfer to your school?"

A: If you have been studying Shotokan Karate-do the short answer is YES. If you have been studying a different style of martial arts, NO. This doesn't mean your past work is for not. All knowledge is of use and may help you achieve knowledge at our school faster.

Q: "How much is belt testing?"

A: All in dojo testing is free. We apply no fees to the test. You already paid for the lessons. If you have the skills, attendance and proper attitude you should pass. The only fee attached is the cost of the actual belt $10.

Belts are an outward sign of achievement, not a goal. Knowledge and ability is the goal.