Karate is a striking art using punching, kicking, knee strikes, elbow strikes and open hand techniques such as knife-hands, spear-hands, and palm-heel strikes. In some styles, grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints, and vital point strikes are also taught.
A karate practitioner is called a karateka
This publication will give you a brief outline of the founding fathers of Karate. You will have a clearer understanding as to what to expect at the gymn.