In the early 1900s when Karate started to spread from Okinawa to Japan, and then to the rest of the world. A system of belts of different colors began, to distinguish between students with different skills and training time. The system was first adopted in Judo.

Different styles of karate use different colors in different orders. However, the first belt is usually white, leading up to black in all styles.

The system is based on degrees before reaching the black belt. These are usually divided into 10 kyu's. A new student begins on the 10th kyu and may eventually upgrade to a lower kyu. Kyu grades are divided into belts with different colors and markings with strips.

Once trained and graduated to 1st Kyu, black belt follows. The different levels of black belts are called dan. The first level of the black belt is 1st dan (Shodan)

All dan grades are represented by a black belt. In some styles, however, the holder of some of the higher Dan-ranks, have the wright to wear belts that have other colors than black, for example Red / White.

What is required for each grade varies from style to style, and between different schools. In Japan, for example, the black belt is considered not to be the end but rather the beginning of a student's learning karate, and each kyu grade before black symbolizes the time left until graduation (ie black belt).

In the West the black belt improperly received, becomes the symbol of the end, the highest level.

Guidelines for grading at our club

We normally have a grading opportunity at the end of each semester. To upgrade, you should have trained regularly and have at least 75% attendance that term. At graduation you will have the opportunity to show a sample of what you learned; Basic techniques, Kata and after yellow belt, kumite. After green belt it is expected to be able to demonstrate Bunkai, applications from the Pinan katas.

For detailed instructions of what you should master for your next level, ask Shihan.