Grading & Belt System
The Belt System
A belt system is used to show the progress of each student and to motivate the students to develop their skills further. Same as any progressive exam system, the higher the grade the tougher the exam. However by progressing through dedication, determination, hard training and focus, the students should be ready for such challenge when the time comes. Students are encouraged but will never be forced to go for their grading. They will have to show their confidence, ability and commitment by attending sufficient numbers of lessons.
Grade and Belt order
Junior (Under age 16)
10th Kyu Blue belt > 9th Kyu Red belt > 8th Kyu Orange belt > 7th Kyu Intermediate Orange with Yellow Stripe > 7th Kyu Yellow belt> 6th Kyu Intermediate Yellow with Green Stripe > 6th Kyu Green belt > 5th Kyu Intermediate Green & Blue > 5th Kyu Purple belt > 4th Kyu Intermediate Purple with One White Stripe > 4th Kyu Purple with Two White Stripes > 3rd Kyu Intermediate Blue & Brown > 3rd Kyu Brown belt > 2nd Kyu Intermediate Brown with One White Stripe > 2nd Kyu Brown with Two White Stripes > 1st Kyu Intermediate Brown with One Red Stripe > 1st Kyu Brown with Two Red Stripes > Black Intermediate Brown with Black Stripe > SHODAN 1st Dan BLACK
Senior (Age 16+)
10th Kyu Blue belt > 9th Kyu Red belt > 8th Kyu Orange belt > 7th Kyu Yellow belt > 6th Kyu Green belt > 5th Kyu Purple belt > 4th Kyu Purple with Two White Stripes > 3rd Kyu Brown belt > 2nd Kyu Intermediate Brown with One White Stripe > 2nd Kyu Brown with Two White Stripes > 1st Kyu Intermediate Brown with One Red Stripe > 1st Kyu Brown with Two Red Stripes > Black Intermediate Brown with Black Stripe > SHODAN 1st Dan BLACK
All Brown Belts 3rd Kyu & above must train regularly at the Brown & Black Belt class if they wish to grade.
All students have to be a 1st kyu for a minimum of six months before they can be considered for Black Intermediate. Same applies to Black Intermediate i.e. all students have to be a Black Intermediate for a minimum of six months before they can be considered for Black Belt 1st Dan.
When attempting Black Intermediate and Black Belt, students must obtain permission from their Chief Instructor prior to submitting their grading application forms.
JKSK grading examinations are held on average every three months. There is no obligation to attempt a grading; only if the students feel they are ready. If in any doubt they should speak to their sensei for advice.
Grading examinations are a source of finding out the progress of the students. The three disciplines, more often refer to as the 3 K's of shotokan karate are the main elements of each grading. The students will be asked by the examiner(s) to perform their required techniques within the given syllabus. The 3 K's are Kihon (basic techniques), Kumite (sparring) and Kata (form).
The examiner(s) will ask the students to perform a set of core techniques. The examiner(s) will observe and ensure they are done correctly.
The examiner(s) will ask the students to pair up and they will have to perform pre-arranged sets of attack and defence and counter attack. For the higher grades it involves semi-free sparring.
Kata (Form or Pattern):
The examiner(s) will ask the students to perform the required series of movements, demonstrating the attack and defence against imaginary opponent(s).
Spirit (seishin): All students must perform all their tasks with full spirit and the kiai (spiritual shout) is loud and strong.
After many years of dedication, commitment and hard work, passing your Black Belt 1st Dan is a very special day. In term of belt it is the last belt that you'll ever need to buy. This will be the only belt you'll always wear for the rest of your karate journey.
Traditionally and by trend and popularity, newly graded Shodan normally treat themselves a silk/satin black belt as a well deserved reward. Silk/satin belt has the advantage of softer feel and a strong link to the Orient.
Most dan grades have their belts embroidered in Kanji (Shotokan Karate-do) on one side and their name in Katakana on the other side. We the JKSK prefer the embroidery colour in yellow gold or silver.
Cost of a silk/satin belt ranging from £25 to £80 including your required embroidery. Advice is to save up your money and buy a decent one since you will always wear that same belt for decades to come! You get exactly what you paid for. If in doubt it's better to ask your Sensei for advice. Popular decent brands are Shureido, Tokaido, Hirota and Kamae.