BELT RANKING AND GRADING SUBJECTS
The belt ranking colours and subjects as well as time between testing varies with different styles and clubs in karate. Karate as a whole is not unified under one system like Judo so a rank in one style is not necessarily recognized in an other style. Belt ranking is rather new to karate, being borrowed from Judo. Master Miyagi actually never gave out belt rankings and no one ever received a black belt from him. As karate became more popular, being taught in schools and universities, the belt ranking system made it easier to tell apart different levels of expertise.
Most karate schools do however follow the same principle of ten levels of kyu (student) rank and ten levels of dan (black belt rank). Some clubs have a different colour for each kyu rank, some use stripes on different coloured belts. At black belt level some schools use stripes on black belts to denote different dan rankings. Some also have checkerd red and white belts for senior black belts usually starting at sixth or seventh dan. The highest level is sometimes a solid red belt for the master of the style.
In Shorei-Kan Karate the kyu ranks have three colours of belts starting with white going to green and then brown. Stripes are sown on the belts for rankings in between the colours. Once black belt is achieved there is no dan ranking on the belt. Shorei-Kan black belts have Japanese calligraphy embroidered on their belts. On one side is their name and on the other is usually Shorei-Kan Goju Ryu and the Dojo.