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. Strips 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.

 

BELT COLOUR

RANK

ADULT SUBJECTS TO REACH NEXT RANK

CHILDRENS SUBJECTS TO REACH NEXT RANK

MINIMUM TIME BETWEEN TESTING

10th-kyu-belt

10th kyu

Fukyu Kata #1
Bunkai Fukyu Kata #1
Kumite Shodan

Fukyu Kata #1
Kumite Shodan

3 Months

9th-kyu-belt

9th kyu

Fukyu Kata #2
Bunkai Fukyu Kata #1
Kumite Nidan

Fukyu Kata #2
Bunkai Fukyu Kata #2

3 Months

8th-kyu-belt

8th kyu

Kata Geiksai #1
Bunkai Kata Geiksai #1
Kumite Nidan #2

Kata Geiksai #1
Bunkai Kata Geiksai #1
Kumite Nidan #1

3 Months

7th-kyu-belt

7th kyu

Kata Geiksai #2
Bunkai Kata Geiksai #2
Kumite Sandan
Kihon Bo #1 / Kumi Bo #1

Kata Geiksai #2
Bunkai Kata Geiksai #2
Kumite Sandan
Kihon Bo #1 / Kumi Bo #1

3 Months

6th-kyu-belt

6th kyu

Kata Geiksai #3 / Kata Sanchin
Bunkai Kata Geiksai #3
Kumite Yondan
Kata Bo Jytsu #1

Kata Geiksai #3 / Kata Sanchin
Bunkai Kata Geiksai #3
Kumite Yondan
Kata Bo Jytsu #1

6 Months

5th-kyu-belt

5th kyu

Kata Gekiaha #1 / Kata Saifa
Kata Sanchin /Bunkai Gekiaha #1
Kumite Godan
Rythem Bo #1 / Kihon Bo # 2

Kata Gekiaha #1
Kata Sanchin / Kata Saifa
Bunkai Gekiaha #1 / Kumite Godan
Rythem Bo #1 / Kihon Bo # 2

6 Months

4th-kyubelt

4th kyu

Complete review of all
previous subjects

Complete review of all
previous subjects

6 Months

3rd-kyu-belt

3rd kyu

Kata Gekiha #2
Kata Seyunchin / Kata Sanchin
Bunkai Gekiah #2 / Kumite Rukodan
Bo Jyutsu #2 / Rythem Bo #2

Kata Gekiha #2
Kata Seyunchin / Kata Sanchin
Bunkai Gekiah #2 / Kumite Rukodan
Bo Jyutsu #2 / Rythem Bo #2

6 Months

2nd-kyu-belt

2nd kyu

Kata Kakuha #1 / Kata Seisan
Kata Sanchin / Kata Tensho
Bunkai Kata Kakuha #1
Kumite nanadan

Kata Kakuha #1 / Kata Seisan
Kata Sanchin / Kata Tensho
Bunkai Kata Kakuha #1
Kumite nanadan

6 Months

1st-kyu-belt

1st kyu

Complete review of all
previous subjects and
Teaching Test

Complete review of all
previous subjects

By invitation after
one year minimum

black-belt

Shodan

Kata Seipai / Kata Kakuha #2

Kata Sanchin / Kata Tensho

Saifa Bunkai
Kumite Hachidan

Kata Seipai / Kata Kakuha #2
Kata Sanchin / Kata Tensho
Saifa Bunkai
Kumite Hachidan

2 Years

black-belt

Nidan

Hakutsuru / Shisochin / Sanchin
Tensho / Bunkai Seisan
Kumite kudan / Sai Kata #1
Bo kata Cho un no kun / Kaisai

Hakutsuru / Shisochin / Sanchin
Tensho / Bunkai Seisan
Kumite kudan / Sai Kata #1
Bo kata Cho un no kun / Kaisai

3 Years

black-belt

Sandan

Kata Sanseru
Kata Sanchin / Kata Tensho
Bunkai Kata Seisan
Kaisai
Seyuenchin bunkai

Upon reaching 18 years of age,
children will be tested for their
adult belt – ranking to be determined
by the Shihan

4 Years

black-belt

Yondan

Kata Kururunfa / Kata Suparinpei
Kata Sanchin / Kata Tensho
Bunkai Seisan / Kumite Judan
Kaisai all koriyu (Clsaaical) Kata

N/A

5 Years

black-belt

Godan

No further formal testing. Time
and contribution to karate is a determining factor

N/A

After Godan by
invitation from
Kaicho, Hombu dojo
Japan