What is a grading system?
Most martial arts have some form of grading system to demarcate the capacity of practioners and in Karate the system follows the Kyu/Dan system pioneered in Judo whereby Kyu grades wear coloured belts and dan grades wear black belts. Different styles of Karate have different numbers of Kyu and Dan grades, but in the Karate do Shotokai organisation the grades awarded are as follows:
6th Kyu - red belt
5th Kyu - yellow belt
4th Kyu - orange belt
3rd Kyu - green belt
2nd Kyu - blue belt
1st Kyu - brown belt
1st - 5th Dan - black belt
How often do you hold gradings?
Gradings are usually held twice a year, normally in May and December. Club members are generally invited to grade at the discretion of the instructor, though there is no compulsion to grade and all members usually attend the grading to practice regardless of whether or not they intend to grade.
What happens in a grading?
Grading sessions generally resemble normal training sessions, with emphasis on both Kata (forms) and Kumite (sparring), though the amount of instruction during a grading session is minimal.
How long will it take me to get to black belt?
A very good question. Again this varies between organisations and styles, within the Karate do Shotokai organisation, it holds a very high standard of technical level and because of this black belt grades are only awarded by the national technical executive committee when an individual has shown outstanding level and ability usually over the course of a number of years of dedicated practice. The technical executive committee is overseen by our Chief and Prinicipal Instructor Mitsusuke Harada Sensei, MBE.