Kyu & Dan Requirements
“The Black Belt – a dream for many, a reality for a few”
Karate is divided into two main grades or ranks which are called “Dan” and “Kyu” grades. The Dan grades are referred to as a degree or black belt. Kyu grades refer to as class or colored belts. The Dan grades rise upwards from 1st Dan to indicate the higher skill, but in kyu grades, it is the reverse; beginning at 10 kyu down to 1st, thus 1st kyu immediately precedes 1st Dan. All promotional exams are formal tests – clean, pressed white gis (uniforms) will be worn and all karate etiquette will be observed. Being a test, not all examinees automatically pass.
At Camarillo Shotokan Karate Do Center, everyone starts off as Ju Kyu or 10th Kyu (White Belt). In order to qualify to test for advancement in rank, a student must be in good standing with our dojo and have trained a minimum of 75% of classes since their last exam.
Ranks are earned at our school – not promised!
To insure quality in our youth students, our juniors (16 & below) may advance in half ranks (B) or full ranks (A), depending on one’s ability. One would typically test for their “B” rank first then their “A” rank at the next exam. Should one show much promise at their “B” test, it is at the discretion of the Board of Examiners to grant the examinee a chance to test for their “A” rank at the same exam. Adults test for the “A” rank only.
One’s rank is a measurement of competency and understanding in our school – it should not be compared to winning a trophy in competition. The higher in rank one becomes, the more confident, yet humble they should be!
10th Kyu – White Belt (Everyone Starts Here)
9th Kyu – Yellow Belt (Download .PDF)
8th Kyu – Orange Belt (Download .PDF)
7th Kyu – Blue Belt (Download .PDF)
This is the final belt in the “Beginners Level”. Further basic skills must be demonstrated and an improvement in skill level must be demonstrated at this time showing readiness for advancement into the Intermediate Level.
This is the introductory belt of the “Intermediate Level”. New requirements must be demonstrated and student should demonstrate a sense of control of their body at this level. With these new skills learned, they are now introduced to semi-free and free sparring. If not already, students may want to begin competing in tournaments at this level.
6th Kyu – Green Belt (Download .PDF)
5th Kyu – Purple/White Belt (Download .PDF)
4th Kyu – Purple Belt (Download .PDF)
This is the final belt in the “Intermediate Level”. Student should compete in Kumite and Kata contests. Student should become familiar with Japanese terminology and well versed in karate etiquette.
This is the beginning stage in the “Advance Level”. From this point forward, brown belt exams are held every 6-7 months. Student must seek outside experiences to further their development. Students must preform techniques with sharp, crisp precision coupled with immovable firm stances. They should have a conceptual understanding of the hard and soft elements of their movements through proper breathing. Student should be demonstrating good leadership skills and be exemplary to their kohais (juniors). From this level forward, the exam syllabus will be called out with Japanese terms.
3rd Kyu – Brown/White Belt (Download .PDF)
2nd Kyu – Brown Belt (Download .PDF)
1st Kyu – Brown/Black Belt (Download .PDF)
This the final “colored” belt prior to entering the Dan grades. All skills built and learned up to this point should be solidified at this level. Further, they should have a firm understanding of Japanese terminology, body control, execution of techniques and confidence to lead a class at this stage. Student must be a capable and willing to assist in teaching karate classes. Student must be of good moral character and exemplary to all.
1st Degree Black Belt (Pre-Test)
To insure quality, students must take a Sho Dan “pre-test” six months prior to their actual exam. A student may opt-out of the ‘pre-test’ after a minimum of 1 year of training after passing their 1st Kyu exam and upon approval of Chief Instructor. This exam shows the examinee their strengths and weaknesses in preparation for their “real” Sho Dan exam.
Sho Dan – 1st Degree Black Belt
This is the level where “real karate” begins. A written exam is taken. One should now have an understanding of the fundamental basics and workings of Shotokan Karate. They know all the basic five Heian katas; three Tekki katas; have a command of their tokui (favorite) kata; can demonstrate all Kihon (basic) techniques and hold their own in Kumite (sparring). They are able to help any student rise up to their level. This is where an artist transcends from mere “copying” to “creating” art on an empty canvas.
Advanced Dan Ranks
To qualify for advance Dan ranks, one must train consistently the number of years for the rank they’re testing for.
2nd Dan, 2 years as a 1st Dan
3rd Dan, 3 years as a 2nd Dan
4th Dan, 4 years as a 3rd Dan, etc.