How Do Folks Go Up in Rank (Belt Color) Within Karate?

The Quail Creek Dojo just held karate testing on Dec. 7 and 8. In martial arts, belt testing is the way we measure a student’s progress. Testing measures a student’s ability to learn and acquire new skills and abilities. The Quail Creek Dojo is an Asai Shotokan Association International school of karate. Beginning students start out wearing a white belt.

A karate belt test measures a student’s progress and ability at the Kyu rank they hold and proficiency at the next Kyu level. Sometimes a student may skip a Kyu level if they are performing well and meeting the skill level of the next Kyu level. The student must meet specific requirements for each Kyu level. Testing requires a student to demonstrate the required kata, or multiple katas, depending upon that Kyu level. Kata is a detailed, choreographed pattern of martial arts movements—a way to memorize and perfect movements and techniques. Kihon is the fundamental display of required moves with good form, and Kumite is sparring. Testing is an individual measurement of progress. When students pass a test, they receive their new belts and Kyu as a measure of their achievement.

These tests are very physical, and an instructor supervises the students and administers the test. The instructor decides if the student has mastered their current level and is ready to move forward. In Shotokan Karate the belt levels are White (9th Kyu), Yellow (8th Kyu), Orange (7th Kyu), Green (6th Kyu), Purple (5th Kyu and 4th Kyu), Brown (3rd Kyu, 2nd Kyu, and 1st Kyu), and Black. Once a student earns a black belt, testing continues. The highest rank a martial artist can achieve is a 9th-degree Black Belt under the Asai Shotokan Association International. Students may advance quickly, while others may remain at the same belt level for years. It depends upon individual ability and attending classes/workouts regularly. The process of testing is quite rigorous because promotion is an honor.

As with any test, the key to passing is preparation. It is also important that you do not create unnecessary anxiety or stress regarding the testing process. Testing is just a marker for your progress on your Black-Belt journey.

The following shows the results of the December testing: Shari Rodgers: Brown Belt 1st Kyu; Linda Blesch: Brown Belt 2nd Kyu; Larry Rowen: Purple Belt 4th Kyu; Rocco Colicchia: Purple Belt 5th Kyu; Tom Webber: Orange Belt 7th Kyu.

Remember, if you are interested in learning karate, we are here in Quail Creek and would love to have you join us. Anza Gym hosts karate classes on Monday and Tuesday from 4 to 6 p.m., Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and Friday from 2 to 4 p.m.