The internet can be a great tool for learning. We now have over 30 videos on our YouTube channel that students can use to improve their one steps and kata. Everybody look them over and practice at home so we can be sharp for Belt Exams on December 10th. If you want to advance, but can not be present for the Exams on December 10th, please let Sensei Dula know ahead of time so that he can make arrangements.
We’ve all been working hard and now is the time to combine our knowledge and our action to move up a belt level.
- What do you need to know to advance?
- one steps or Ippon.
- anatomy: what muscles do you use for each move in Karate.
- the history and genealogy of Shotokan Karate.
- Fighting single and multiple attackers
- How do you learn what you don’t know?
- Find someone who does know, ask them to teach you, watch and learn.
In Japanese Karate, students sometimes remain a white belt until they earn their black belt. This shows the old humility and tough work that the Japanese people have in Karate. When a student first earns their black belt, they are called “First dan.” That means “first step.” So, after years of hard training and learning, a student with a first degree black belt is just making their first step. As Karate branched out in the USA, Senseis have developed ranking systems that worked for their students and their schools. Really, while none of us are as historically significant as Funakoshi and his contemporaries, even Gichin Funakoshi had to choose a ranking system to help mark his students’ progress. Funakoshi is said to have chosen the ranking system of Judo,
In 1924 Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan Karate, adopted the Dan system from the judo founder Jigoro Kano using a rank scheme with a limited set of belt colors. Other Okinawan teachers also adopted this practice. In the Kyū/Dan system the beginner grades start with a higher numbered kyū (e.g., 10th Kyū or Jukyū) and progress toward a lower numbered kyū. The Dan progression continues from 1st Dan (Shodan, or ‘beginning dan’) to the higher dan grades. Kyū-grade karateka are referred to as “color belt” or mudansha (“ones without dan/rank”). Dan-grade karateka are referred to as yudansha (holders of dan/rank). Yudansha typically wear a black belt. Normally, the first five to six dans are given by examination by superior dan holders, while the subsequent (7 and up) are honorary, given for special merits and/or age reached. Requirements of rank differ among styles, organizations, and schools. Kyū ranks stress stance, balance, and coordination. Speed and power are added at higher grades.
Notice how the beginner starts at the tenth Kyu? This varies from one style of Martial Arts to another, but the concept used in some Shotokan dojos is that a student starts at 10th kyu and works their way down to Zero or Rei, the Japanese concept for gratitude and etiquette.