Ranks and Promotion
The modern ranking system in karate is based on the traditional progression from white to black. In our Dojo, a student would advance through four belt colors (white, green, purple, and brown) before achieving a "probationary" black belt (Shodan Ho). Up to three - but no less than one - stripes are awarded to transition from one color to the next one. After a 1-year probation period, a Shodan Ho can receive a first-degree black belt (Shodan). A black belt can have up to 10 degrees (Dan)
In our dojo, promotions are usually given twice a year, one at the end of each semester. (Here you can find a sample of our promotion requirements.) We believe that a test is not merely physical, but rather a combination of the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of our art. The test is meant to be a learning aid to teach the student how to perform under pressure, as well as to help the student clarify techniques in his/her own mind. A student's attitude, spirit, desire, drive, comprehension, as well as his/her physical performance all go into the requirements for rank.
Nevertheless, students should not get distracted by the ranking system. Rank merely denotes the curriculum that a student is working on, and does not specifically show the quality of the student. A student who is over concerned with rank is missing the point of the martial arts training.