Grading System

In karate the different colours of belt are used to show rank, experience and seniority. At Tigers we recomend that a student participate in approximately twenty lessons, over the course of at least three months, before taking their next grading. Although to obtain 2nd Kyu we suggest six months, then a further nine months in order to gain 1st Kyu. To achieve 1st Dan we suggest you spend a year preparing, then for 2nd Dan two years, and so on following the same pattern up until 10th Dan, for which theoretically ten years of training should be adequete.

10th Kyu Blue Belt Blue Belt
9th Kyu Orange Belt Orange Belt
8th Kyu Red Belt Red Belt
7th Kyu Yellow Belt Yellow Belt
6th Kyu Green Belt Green Belt
5th Kyu Purple Belt Purple Belt
4th Kyu Purple & White Belt Purple & White Belt
3rd Kyu Brown Belt Brown Belt
2nd Kyu Brown & White Belt Brown & White Belt
1st Kyu Brown & 2 White Stripes Belt Brown & 2 White Belt
1st Dan Black Belt Shodan Black Belt
2nd Dan Black Belt Nidan Black Belt
3rd Dan Black Belt Sandan Black Belt

After 3rd Dan, practical gradings are no longer required, because traditionally from shodan to sandan a karateka masters their physical ability within the martial art, and then when they achieve their sandan grade they are deemed capable of independently teaching and are often then refered to as sensei. At godan level a sensei is then considered a master of karate, and from then onward grades are awarded based on services to karate such as refereeing competitions and teaching lessons.

These great videos, featuring Soon Pretorius and provided by the KarateEmptyHand Youtube channel, are a great resource for every karateka but do not replace weekly training. They can teach you the steps and are easy to follow. In order to find a particular kata click "Play All" and then the playlist button in the top left of the Youtube player.

There are five shotokan karate kumite which we, as a club, practise and perform at gradings. Below is a table detailing the grade at which you require each kumite to obtain. When taking a grading to get the grade shown you will be required to perform the kumite, but you may also be asked to demonstate any of the kumites that you should know from previous exams. In addition as you progress toward black belt you must build upon the kumite you already know, for example learning the right-hand defense aswell as the left-hand. To find out more consult your syllabus or sensei.

8th Kyu Red Belt Kihon Kumite
7th Kyu Yellow Belt Gohon Kumite
6th Kyu Green Belt Sanbon Kumite
5th Kyu Purple Belt Kihon Ippon Kumite
3rd Kyu Brown Belt Jiju Ippon Kumite

Also to obtain your 6th Kyu, you will be required to demonstrate your free-sparing ability with a short period of controlled fighting with a partner.

General Terms

Japanese English
Dojo Training hall
Dojo kun Dojo code
Sensei Teacher/Instructor
Rei Bow
Yoi Ready
Hajime Start/Begin
Yame Stop/Finish
Mawatte Turn
Migi Right
Hidari Right
Gi Karate outfit
Obi Belt
Kiai Karate shout
Zanshin Awareness
Jodan Upper level (head)
Chudan Middle level (midrift)
Gedan Lower level (groin)

Dachi - Stances

Japanese English
Zenkutsu dachi Front stance
Kokutsu dachi Back stance
Kiba dachi Straddle stance
Nekoashi dachi Cat stance
Sochin/Fudo dachi Rooted stance
Hangetsu dachi Halfmoon stance

Uke - Blocks

Japanese English
Age uke Rising block
Soto uke Outside block
Uchi uke Inside block
Shuto uke Knife hand block
Gedan barai Lower block

Tsuki - Punches

Japanese English
Choku tsuki Straight punch
Oi tsuki Lunging punch
Kizami tsuki Front hand punch
Gyaku tsuki Reverse punch
Nihon tsuki Double punch
Sandon tsuki Triple punch

Uchi - Strikes

Japanese English
Yoko empi uchi Side elbow strike
Mawashi empi uchi Round elbow strike
Ushiro empi uchi Back elbow strike
Tate empi uchi Down elbow strike
Shoto uchi Knife hand strike
Haito uchi Ridge hand strike
Uraken uchi Back fist strike
Tetsui uchi Hammer fist strike
Nukite Spear hand strike
Teisho uchi Palm heel strike

Geri - Kicks

Japanese English
Mae geri Front kick
Mawashi geri Roundhouse kick
Yoko geri kekomi Side thrust kick
Yoko geri keage Side snap kick
Ushiro geri Back kick
Mikazuki geri Crescent kick


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