Belt colours and ranking structure in Karate Karate Myint Kywe

Belt colours and ranking structure in Karate
Karate Myint Kywe

In Karate martial arts, the BLACK BELT (黒帯) is a way to describe a graduate of a field where a practitioner's level is often marked by the color of the belt. The black belt is commonly the highest belt color used and denotes a degree of competence.  The DAN () ranking system is used by many Japanese organizations to indicate the level of one's ability (expertise) within a certain subject matter. It is now also used in modern fine arts and martial arts. Many Japanese karate schools, after obtaining a black belt the student also begins to instruct, and may be referred to as a senpai (senior student and assistant teacher) or sensei (teacher).

DAN is often used together with the word KYU () in certain ranking systems, with dan being used for the higher ranks and kyu being used for lower ranks. Karate students grades are called Kyu and Dan grades. Kyu means class/step and the Kyu grades are all coloured belts. Dan means degree/grade and the Dan grades are black belts. 

The color of a Karate players belt indicates rank and in theory, ability. Each step forward represents a further accumulation of skills and knowledge.  

Karate belts are used to indicate when a student has been promoted to the next level.
Improved Karate technique and deeper knowledge of the 3 elements of Kihon (basics), Kata (form) and Kumite (sparring) needs to be shown before the next Karate level can be awarded.
To advance to a new Karate level, the Karate belt holder takes a formal test called a Karate grading examination.
Karate grading examinations for all higher ranks include theory, practical, oral and written requirements. These vary depending on the Karate level being tested.
The contents of tests vary among Karate styles but each school has set criteria around...

·        Minimum Time Elapsed from Last Karate grading
·        Consistent Training
·        Proficient Karate Technique
·        Demonstrated Progress
·        Approval or Recommendation of Instructor(s)
The normal karate belt colours are white, yellow, green, brown and black etc. White belt is always the first grade, so in most schools this would be 10th Kyu. Everyone starts out as a white belt. White belt is always the first grade, so in most schools this would be 10th Kyu. Everyone starts out as a white belt. It usually takes about 6 to 12 months to move up 1 belt level in karate if you are training thrice (three days) a week or so. If you train only once a week, it will take longer. It may take less time at the early belt levels and more time at the later belt levels. 

In many styles there is no way to tell what Dan a karate student is. They all wear a black belt, it is often a sign of humility that they don't need to show off their grade on their belt. Some karate styles will use a gold stripe on the belt for each dan they have attained.

The Ranking Structure in Karate
10th KYU
3 Months
9th KYU
Junior White
3 Months
Senior White
6 Months
7th KYU
Junior Yellow
12 Months
6th KYU
Senior Yellow
18 Months
5th KYU
Junior Green
24 Months
4th KYU
Senior Green
30 Months
3rd KYU
Junior Brown
36 Months
2nd KYU
Assistant Senior Brown
42 Months
1st KYU
Senior Brown
48 Months

1st DAN
1st Degree Black Belt
4 Years
2nd DAN
2nd Degree Black Belt
5 Years
3rd DAN
3rd Degree Black Belt
7 Years
4th DAN
4th Degree Black Belt
10 Years
5th DAN
5th Degree Black Belt
14 Years - must be 35 years or older
6th DAN
6th Degree Black Belt
20 Years - Minimum age 40
7th DAN
7th Degree Black Belt
30 Tears - Minimum age 45
8th DAN
8th Degree Black Belt
40 Tears - Minimum age 50
9th DAN
9th Degree Black Belt
50 Tears - Minimum age 60
10th DAN
10th Degree Black Belt
60 Tears - Minimum age 70

(After your last brown belt, you'll achieve your first black belt, or dan belt. Your first dan (degree) black belt earns you the title of "senpai"(senior student) or assistant teacher. While this may seem like the end of the journey, it's the beginning of a new one. There 10 dan levels or black belt degrees to achieve. All 10 dan levels require continuous training).

Usually only the lower dan grades, up to about 5th dan are awarded on increasing karate ability. It takes usually a minimum of 20 years training to reach 5th dan level. After this karate belts are often awarded for service to the sport and commitment, instead of increasing ability. It usually takes around 60 years of training to reach 10th dan

Everyone begins wearing a white belt. From white they progress through the respective levels of yellow, orange, green, purple, brown and black. The Japanese term "KYU" to refer to the coloured belts and "DAN" to refer to black belts.

Karate-ka (a practitioner of karate) shall wear a clean, white, unmarked karate Gi (karate training uniform), and the belt representing his/her present rank at the time of grading. Many martial arts use between one and ten DAN ranks.

It takes great skill to assess a student for promotion to an advanced Karate Level. A physical test displays physical ability which is fine up to a point. A written or spoken test goes further and taps into the underlying knowledge of the advanced Karate black belt.