Belt colours of Soshiki Karate school

Belt colours of Soshiki Karate school
Karate Myint Kywe
(Myoma Myint Kywe)

There are about many different school and sub clubs of Karate. Each has different requirements, period, and a different rank structure. Some styles and schools have course period and ranks that other styles and schools DO NOT use. It depends on the style and school.  (Shihan Hirokazu Kanazawa promoted to the rank of 1st dan black belt in Shotokan karate less than two years of training in the art). Depending on the art, ABILITY, competition is also a factor. 

(In 1924, Master Funakoshi adopted the Kyu / Dan rank system and the uniform (keikogi) developed by Master Kano Jigoro, the founder of Judo. This system uses colored belts (obi) to indicate rank. Originally, karate had only three belt colors: white, brown, and black (with ranks within each). The original belt system, still used by many Shotokan schools, is:
8th rising to 4th kyu: white
3rd rising to 1st kyu: brown
1st and higher dan: black)

Dan ranks go from 1 to 10.  1st Dan, 2nd Dan, 3rd Dan …… are usually about a higher skill levels. Higher DANS ranks are also about teaching, leadership, service, excellent performance, ABILITY and personal commitment to the art. 
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 times) 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.

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.

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 Years - Minimum age 45
8th DAN
8th Degree Black Belt
40 Years - Minimum age 50
9th DAN
9th Degree Black Belt
50 Years - Minimum age 60
10th DAN
10th Degree Black Belt
60 Years - Minimum age 70

When do we obtain our black belt?

In Karate, improvement and understanding of the art is denoted by a system of ranks split into kyu and dan grades. These are indicated with various systems of coloured belts, with the black belt indicating a practitioner who has attained a certain level of competence. Practitioners of Karate are ranked according to skill and knowledge of the art. Their rank is indicated by the colour of belt that they wear.

(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).

There are two broad categories of rank: those who have attained a level of competency at which they are considered worthy of a black belt (黒帯 kuro obi) and who hold dan () grades and those who are yet to attain that level and who hold kyu () grades. Those who hold dan grades are collectively termed Yudansha (有段者) (literally "person who has dan") and those with kyu grades are Mudansha (無段者), literally "person without dan".

The ninth ("kudan") and tenth degree black belt (judan) and, highest practical with theoretically, those higher have no formal requirements. Some karate clubs will only have black and white, others will include a brown belt for advanced kyu grades and at the elementary school level it is common to see a green belt for intermediate levels.

White belt- yellow (10th kyu, 9th kyu, 8th kyu) = 1st year
Yellow belt- green (7th kyu, 6th kyu,)              = 2nd year
Green belt- brown (5th kyu, 4th kyu,)              = 3rd year
Brown belt- black (3rd kyu, 2nd kyu, 1st kyu)   = 4th year
(Every club and style of karate has a different belt ranking system).

Four year course
White belt to yellow belt (1st year)
Everyone starts out as a karate white belt. Even your instructor was a white belt once.
It's the first and most important step of your karate journey. This is the beginning of your journey of self-discovery that will test the limits of your mind, body, and spirit. Your belt is white because you are a blank slate, ready to be molded into a lean, mean fighting machine.

Yellow belt to green belt (2nd year)
In most schools your next karate belt is yellow belt.

Green belt to brown belt (3rd year)
The next of the karate belt colors is usually green belt.

Brown belt to black belt (4th year)
Next step is 1st Dan black belt. And finally there's karate black belt. Getting a black belt is learning the basics. Begin for next DAN GRADE LEVELS in karate journey. 1st DAN (Degree) level necessitates a further development of abilities.

The requirements for ranks are much different from one school to another. In some schools you are taught the entire schools by the time you reach DAN degree black belt. In other schools that is NOT the case. There ten DAN levels of black belt. The highest is the 10th degree and is reserved for the head of a system only so there is only one 10th degree black belt.   

The “not-so-complicated” JKA Dan Ranking System. Courtesy the JKA Website:

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 and practical test displays physical ability which is fine up to a point. A written and spoken test goes further and taps into the underlying knowledge of the advanced Karate black belt.

Combative (close combat) is a term for hand-to-hand combat training and techniques. While the term hand-to-hand combat (sometimes abbreviated as HTH or H2H) originally referred principally to engagements by military personnel on the battlefield, it can also refer to any personal physical engagement by two or more combatants, including police officers and civilians. There are several reasons that the combative course is taught:

·        To educate soldiers on how to protect themselves against threats without using their firearms
·        To provide a non-lethal response to situations on the battlefield
·        To instill the 'warrior instinct' to provide the necessary aggression to meet the enemy unflinchingly

Combative courses have been taught by the United States Military Academy for its entire history. Military martial arts systems are fighting martial arts styles developed for real-life combat. They focus on areas such as self-defense, grappling and weapons training.

Most of these specialized martial arts programs been developed by countries with large militaries such as the United States, Russia, China, Japan, Korea, and Israel. Military organizations have always taught some sort of unarmed combat for conditioning and as a supplement to armed combat.

Close combat using firearms or other distance weapons by military combatants at the tactical level is modernly referred to as close quarter battle. The U.S. Army uses the term combative to describe various military fighting systems used in hand-to-hand combat training, systems which may incorporate eclectic techniques from several different martial arts and combat sports.

Close Quarter Combat (CQC) training involves using basic, natural movement to overcome larger and better armed adversaries. This course allows for a minimal amount of training with maximum results. CQC training begins with rifles, pistols, knives, ropes, and carabineers, and then moves to the most advanced fighting--unarmed fighting. The objective is to insure that the student can survive zero-sum (life or death) conflicts using improvised weapons.

Soldiers of China were trained in unarmed combat as early as the Yellow Emperor (2600 BCE). Chinese martial arts is the most oldest of all martial arts and it is possible to trace its roots back more than 4,600 years. The earliest form of Chinese martial arts is those practised by soldiers for direct use in battlefield combat.

Ancient legend states that weapons and hand-to-hand martial arts’ techniques were propagated by China’s Yellow Emperor. Before he rose to the imperial throne in 2698 BC, the Yellow Emperor had been a notable general and had already written at length on elevated subjects such as astrology, Chinese medicine and the Martial Arts.

Most militaries teach some form of unarmed combat but often it is a form of mixed martial arts where military personnel might learn a combination of martial arts techniques such as Karate kicks, Jujitsu techniques, basic self-defense against weapons, etc.

Just over 10 years ago, the military made it mandatory for every soldier to learn Karate (Asian martial arts). As the military tends to be more active in peacekeeping missions than traditional warfare, soldiers are told to learn martial arts so they will have the skills to restrain civilians and build confidence in the army. To enhance the army’s reputation among civilians, it is necessary for soldiers not to overreact when faced with a hostile situation.

COMBAT Karate (Unarmed martial arts) is a popular Japanese martial arts style that was originally developed on the islands of Okinawa. It focuses on punches, elbow strikes, knee strikes, kicks and weapons training that focus on joint locks, holds, takedown (grappling), and throws. It tries to redirect or manipulate the force of an attack in order to defeat the attacker.

In martial arts and combat sports, a takedown is a technique that involves off-balancing an opponent and bringing him or her to the ground, typically with the attacker landing on top.

Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons: self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, entertainment, as well as mental, physical, and spiritual development.


“I am a founder and chief instructor of SOSHIKI Karate since 1978. 
I have teaching experience 37 years in karate.
I have been practicing karate since 1970.
I have had experience 45 years in karate.
All my pupils always call me “Master”, “Sensei”.
However, I am always a “senior student” and  “Teacher”in karate. 
Because  Karate martial art is very wide and deep.
Karate will always be an important part of my life.”

すべての私の生徒は常に「"マスター".." 師範"... "先生"」と呼んで。
しかし、私はいつも「シニア(先輩) 学生」と空手の「ジュニア先生」です。
"Karate martial art is like ocean. Ocean is very deep and very widespread". 

"Karate has been a part of my life since I was 10 years old since 1970".
- Karate Myint Kywe