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What is Karate? Our Practice Dojo Etiquette Ranking System Special Training Japanese Terms

Ranking System

The ranks are displayed in ascending order.

White Belt Brown Belt Black Belt
Unranked 3rd kyu
1st dan
8th kyu
2nd kyu
2nd dan
7th kyu
1st kyu
3rd dan
6th kyu
  4th dan
5th kyu
  5th dan
4th kyu

Gradings for rank are conducted twice a year, as near to November 10th as possible to commemorate the anniversary of Master Funakoshi's birth, and April 26th to commemorate the anniversary of his death. Each grading covers all elements of Karate -- kihon, kata, and kumite.

All Canada Shotokan/SKA students begin with a white belt (unranked) and may advance through different levels of white, brown and black belt. (SKA does not award belts of other colors). The ultimate rank achievable, in this original ranking system created by Master Funakoshi, is Godan (fifth-degree black belt), the highest rank ever awarded by Master Funakoshi.

Because all students have different potentials, it is important not to compare your progress with that of another. Gradings and ranks should only be used as a means by which to measure your own improvement. During grading, consideration in awarding rank, other than for one's technical level, is given to age, time practicing, previous experience, physical condition, physical potential, personal situations, attitude toward practice, attitude toward others, concern for responsibilities, and number of special trainings. Please read Sensei Ohshima's thoughts on Grading and the Kyu Test.

It is the student's responsibility to do his or her best during the grading and to accept the rank awarded with dignity and humility. The most important point is the student's mental attitude. Read the Kyu Test Requirements for a detailed list of what is expected from each rank during a Kyu Test.

All students must be current in their CSK/SKA and Dojo dues before being graded. The cost of CSK/SKA membership is $50 US for the first year, $75 US thereafter. Black belts must also be current in their Black Belt Council dues. Here is a current CSK Application Form.