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Belts





Ju Kyu means 10th Kyu White Belt.

Everyone starts here.

Ku Kyu means 9th Kyu - one stripe on White Belt.

One month study at the school as a 10th Kyu White Belt. Student must be able to perform basic exercises taught in class. Sometimes intermediate stripes will be awarded between Ku Kyu and Hachi Kuy as the student completes various courses of training such as being able to perform all of the basic moves in Seisan kata.

Hachi Kyu means 8th Kyu Yellow Belt.

Four months study at the school as a white with one stripe belt. Student must be able to perform Seisan Kata reasonably well and 15 basic techniques as taught in class with recommended reading of Isshinryu Karate. Student will perform the 9 basic Isshinryu Karate kicks and pass a written test on Isshinryu Karate.

Shichi Kyu means 7th Kyu Orange Belt.

Four months study at the school as a yellow belt. Student must be able to perform Seisan and Seiuchin Katas reasonably well. Must be able to Kumite reasonably well showing a variety of techniques. Must be able to pass a written test on karate.

Go Kyu means 5th Kyu Green Belt.

Four months study at the school as a blue belt. Students must be able to perform Seisan, Seiuchin , Naihanchi, Wansu, and Chinto Katas reasonably well. Student must compete in Kumite contests in the Dojo and in tournaments, write a paper on karate etiquette, be a member in good standing of the Dojo. Student must pass a written test on Isshinryu Karate.

Yon Kyu means 4th Kyu Brown Belt or Purple Belt.

Four months study at the school as a green belt. Student must be able to perform Seisan, Seiuchin , Naihanchi, Wansu, Chinto and Sanchin Katas reasonably well. Student must compete in Kumite and Kata contests. Student must write a paper on "What Karate Means to Me". To be promoted to this rank, a person must have sound knowledge of the origin of Isshinryu Karate and its development. Student must know a little of the Okinawan terminology and color and order of the Isshinryu Karate ranking system. Student must be well versed in karate etiquette and have regular a ttendance at the Dojo. Student must pass a written test on "The Weaponless Warriors" by Richard Kim. Recommended reading: "The Greatest Salesman in the World" by Og Mandino.

San Kyu means 3rd Kyu Brown Belt.

Four months study as a 4th kyu. Student must be able to perform Seisan, Seiuchin, Naihanchi, Wansu, Chinto, Sanchin, and Kusanku Katas. Compete in Kumite and Kata contest. Student must Must pass a written test on the Martial Arts. Student may also be asked to perform board breaks, 1 or 2, with both hand and foot techniques.

Ni Kyu means 2nd Kyu Brown Belt.

Four months study as a 3rd Kyu brown belt. Student must be able to perform Seisan, Seiuchin, Naihanchi, Wansu, Chinto, Sanchin, Kusanku, and Kusanku Sai Katas reasonably well. Student must compete in Kumite and Kata contests. Student must have good Dojo attendance and pass a written test on Isshinryu Karate and its origin. Student may also be required to perform board breaks. 2 or 3 boards with both hand and foot techniques of the students choosing.

Ik Kyu means 1st Kyu Brown Belt.

Four months study as a 2nd kyu brown belt. Student must be able to perform Seisan, Seiuchin, Naihanchi, Wansu, Chinto, Sanchin, Kusanku, Kusanku Sai, and To Ko Meni No Kun No Dai Katas reasonably well. Student must compete in Kumite and Kata contests. Student must be a member in good standing with the Dojo. Student must be a capable and willing assistant in teaching karate classes. Student must be able to judge Kumite and Kata contests under supervision of instructors . Student must write a paper on Isshinryu Karate. Student will be asked to break at least 2 or 3 boards with both a hand and foot technique of his/her choice. Student must be of good moral character. Student must be at least 16 years of age and have good, regular attendance in class.

Sho Dan means 1st Degree Black Belt.

Student must have a minimum of 2 years and 3 months of continuous study of Isshinryu Karate. Must be of age to compete with adults.. Must be able to perform Seisan, Seiuchin, Naihanchi, Wansu, Chinto Sanchin, Kusanku, Kusanku Sai, To Ko Meni No Kun No Dai and Sunsu Katas with total command of moves and knowledge of interpretation of each. Student must know the history of Isshinryu, completely. Student must be able to defend, orally, Isshinryu history, Okinawan terminology and fundamental principles of Isshinryu Karate. Student must have a sound knowledge of all lower rank requirements. Student must be well versed in karate etiquette. Student must understand promotional standards and their restrictions. Must write a paper on a subject of their choice. Must pass a written test on any subject in the Martial Arts. Must be able to Kumite one on one, two on one, and three on one. Must know 30 vital points and self - defense techniques for 15 different attacks. Must be able to do board breaks, 4 with hand and 4 with kicking techniques. Must be able to extinguish a candle with a punch and a kick of their choice.

Ni Dan means 2nd Degree Black Belt.

One year of continuous study as a sho Dan. More knowledge of Isshinryu Karate. More complete know ledge of 8 Empty Hand Katas and 3 weapons katas. Must have achieved and furthered Isshinryu Karate. Must have actively supported and advanced Isshinryu Karate, either nationally or locally. Student's attitude must be constant and predictable. Student must be of good moral character and know the meaning of humility. Student must submit a two page paper on how attitude and humility go together with karate etiquette and must be able to defend the paper, orally. Black Belt must show self - defense techniques, 20 holds, and one technique each for 40 vital points.

Two years study as Ni Dan. Must know 8 empty hand kata plus 5 weapons kata, Kusanku Sai, Tokomeni no Kun, and Chie Fa. Must have furthered the advancement of Isshinryu Karate. Other special requirements include oral exams on Isshinryu etiquette and attitude, dedication and importance of practice. Must have additional knowlege and deeper understanding of Sanchin Kata. Must know 50 vital points.

Yo Dan: 4th Degree Black Belt

Four years study as San Dan. Must know 8 empty hand Kata plus 6 weapons kata: Kusanku Sai, Tokumeni No Kun, Chie Fa, Chata-Yara no Sai, Urashi Bo, and Shishi no Kun. Must know 80 vital points and be able to demonstrate techniques to each. Other requirements will be conveyed to applicant after acceptance to test for Yo Dan. Support Isshinryu Locally and Nataionally. Typed paper on "Loyalty".

Go Dan: 5th Degree Black Belt

Four years study as Yo Dan. Must know all 14 Isshinryu Kata. Must have 14 years of continuous study in Isshinryu Karate. Must know 90 vital points and be able to demonstrate techniques to each. Must write a 4 page paper on "Patience, Itegrety and Loaylty". Other requirements plus special permission of promotional board. Oral test on "Book of Five Rings" and "Greatest Salesman in the World".

Roku Dan: 6th Degree Black Belt

To attain this rank, applicant's history in Isshinryu is presented to board 6 months before test date. Must meet all previous requrements. Oral exam on Isshinryu history, origin of karate, Okinawan/Japanese terminology, and American history of Isshinryu since 1960. Must have furthered Isshinryu Karate nationally and written articles for newspapers and their organization's newsletter. Must know 100 vital points with application.

Nana (Shichi) Dan: 7th Degree Black Belt

Must be nationally recognized, head of organization or leader in a recognized Isshinryu organization. Must be active in national Isshinryu Karate events.

Hachi Dan: 8th Degree Black Belt

A recognized leader and exemplary member of the Isshinryu community. A recognized teacher of teachers.

Ku Dan: 9th Degree Black Belt

A recognized leader, organizer, teacher of masters and Sensei of masters.

Ju Dan: 10th Degree Black Belt

Has furthered the teachings of Isshinryu Karate to a level of unquestionable accomplishments and recognition.


Rank promotions or "gradings" are mostly held by the dojo sensei during the early Kyu ranks and by a board of three or more black belts from the fifth kyu test and higher. Karate is divided into two main grades or ranks which are called "Dan" and "Kyu" grades. The Dan grades refer to 1st degree black belt (Sho Dan) and above. Kyu Grades refer to the colored belts. The Dan grades rise upwards from 1st to indicate the higher skill, but in kyu grades, it is the reverse; thus 1st kyu immediatley precedes 1st Dan. All promotion tests are formal tests, meaning clean, pressed white gis (uniforms) will be worn and all karate etiquette will be observed. In Isshinryu Karate, everyone starts off as Ju Kyu or 10th Kyu White Belt and the requirements for promotion listed above.

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