Black Belt (Yudansha)
"Power is no more than a part no more than the tip of the iceberg of the limitless profundity and sublimity of karate."- Sosai Mas Oyama
The color of spirit represents the realms beyond the physical. Black absorbs all the light waves becoming too hot to touch, unlike the white that reflects the light waves. Practicing of techniques is now only for the purpose of fine-tuning, and each night the karate-ka must make a mental note of what he/she did that day. Then look back and ask himself/herself: Did I react, think and talk like a mature karate-ka? If not, why? As a black belt, you must always remain aware of your shortcomings. For you are not a master yet, and the only way to become one is to never give up. The karate-ka is humble and thoughtful, not selfish and proud. In training, one's attitude is calm but fiercely alert. One learns to love all as equal and seeing the goodness in all hearts, find cause to fear no one.
Black belt has ten levels, each with its own significance:
1st & 2nd Dan: Orange physical levels
3rd,4th & 5th Dan: yellow or intellectual levels
6th - 10th Dan: The levels of spirit
The ultimate aim of the Art of Karate lies not in victory or defeat but in the perfection of the character of its participants" Gichin Funakoshi
Brown Belt (2nd and 1st kyu): Level of practicality and creativity
The karate-ka should be very strong and comfortable in the execution of all techniques, while striving to achieve even higher levels of skill, as he/she draws closer to a fine balance of body, mind and soul.
The karate-ka must start to take on many responsibilities in the dojo and creativity is most productive, as he/she easily starts developing technical variations of his/her own.
The karate-ka must constantly take a step back and look at himself/herself, to make sure he/she is in control of the personality, the contents and prejudices of the mind, not vice versa. As a brown belt you must know your own strengths by understanding the weaknesses of others, and strengthen your faith and resolve your path by studying the paths of others, take note of their strong and weak points and adjusting your own attitude. Participate in tournaments to make comparisons and improving your own techniques. Know your own capabilities and respect the potential of all opponents whether mental or physical.
Green belt (4th and 3rd kyu): Level of emotion and sensitivity
By mixing yellow and blue (Fire and Void) green is produced. The first level of the senior colours, corresponding to the Anathata Chakra whose element is air.
This is the level of maturity, wisdom and love; by combining his/her men`tal and physical strength with compassion and by understanding the karate-ka's outlook becomes balanced and harmonious. Learns to share and develops a sense of co-operative brotherhood. Realizes he/she must be fair, sympathetic and mature if people are to trust him/her. It is said that a mature karate-ka is characterized by a good sense of humor. The karate-ka learns to accept others for what they are and thus becomes more considerate of others and his personality becomes more balanced. Realizing power without wisdom and compassion is destructive, dangerous and callous. The karate-ka concentrates on proper breathing methods, refining style, and technique, consolidating the requirements made by the orange, blue and yellow belt. Sensitivity and timing are also studied deeply. One must learn to feel the opponent's intentions, balance and the timing of your techniques for maximum effect. Actions become reflexes, techniques happening naturally, without thought. The green belt has glimpses of the state of mind known as zanshin where the body acts perfectly without conscious effort.
The green belt starts to learn the art of hiding emotions and when it is appropriate, is an important skills in everyday life. One must also learn to cairn the mind, as one's goal is to establish a balance between physical and mental facets.
person who cannot control and rise above instinct and greed lives a life devoid of the civilizing influences of courtesies and is ultimately rejected by other people" Sosai Mas Oyama
Yellow Belt (6th and 5th kyu): Level of assertion
The last of the beginner's level, yellow is the color corresponding to the Man ipura Chakra whose element is fire.
The karate-ka must have their concentrationcenteredd at the hara and must understand the principle of generating power through the hips and waist. In punching, concentration is also placed in the latissimus dorsi muscles, which keeps the elbow in and maintain the integrity between the arm and body, allowing the hara to express its power through the arm. The karate-ka is required to consider physical training, dynamic balance, coordination and also the psychological aspects of training (perception, awareness, assertion and other manifestations of will-power). Also to refine his/her karate knowledge and learn to perform all movements in a pure and correct way. The essence of karate is nothing else than training mind over body.
Blue Belt (8th and 7th kyu): Level of fluidity and adaptability
Know as Mizu-iro obi (Water belt) situated at the Swadhisthana Chakra whose element is water. The karate-ka develops an ability to adapt and react to certain circumstances. This adaptability grows through Kumite.
The karate-ka starts to consider how karate can adapt to best suit his/her strengths and weaknesses. Contributes further with upper body conditioning and practicing stances and their movements so not to neglect the Earth (Orange belt) level.
Strong Points :
Flexibility (physical and mental) Co-ordination, by learning to control balance and technique at all times.
The karate-ka must learn heijoshin - the unchanging state of mind.
"Receive a blow like water; attack decisively with attitude of one punch certain death" Chang Sang-Feng (Founder of Tai-Chi)
Orange Belt (10th and 9th kyu): Level of Stability
The orange belt is the colour Mooladhara Chakra, whose element is earth.
The earth element means that when you are training at the orange belt level, you should concentrate on stability. This means concentrating and practicing stances and correct movement in the stances.
By learning to feel the proper stance, with improved stability comes an elementary awareness of dynamic balance. This is achieved by learning to feel your weight centred in yourself.
This promotes good posture (the centre of our martial arts), which allows you to see your opponent clearly and focus fully on his intentions as well as your own.
Tachi san-nen (Three years for the stance) - Sosai Mas Oyama
White Belt: Level of purity and potential
White and black are colors that rarely occur in their purest form so they are regarded as non-colours. As white contains all light, it reflects and cannot absorbs light waves. Therefore the white belt symbolizes the new students potential.
White is a symbol of purity and the new students' heart is full of hope. Next to the black belt the white belt is most important in the karate-ka's life. As a white belt there is no rush as they must concentrate on learning the dojo etiquette and get in the habit of training regularly. The unspoken rule of the dojo is that one is only recognized for one's willingness to make the effort. So try your hardest, because the white belt is a level of physical foundation.
"Human beings are capable of virtually limitless degradation; they are also capable of virtually limitless improvement and achievement. Success depends on goals and on diligence in pursuing them."Sosai Mas Oyama
What is grading?
Grading is an assessment of a students ability to perform a number of techniques, kata etc. according to our grading system. The student's manner and understanding of Kyokushin is also taken into account. Although these points are not written down, the instructor should teach them.
The Grading is a privilege giving by the instructor it is not something the student is entitled to.
Many dojos have a guide as to how many lessons you should have trained before attempting to grade. Because you trained a number of times does not give you the right to grade, it is always the instructor who has the last word.
Students have the opportunity to grade twice a year and in like most examinations not everybody passes. Students sometimes stop training if they do not pass a grading, which means they did not embrace The Kyokushin Way.