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The syllabus is merely a basic skeleton from which to work. It makes it easy to monitor progression and skill and can inform higher grades of ability so only techniques which have been instructed to that level may be used. In gradings the written syllabus is the maximum you will be asked to do and that will be assessed. Sensei can ask you to demonstrate any technique from any previous gradings and the student will be marked upon these techniques also because they have already passed that previous grading. Sensei can ask you to demonstrate additional techniques which you may have learnt etc however these will not have any overall effect on your mark. Sensei may test students and try and push individuals to achieve there maximum in different ways.

No two gradings are the same and grades will be awarded on what Sensei expects from an individual. Therefore there is no overall relevance in comparing your own grade to someone else’s. This recognises that people undertake karate for very different reasons and as such have different goals.

Red to White Belt

At red belt to white belt level the most basic techniques are introduced and some of their key points explained. All of the Key principals are introduced even at this early stage and students will practice them extensively however not consciously. Most of the techniques studied at this level are the most probable techniques a karateka would use in practical self defence. Etiquette and formal basics are looked at as well as their traditional meanings. This includes the bow, dojo rules and the first major stance. Kata is also introduced at this level to make the progression of learning easier for students.

Yellow Belt

At yellow belt earlier techniques are continuously practiced with further study into the mechanics of technique. Students are more actively encouraged to use practical application of earlier techniques and are for the first time assessed upon their ability to apply technique. They are also instructed in the most basic Ippons.

Orange belt

At orange belt Kata is assessed formally and with it an in depth understanding of stances is required. Along with Techniques are combined more sequentially at this level as the principals of karate start to become more prominent. Although Bunkai (Kata application) is studied throughout it is formally assessed at this grade for the first time. Students are also expected to understand the history, and problems associated with the study of Bunkai.

Green belt

Green belt is a vital stage in a students learning. All of the principals are brought together and examined and basic Ippons are concluded. The basic introduction of extended techniques is introduced and as a result true understanding is expected to develop. Ukemi is assessed at this level and is expected to be performed sufficiently to be safe in practicing all techniques. Basic take-down techniques are expanded upon as well as defences from prone positions.

Blue belt

For Blue belt a student is expected to understand fine details of everything studied to this point. Kihon and Ohyo Kumite are introduced as well the study of important anatomical targets. Techniques for ground fighting are assessed for the first time as well as more advanced methods of blocking, parrying and slipping.

Purple belt

Purple Belt is very much a continuation of Blue belt. The Pinan series of kata are concluded and the Bunkai to support them. Counters are more readily studied to broaden students perspectives and progress the understanding of previously instructed techniques. Kihon Kumite is concluded and more advanced take-downs are studied in preparation for brown belt.

Brown belt

Brown belt is a belt of perfection. Techniques are expected to be performed at the highest level in order to prepare students for their climb to Dan grade. Take-down techniques are performed at this level with extreme precision from every conceivable attack as well as Knife defense’s and other defenses from more serious attacks.

Black belt

Black belt should in my opinion be called the Basic’s of karate. A student is tested upon all basic and advanced techniques within the syllabus and they are required to demonstrate some degree of choice about how they feel their style has lead them to the level they are at. You learn to take apart everything you learnt previously. You begin the formal study of Suwari waza, study weapons and their application to karate, learn and began the learning of Karate.

Black belt - Higher Dans

Higher Dan grades look primarily at the underlying principals and philosophies that Wado Ryu Karate Jutsu is based upon. The Karate – Kobudo relationship is further expanded upon and if students wish to then can now begin to learn how to teach others. Everything within the syllabus is advanced to the highest and most difficult levels and expanded well beyond it’s initial simplistic structure.

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