Ranking System

Canada Shotokan Karate (CSK) uses a traditional ranking system established by Master Funakoshi. Students begin with a white belt and may advance through the various levels of white, brown and black belt. CSK does not award belts of other colours.

White Belt
8th kyu (hachikyu)
7th kyu (shichikyu)
6th kyu (rokkyu)
5th kyu (gokyu)
4th kyu (yonkyu)

Brown Belt
3rd kyu (sankyu)
2nd kyu (nikyu)
1st kyu (ikkyu)

Black Belt
1st dan (shodan)
2nd dan (nidan)
3rd dan (sandan)
4th dan (yodan)
5th dan (godan)

Gradings for ranks below black belt 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. Gradings for black belt are held once a year. Each grading covers all elements of Karate — kihon, kata, and kumite.

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.

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.

All students must be current in their CSK and Dojo dues before being graded. Black belts must also be current in their Black Belt Council dues.

Generally speaking, the requirements for kyu test and shodan (first degree black belt) test are:

  1. Basics
    • Blocks (down block, rising block, inside forearm block, hammer fist block, knife hand block)
    • Punches (front punch, reverse punch)
    • Kicks (front kick, round kick, side up kick, side thrust kick, stomping kick)
  2. Kata
    • 1 required kata from the 5 Heian kata.
    • Brown belts must perform Bassai, plus a favourite kata.
  3. Sparring
    • Ippon gumite (1 time engagement match)
    • Sanbon gumite (3 time engagement match)
  4. Special training
    • Candidates for shodan must also have completed at least 1 special training. Information about special training may be found on the Canada Shotokan Karate Special Training page.