The levels mark the progress the karate student makes throughout his/her career and they take the form of belts of different colours. The coloured-belt level system is a recent event in the history of karate. In the past, there were only a few students and they trained in secrecy in various premises, safe from the curiosity of onlookers. As a result, they all knew each other’s worth and coloured belts were not necessary to differentiate their levels.
Over time and with the opening-up of the teaching of karate in schools and new dojos, the number of students increased significantly and the need arose to create a structure to enable their teaching and assessment. The level system was inspired by judo. First of all, only three colours were used: white (up to and including 4th kyu), brown (up to 1st kyu) and black. Today, a system with more colours is used: yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown and black.
It is important to remember that the levels themselves are not the purpose of the training sessions, since a level without good technique is of no use. What is important in the level system is the student’s effort and will to get better in his/her day-to-day practice in order to show his/her progress.
The system used in the AOGKF is as follows:
[su_lightbox type=”image” src=”http://www.iogkf.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/AOGKF_Belt_System.jpg”][/su_lightbox]
Traditionally, Shodan, or 1st Degree black belt, literally means the first step and continues up to Judan (10th degree). The shodan black belt is not the end of training but rather as a beginning to advanced learning. At Shodan the “students pencil needs sharpening” and therefore continues training to “refine his/her pencil to a sharp point”.