Dan Grades
(Improving for the future)
It should be the toughest of times for you personally:
Shodan is a difficult grade because all the emphasis is now on YOU.
Development of your teaching skills by helping others and taking junior grades under your wing.
Setting an example to other students by your training, skills, attendance and knowledge and all the aspects of the Dojo Khun.
A time to really develop your Philosophy and way of thinking to improve your mind.
Develop mind, body and spirit together. So that you are and feel better than ever before.
A time to test your own level of understanding.
Experience other Martial Arts and styles by attending courses.
Help Sensei to run the club, organise events & help out with all the things that keep the Dojo running to keep the standards high.
Being very strict with your own training regime and attendance.
Looking deeply into the Kata with all its fascinating secrets that are locked away waiting for you to discover them afresh.
Being better than ever, yet with more humility than ever.
Being more powerful than ever, yet far more gentle than before.
High levels of fitness to your own high standards.
Acquiring deeper stretches.     Gaining greater strength.
Learning more advanced Kata. Working for your Dan grades.
A great time to push yourself by working hard with the other Dan Grades to achieve a higher level of understanding.
You have perhaps completed five or more years of training - but now the rest of your life awaits. You may have another thirty or forty years in front of you. What are you going to do? Give-up? Or develop yourself into the best you can be!
Helping others should now be a priority in your training.
It is expected that you will now become self motivated.
Developing self motivation with guidance from your Sensei rather than being taught the syllabus.
Some students find the transition to self motivation very difficult. But this in itself is a real test and task and will develop you in ways you never thought possible.
Your Sensei will push you less - demand less, shout less. However, he will expect far more.

Consider the old Karate maxim:
"Beware all those who enter here - least you leave weaker than when you came".

What message do you give to Junior students if your training is not exemplary? How will you gain self respect and the respect of others if this is not your goal?

How can you afford to take it easy with all this work to do - good luck - you will need it ?























Dan Grades above Black Belt
To acknowledge further progress, length of time training, teaching achievements, proficiency and knowledge in the Art. The purpose of TRAINING is also simple but different to GRADING. You can be very good at a whole range of skills without ever having graded. Some students are confused by comparison. For example they may wonder why a student is of a higher grade when they do poor Kata or Kumite compared to themselves who are perhaps a lower grade.
The reason is that at our club a student is judged on their potential. The student who is of a higher grade may be close to their maximum personal potential. However, you may be using only a small amount of your potential and are graded accordingly. Time training, handicaps, personality, age, sex, actual ability and potential ability are all taken into account. To clarify the situation the purpose of Grading and Training is to make YOU as good as YOU can be. Comparisons are meaningless in this case.

Students wishing to take their Shodan must submit an essay of at least 500 words entitled "What karate means to me" To take a look at some of the essays submitted to date click here.

The most important thing at a grading is to try your best!
Shodan - What now?

So you have finally got your "black belt". What more is there?

You are now an important member of the club in terms of the example you will now set. Having reached a standard of proficiency through hard work and dedication your Sensei and other students will expect a good example from you.

Many students feel they did not do well in their grading or that they are inadequate in some way. You would not have passed if this was the case. This feeling is a manifestation of your lack of confidence and is now an area you must try to address and improve.

Some students who reach Shodan become complacent - they seem to think they have done it! Reached their goal - the end of the line. This is rather like thinking that you know it all! What perhaps you know are the basics. You will never fully understand karate-do. The more you study it - the more it opens up. That is the great challenge. It is always a disappointment to see a student who has trained very hard for five years or more and who manages to attain the grade of Shodan, then train less as a Black Belt than when they were trying for the grade as a student. Do not fall into this trap - you are now a beginner again!!! You have begun the real martial arts career as a competent practitioner and teacher.

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Copyright: Tom Hill 2012 Goju.co.uk  All rights reserved.
UPDATED 1st  May 2014


Please remember that you are only worth your grade while you are training!