Karate-dō Promotion Requirements—Shodan (1st Dan)

Black Belt

This page presents the requirements for promotion in Shimabukuro-Ha Shitō-Ryū karate-dō to the rank of shodan (1st dan).  At the Seishin-Kan, shodan is signified by a black belt emboidered with the student's name and granting organsation for adults and youth.

n Shikaku (Eligibility Requirements)
n Sahō to Reihō (Preparation & Etiquette)
n Kihon (Fundamentals)
n Idō Kihon (Basic Movements)
n Yakusoku Kumite (Choreographed Sparring)
n Jiyū Kumite (Free Sparring)
n Jūhō Waza ("Soft" Techniques)
n Katachi to Kata (Patterns & Examples)
n Bunkai to Ōyō (Analysis & Practical Application)
n Tameshiwari (Test Breaking)
n Gakka (Scholarship)

Shikaku (Eligibility Requirements)

To be eligible to test for shodan, a candidate must meet all of the eligibility requirements listed below:

  n A minimum of thirty-six (36) months training in Shimabukuro-ha Shitō-Ryū karate-dō
  n A minimum age of 16 years**
  n Participate in a minimum of fifty (50) one-hour karate training classes since promotion to shodan-ho.
  n Consistently exhibit satisfactory attitude and behaviour at home and school (youth and children).
  n Consistently exhibit appropriate attitude and behaviour in the dōjō
  n Submit a written request for promotion testing on the prescribed form
  ** Students holding ranks of shodan (1st degree black belt) and higher are expected to lead and assist in instructing yūkyūsha and shoshinsha.  Instruction in classical budō involves not just the physical skills and knowledge of budō , but the application of budō principles to daily life, which requires a level of personal maturity and experience not possessed by those below the age of 16.

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Sahō to Reihō (Preparation & Etiquette)

Sahō (Preparation):   Consistently assist with class set-up and remain afterward to assist with sōji (clean up), and correctly perform mokusō to mentally prepare for training.

Reihō (Etiquette):   Consistently perform correct etiquette upon entering and leaving the dōjō,  greeting sensei and sempai and fellow participants, correctly perform hairei (venerating bow), tachi-rei (standing bow), and zarei (kneeling bow), and use proper aisatsu (formal greetings), as well as exhibiting respectful informal etiquette toward sensei, sempai, and visitors (o-kyaku-sama).

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Kihon (Fundamentals)

Correctly perform the following fundamentals: 

  n All previously required kihon

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Idō Kihon (Basic Movements)

Improved performance (speed, power, balance, footwork, posture, focus, timing, etc.) of all previously required idō kihon, including the use of tenshin (body shifting), ayumi-ashi (alternating step footwork), yori-ashi (shuffle-step footwork), and tsugi-ashi (driving-step footwork).

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Yakusoku Kumite (Choreographed Sparring)

Correctly perform ippon kumite (one-step-and-strike sparring) and sambon kumite (three-step-and-strike sparring), defending against chūdan oizuki and/or jōdan oizuki applying sundome (stopping an inch away from the body) by using the  following techniques in han-zenkutsu dachi and neko-ashi dachi:

  n Incorporate tenshin appropriately into all facets of ippon kumite and sambon kumite
  n Apply variations in stance appropriately in all facets of ippon kumite and sambon kumite
n Apply a variety of blocking, deflecting, and evading techniques in ippon kumite and sambon kumite, including kakete uke
n Apply striking and kicking combinations in ippon kumite and sambon kumite
n Apply jūhō in ippon kumite and sambon kumite
  n Apply techniques and sequences from kata in ippon kumite (only)
n Improved speed, power, timing, and accuracy in ippon kumite and sambon kumite

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Jiyū Kumite (Free Sparring)

Correctly perform basic  jiyū kumite, including:

  n Jiyū kumite sahō to reihō
  n Respond to all standard jiyū kumite commands (hajime, yame, tsuzukete, moto no ichi, etc.)
  n Perform jiyū kumite using chūdan and jōdan techniques
  n Employ effective ashi-barai (foot-sweeps) during kumite
  n Consistently employ maai, mazakai, and uchima during kumite
  n Explain basic jiyū kumite judging signals  (points, penalties, warnings, etc.)

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Juhō ("Soft" [non-striking] Methods)

Correctly perform any two each of the following jūhō:

n Kaihō Waza—escaping techniques
  n Katame Waza—grapplig techniques
  n Shime Waza—strangulation techniques
  n Nage Waza—throwing techniques

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Katachi to Kata (Patterns & Examples)

Correctly perform the following kata, either tandoku embu (solo performance) or dantai embu (synchronised group performance):

  n Seipai or Bassai-Shō in dantai embu (synchronised group)
  n Shisōchin
  n Tomari-Bassai
  n Naifanchi Sandan

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Bunkai to Ōyō (Analysis & Practical Application)

Demonstrate at least two practical applications (ōyō) of techniques or combinations from the following kata

  n Shisōchin
  n Tomari-Bassai
  n Naifanchi Sandan
  n Include at least three jūhō  ("soft techniques") among the ōyō demonstrated
  n Instruct and demonstrate Heian Nidan, including an explanation of at least three tactical principles it contains, and how to properly transition between stances

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Tameshiwari (Test Breaking)

Perform tameshiwari on three or more boards using each one of the following:

  n Any hand strike of the candidate's choice
n Any kicking technique of the candidate's choice)

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Gakka (Scholarship)

Be prepared to answer any or all of the following questions:

n Describe the impact of traditional budō on society.
n What is the meaning of the name "Shisōchin"?
n What is the meaning of the name "Tomari-Bassai"?
n What is the meaning of the name "Naifanchi"?
n Other gakka questions to be announced ...

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Registration of Rank

NOTE:  all promotion tests in the art of karate-dō are conducted under the auspices of the Nippon Budō Seishin-Kan at one of its member dōjō or kenkyūkai.  The rankings awarded as a result of these tests are valid only among member dōjō of the Seishin-Kan, and should not be assumed to be transferable to any other dōjō or governing organisation.

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