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

Black Belt (Yudansha)

This page presents the requirements for promotion in Shimabukuro-Ha Shitō-Ryū karate-dō to the rank of shodan-ho (provisional 1st dan).  At the Seishin-Kan, shodan-ho is signified by a black belt 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-ho, a candidate must meet all of the eligibility requirements listed below:

  n A minimum of thirty (30) months training in Shimabukuro-ha Shitō-Ryū karate-dō
  n A minimum age of 13 years**
  n Participate in a minimum of fifty (50) one-hour karate training classes since promotion to ikkyū.
  n Consistently exhibit satisfactory attitude and behaviour at home and school (youth).
  n Consistently exhibit appropriate attitude and behaviour in the dōjō
  n Submit a written request for promotion testing on the prescribed form
  ** A dan (black belt) ranking carries with it a number of formal and informal responsibilities, not the least of which is serving as sempai to all yūkyūsha and shoshinsha.  These responsibilities demand not only physical skills and knowledge, but a level of personal maturity and experience not possessed by those below the age of 13.

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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 the following jūhō:

n Obi-otoshi against  mae morote shime (frontal two-handed strangle)
  n Kata-otoshi against ushiro shime (rear strangle)
  n Other jūhō to be announced in 2019

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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 Saifa or Rōhai in dantai embu (synchronised group performance)
  n Seipai
  n Bassai Shō
  n Tenshō

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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 Seipai
  n Bassai Shō
  n Tenshō
  n Include at least three jūhō  ("soft techniques") among the ōyō demonstrated
  n Instruct and demonstrate Kihon Katachi Ichi, including an explanation of at least three major tactical principles it contains

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Tameshiwari (Test Breaking)

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

  n Shōtei Uchi (palm-heel strike)
n Mawashi Geri (turning/roundhouse kick)

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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 "Seipai"?
n What is the meaning of the name "Bassai Shō"?
n What is the meaning of the name "Tenshō"?
n Other gakka questions to be announced in 2022 ...

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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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If you are preparing to test and you are not sure you know or meet all the requirements described on this page, please be sure to ask your sempai or sensei during a class session.

Promotion Requirements

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