Congratulations! You have reached the rank of 1st Kyu or Brown belt.
This is the second most universally recognized belt in the martial arts next to Black belt.
You have come far and proven you are a student of perseverance, dedication, commitment and loyalty!
Okay, some thoughts about your training timeline going forward.
Junior Black Belt Pathway
Since every student trains and grows at their own pace, it is at my discretion, what path the student will take after receiving their brown belt. Age, desire, ability and maturity – are some of the key factors I look at in determining when a student is ready to test for their full black belt (Shodan).
In the past, I have had junior students who had to wait several years before being considered for testing. In most instances, these students lose motivation and end up dropping out of our program.
Now, I have the flexibility to move students forward that is appropriate to their abilities and allows us to recognize their hard work and effort. A junior black belt will have the same privileges as a full black belt, except for the status of rank.
There will be 3 levels of Junior Black belt:
Junior Black 1 – Junior Black 2 – Junior Black 3
Typically, there will be a one year gap in between these ranks. Again, this is not a “hard fast” rule. My evaluation always includes maturity, consistent class attendance, practice at home, level of fitness, attitude at home and in the dojo,
This new pathway ultimately gives me a lot of flexibility in determining when students test for their full black belt (Shodan) while insuring the student receives recognition and motivation to continue his black belt journey.
While SKS does not have an established minimum age for black belt, the general target age is 14. If I believe there is a student worthy of testing for Shodan, I will invite them. If not, they will then be chosen for the junior path.
Our belt system has built in flexibility for our adults too.
Most students will progress from brown belt (1st kyu) to recommended black and then to full black (Shodan). The time line is totally dependent on the students progress in their training and how well they execute their techniques. The timeline is typically 2 years from Brown belt (1st kyu), but like the junior students, class attendance, practice, loyalty to the dojo, execution of techniques are all factors in determining if the student is ready.
Black Belt Test
Starting with my next group of Black belt candidates, students will participate in a months long Black belt testing process, that will include journaling, fitness challenges, community service, acts of kindness and 3 separate testing challenges. It will also include a special dinner and extravaganza that all students and families will be invited to participate in.
My new Black belt candidate process is modeled off of the Ultimate Black Belt Test, which I participated in and passed two different years. The purpose of this testing process is to challenge the students intellectually, physically, mentally and spiritually.