GRADES OF KEMPO GENBU RYU Karate
The Belt grades of Kempo Genbu Ryu remain within the original Five (5) Kyu Grade system of Kempo. However in lieu of the teaching syllabus and methods of teaching every Kyu Grade has a Kyu Level within it. This is explained below and is used to separate more advanced students within each Kyu Grade.
Juniors receive the Kyu Level in the form of a white stripe through their belt prior to being eligible in wearing a solid (solid colour) Kyu Grade Belt. Adults will wear a solid Kyu Grade belt and then will need to qualify for a senior Kyu Grade in the way of a coloured belt with a black stripe through the belt. Once this is achieved the student may then progress to qualify for the next Kyu Grade. Qualifying for a Belt basically means attendance in class, technical & mental skill & maturity for the grade being targeted at, via a physical and mental grading system.
Note: Belts are earned through physical training and development of mind and spirit not just by attending a number of classes. A formal grading process does take place in the art of Kempo Ryu to ascertain far more than technique and attitudes. True students of Karate Do understand the value of formal gradings and respect far more than the belt once they partake in a formal grading. They begin to understand who they are as people and what they can achieve in Life and it begins to open the window of what true Karate training is teaching them - it teaches them about Life and themselves
Shodan 1st Dan Sempai Title
Nidan 2nd Dan Sempai Title
Sandan 3rd Dan Sensei Title
Yondan 4th Dan Sensei Title
Godan 5th Dan Shihan Title
Rokudan 6th Dan Shihan Title
Nanadan 7th Dan Shihan Title
Hachidan 8th Dan Shihan Title
Kyudan 9th Dan Shihan Title
Judan 10th Dan Kancho Title
(only Kancho can be 10th Dan)
The Black Belt in Kempo Genbu Ryu (like most styles) is the pinnacle of one's achievements in Karate training, however when one does achieve this grade he/she will begin to realise this is truly the beginning.
Whilst Shodan is achieved the learning starts from the beginning where the new Shodan (Yudansha - Black Belt holder) begins to now refine and tailor the art from the beginning into a journey of perfecting the application.
It is not easy being a Black Belt, as being one throws the responsibility to person that every action is timed, thought of and practiced over a thousand of times - every action. When we mean every action we mean 'every' action including in the outside world, at work, at school, with friends, with family.
It is tough as a true Black Belt measures and refines constantly everything they do. This is NOT to say or give an illusion that Black Belts are not infallible, they are human and mistakes will always occur. It does mean that true Black Belts are constantly refining themselves and constantly working on self improvement and that of others around them.
Time frames from grade to grade are as follows, depending on students attitude and determination in perfection of technique and character. Bear in mind these time frames are guidelines only and not set in policy, the truly important part is the learning and understanding of the martial art. Minimum approximate timeframes are:
White to Yellow - 6 months
Yellow to Orange - 6 months
Orange to Blue - 6 months
Blue to Purple - 6 months
Purple to Brown - 8 months
Brown to Shodan - 12 months
(Brown to Shodan-Ho)
Shodan to Nidan 1-2 years
Nidan to Sandan 2-3 years
Sandan to Yondan 3-4 years
Yondan to Godan 4-5 years
Godan to Rokudan 5-6 years
Rokudan to Nanadan 6-7 years
Nanadan to Hachidan 7-8 years
Hachidan to Kyudan 8-9 years
Kyudan to Judan 9-10 years
Students who are under the age of 17 years can be graded up to the rank of Shodan Ho, When they reach the age of 17 years they may attempt the rank of Shodan. This will distinguish the rank of junior Black Belts from the senior Black Belts (who become an instructor 1st Dan etc).
Note: Students who are 14 years old and above will qualify to participate in a Shodan Ho grading, and when they achieve the age of 17 years old and above may attempt a Shodan (1st DAN) grading. Students under the age of 14 years can only achieve a Junior Shodan Ho (Black Belt with a white stripe) until they can qualify (14yrs plus) for a Shodan Ho grading. Maturity and experience plays a large role in wearing a Black Belt let alone wearing any shade of Black Belt being a Probationary Black Belt or a Full Black Belt.
Whilst our intention is to get as many of our students to the Black Belt level it must be understood a Black Belt is a special grade therefore, skill, age and maturity plays important side to this grade. At times people may witness individuals wearing a Black Belt and lacking is skill and/or age and/or maturity and in same cases all three are lacking. Our goal is to teach everyone that the standard of Black Belt cannot be reduced to accommodate the individual rather the individual needs to step to the mark to the standard of what a Black Belt is capable.
Black Belts will have the above grading periods as a minimum however in the Kempo Genbu Ryu organisation only one individual will hold the rank of Kancho and the other ranks of will keep their title of Shihan. When the Kancho of the organisation was promoted to this grade in 2023 the other Sensei / Shihan(s) may be promoted to a higher rank below Kancho’s grade. Therefore, the rank of Judan will be awarded to the head of the organisation when the grade requirements have been met. This rank will be the only rank within the organisation and all other Black Belt holders will be eligible to achieve a rank up to the Kyudan grade.
Eligibility for Dan grades involves continual training, skill, teaching and a supportive contribution to the Kempo Ryu Way and to that of the overall Martial Arts community.