The Path to Black Belt
By the time a student has reached black belt, they have spent hundreds, if not thousands of hours in the dojo (studio). Training in karate is not only a physical endeavor, it is a mental, moral, and emotional one as well. These elements derive from a common foundation in Japanese martial arts, Dō (the way). Learning to be calm in the face of adversity, humble in the face of achievement, and kind in the face of distress are all key to becoming a shodan (first degree black belt) in Shudokan Karate-Dō. The physical aspects of karate are not about learning to fight, and are only secondarily focused on self defense. Their true aim is to provide a catalyst for the development of one's character; building awareness of oneself through awareness of one's body.
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Beginner - White Belt
Our beginner courses are specifically designed to build the foundational skills necessary to make great karate-ka (karate practitioners). Over the course of the quarter, these skills will be tested and refined, making for fun - and effective - self defense instruction. With a strong focus on moral development, beginner classes aim not only to make strong martial artists, but also great people.
Intermediate - yellow - blue - orange - purple - green
As students progress into the intermediate ranks, they will begin to learn about more complex techniques and ideas. Each quarter students will tackle new exercises designed to develop coordination, discipline, and focus. At this point, karate-ka will also begin to spar in class, learning to face unpredictable situations with a calm mind. In order to progress through the intermediate ranks, students must not only practice hard in class, but also show they can act respectfully outside the dojo.
Advanced - Brown Belt
Brown belts have spent years practicing the "basics" of karate. When students reach the advanced level, they begin to learn what sets Shudokan apart from other styles. Training as a brown belt involves deep focus on the singular techniques and strategies developed by Hanshi Mack, his students, and his forebears. Through the time spent at brown belt, students show they have what it takes to wear the kuro-obi, and become black belts.
While earning a black belt begins as the goal for most, it is in fact only the beginning of what can be a lifelong journey. At Y.S.K. we are privileged to have black belts who have trained for decades in various martial arts. Black belts dive into new styles and strategies to expand their view beyond Shudokan. Our instructors continue to hone their own understanding of karate while bringing their extensive experience to the next generation. The path after black belt becomes a very personal one, but always involves giving back.