What are gradings?

As with many martial arts, a belt system is used in Solis Ortus Karate to show the progress and proficiency of students.  Belts are earned through their proven dedication to training in combination with an examination (grading).  Students progress from Novice through the coloured Kyu grades (9th to 1st Kyu) to Black Belt (1st Dan).  Learning Karate is unlimited and 1st Dan Black Belt is only the first in a series of Black Belt grades.  Gradings under Solis Ortus take place under Sensei Eugene oosthuizen  (5th Dan)and his Grading Panel   every 6 months . (Twice a year)

Solis Ortus  students (karateka) will be eligible to grade providing they have fulfilled all technical requirements, hold a current JKA Life book and have appropriate permission.

At every grading, there are always a lot of emotions from parents and karateka. Misunderstanding the grading process and the meaning thereof always creates contentious issues. Karate is a sport of discipline, especially self discipline.

Self discipline is learned by becoming a disciplined karateka. Each karateka is a student of the discipline called Karate. Within Karate, there are certain grades of competency that is represented by the different coloured belts.

These belts are White, Yellow 1, Yellow, Orange 1, Orange, Green 1, Green, Blue 1, Blue, Purple1, Purple, Red1, Red, Brown 1, Brown 2, Brown, Q3, Q2, Q1. Thereafter, the Karate student may grade for his Shodan or first black belt during the national grading by SAJKA.

For a teacher of Karate, it is important to regular measure the progress of the students. This requires the evaluation of the student’s competency level and to make sure that the student has mastered the expected outcomes of his current syllabus. Karate is no different than school, college or university.

In June and November of each year, the karate student has the choice to subject him/herself to an examination that is called GRADING. During this process, the karate student is examined by means of a practical EXAMINATION of what he/she has been taught during that half year. The examination is based on pre determined outcomes that is required for each level. When a student complies with the syllabus requirements he/she is examined on, the student then progress to a higher level.

This examination is done under examination conditions by a panel of karate teachers. During this session, only the karate students and the examiners are present. No audience is allowed during the examination. In the past it was found that it negatively affected the student’s concentration which inturn affected his/her grading negatively. The students are more nervous and cannot give their best when an audience is present.

All karate students are normally divided into three age categories, being: Small children, children and seniors. The syllabus is applied differently to each of these groups. It is more difficult for the small children to master the outcomes of each level than it is for the older children or seniors group. It is extremely important to make sure that the foundation of karate is properly established. This is done during the White to Green belt levels.

Some parents are upset and feel that their children do not progress quickly enough if they do not grade to full colour belts on each grading. It must be realised that there are belt levels between eachcolour belts and that each of these levels represents a level of outcomes that must be mastered beforethey continue with the next level.

The small children do not master these levels in the same time as the older children and the same again between the older children and the seniors. It was found that if the small children’s foundation is not laid properly during the white to green belt levels, their development at brown and kuy levels are negatively affected as the foundation was not properly laid. The student was chasing belt colours and not perfection in karate. This normally leads with the student loosing interest and not continuing with karate.

With the older children, progress varies depending on the commitment the student has towards hiskarate. The student is then rewarded with quicker progress during grading provided that his examination result is on the correct level. This means that the older children can be examined for two syllabuses at the same examination and therefore skip one belt. This however will only happen if the examinators are satisfied that the student has mastered the required teqniques at the higher level.

This is normally instantly identified during the first evaluation at the grading.

The examination requirements for seniors are different than that for children. Seniors are examined on full colour belt syllabuses. This combines the children syllabuses into one syllabus per belt colour.The outcomes required for seniors are the same as that for children for the same colour belt. As a rule, seniors do master the techniques in a much shorter time as children and are therefore progressing quicker than children.

There is this miss conception that when a student receives his Shodan (first black belt) that he/she has achieved the top in Karate. KARATE REALLY ONLY STARTS THEN!

Each karate teacher has the responsibility that before a student is recommended for Shodan examination that he/she is mentally matured and physically able to defend him/herself successfully applying the techniques expected as is required from a Shodan. A child is not capable of this as they do not have the size or the strength to fend off an adult. Children are only getting to this level of maturity at the ages of between 14 and 16 years. Even though that SAJKA allows children of 12 years to grade for their Shodan, each karate teacher also has a responsibility towards each student in this matter.

Quality of karate performance comes through repetitive training until each technique is embedded in the student. A good name for it is “muscle responsiveness”. This is where the muscle response of the student is automatic. So many times on competitions you see children with black belts but there technical ability is limited and not on the standard expected of a black belt. This normally is the result of chasing belts and not mastering the basic building blocks of karate properly on each level. Progress slower, but make sure that each level is properly mastered. It is about discipline transforming to self discipline resulting in success.

Parents, you will see the results of our training methods when your children are reaching the senor belt stages. Remember that karate is not just a sport it becomes a way of living.”

Est telum se defendere