History of Karate

Karate (空手) is a martial art developed in the Ryukyu Islands from indigenous fighting methods and Chinese kenpō.  It is primarily a striking art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands and ridge-hands. Grappling, locks, restraints, throws, and vital point strikes are taught in some styles.

In Karate,, kyū-level practitioners hold the ranks below dan or black belt.

  • 10. Jūkyū (十級:じゅうきゅう) – White belt
  • 9. Kukyū (九級:くきゅう) – Red belt
  • 8. Hachikyū (八級:はちきゅう) – Orange belt
  • 7. Nanakyū, Shichikyū (七級:ななきゅう, しちきゅう) – Yellow belt
  • 6. Rokkyū (六級:ろっきゅう) – Green belt
  • 5. Gokyū (五級:ごきゅう) – Purple belt
  • 4. Yonkyū (四級:よんきゅう) – Purple white belt
  • 3. Sankyū (三級:さんきゅう) – Brown belt
  • 2. Nikyū (二級:にきゅう) 2nd Brown belt
  • 1. Ikkyū (一級:いっきゅう) Brown white belt

When you pass your dan grading you have gained your ‘shodan’ or first degree black belt, you follow the ranking system below:

  • shodan (初段:しょだん): first degree black belt
  • nidan (二段:にだん): second degree black belt
  • sandan (三段:さんだん): third degree black belt
  • yondan (四段:よだん): fourth degree black belt
  • godan (五段:ごだん): fifth degree black belt
  • rokudan (六段:ろくだん): sixth degree black belt
  • nanadan (七段:ななだん): seventh degree black belt (also, shichidan)
  • hachidan (八段:はちだん): eighth degree black belt
  • kyuudan (九段:くゅだん): ninth degree black belt
  • jūdan (十段:じゅうだん): tenth degree black belt