Promotion and Grading

10th Kyu

Yellow Belt
(12 and under)

9th Kyu

Orange Belt

8th Kyu

Blue Belt

7th Kyu

Red Belt

6th Kyu

Purple Belt

5th - 4th Kyu

Green Belt

3rd - 1st Kyu

Brown Belt


1st Degree Black Belt

Criteria for Shodan

Certified first degree Black Belts in the Pacific Karate Organization must be a minimum of 18 years of age. Individuals under the age of eighteen may achieve the rank of Shodan-ho (probationary black belt) and re-test for Shodan at the age of eighteen. Testing criteria for Shodan and Shodan-ho are the same. Candidates for Shodan-ho must exhibit the same exemplary attributes of character as required for Shodan. These characteristics of Karate-do are cultivated and displayed in the following ways:

Diligence in training. Positive attitude. Humility. Good instructional skills. Serves as an example for students of lower rank. Supports dojo functions. Understands that all their actions, whether public or private, reflect on their family, Instructor, dojo, the Pacific Karate Organization and the culture of traditional Karate.

Junior Black Belt (Shodan-Ho)

Many of our junior students have outstanding physical skills and a sound knowledge of the Shito-ryu system. Some will have trained in traditional Karate for 10 to 12 years by the time they reach their middle teens. These students would not have advanced without developing a solid karate basic and a strong sense of inner discipline. Their leadership within the dojo serves as an example for students of all ages. Young people who have attained this high degree of expertise in Karate-do may be candidates for the rank of Shodan-ho.

A characteristic of adulthood is the willingness to assume the responsibility for the values of our society and culture. Maturity is as much a function of accountability and responsibility as it is age and experience. Values cultivated in the protected environment of the dojo, however, must be tested and seasoned by life. While we consider Junior Black Belts to be individuals in whom the foundation for adulthood is clearly formed, formal recognition of a student's ability to shoulder the commitment and freedom of adulthood is withheld until the child comes of legal age.

Nidan, Sandan, Yondan, Godan -- Second through Fifth Degree Black Belt:

Testing shall be done before representatives of the Pacific Karate-do Shito-ryu Kai. Individuals must be able to teach all aspects of the Pacific Karate Organization basic curriculum. In addition they must show an emerging knowledge of the advanced training concepts of Shito-ryu karate.

Nidan and above must be knowledgeable in all phases of dojo operation and shall be accountable to assigned areas of responsibility within their individual dojos and the Pacific Karate Organization. Referee certification is encouraged.

Black Belts, regardless of grade, are accountable to the principles and values of traditional Karate-do. They serve as representatives of the Pacific Karate Organization both on the training floor and in their community. They carry within them the seeds of an historic culture that has been handed from one generation to another over hundreds of years. A true Black Belt understands that the pathway to perfection never ends. For a Black Belt, the commitment to training is far more than personal, it is a commitment to the betterment of mankind.