Karate - How Often Do Your Kids Advance to the Next Belt/rank?

Updated on June 07, 2012
A.G. asks from Houston, TX
11 answers

Our dojo advances kids to new belts once a quarter. So no matter how good/bad you are (unless you are REALLY bad) you stay with the kids you started with pretty much the rest of your time there. Is that the same way at your dojo?

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So What Happened?

hhhmmmm....I was going to renew our contract but I am rethinking, and might be looking for a new dojo. I think our current one is holding my son back and I'm paying pretty good money for his classes.

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answers from Dallas on

My sons teacher does testing only with one colored belt at a time unless there is only one student with that belt color then he'll do both at the same time. But all the kids in my sons class advance differently, on their own time, on their own level. A child that started after my son, he just happens to be super good and has advanced past my son already. When they do testing, the teacher will tell parents/kids what they each individually need to know how to do to pass their test. If they don't pass or the student feels they aren't prepared, then they don't move up and/or they don't test at that time.

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answers from Colorado Springs on

You might ask the instructor why children are automatically graduated. I don't want to show contempt for your school, but there are martial arts schools which automatically advance students without necessarily having taught them thoroughly.

My son is working on a web site as his thesis - part of his work on his third degree black belt in Taekwondo. I'll give you the link (but the site is a work in progress) to the page where you will find his point of view. Some of his pages apply to all martial arts instruction.


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answers from San Antonio on

Ours is once a quarter as well (tang soo do). The instructor will NOT pass anyone who does not know the forms or the handbook, however. They have classes 2x a week, organized by belts.



answers from San Antonio on

Our school tests once a quarter as well...you have to be invited to test...then upper ranked black belts from other schools come and score the testing. I like this as it seems more impartial, they don't know the kids and can really score their learning.

Typically our owner/instructor only invites students to test that he knows without a shadow of a doubt will pass...because he doesn't want a student to fail testing and not want to continue with classes. But I have had both my children occasionally not be asked to test as they are just not ready to progress. I have noticed it does even out and they will catch up with peers who go faster at times and slower at times.

I will say I have not had either child of mine test and fail...but considering the scoring is done by instructors not from our studio and then the paperwork has to go to headquarters and be processed and recorded before belt ceremony...about three weeks to find out pass/fail.

I only want my kids to progress if they have really learned the skills...if my son doesn't know joint holds number 1 through 20 in any order then he doesn't deserve that next stripe, etc...

Right now my son is a "black belt candidate" and can earn four to twelve stripes before he is ready to test for black belt. When he is ready he will have to test before our association's grand master...which means driving to another city. Our owner/instructor is not going to send him until he is really ready...

Good luck if you decide to change schools...I think our association has schools in the Houston area. PM me if you are interested.



answers from Dallas on

My son's dojo tests for belt advancement once per quarter. They have to have permission to test (must have so many hours of class attendance, plus participation in a tournament or extra "camp", plus a good attitude, plus good grades). Belt advancement is based on a 30-45 minute test where they show their conditioning, knowledge of all the strikes, blocks, kicks, and punches they have learned up to that point, and an oral quiz on the history and philosophy of karate.



answers from Houston on

As long as a student knows (to the best of their ability) their pattern, testing is every three months. To go from brown to be able to test for black is about a year. Overall, to go from white to black takes three years minimum. Fortunately, there are no contracts or automatic withdrawals, just pay one month at a time.



answers from Seattle on

Nope. Ours has tests whenever kids are ready, but they also all train together. The highest a kid can go, though, is Jr. Blackbelt. Then at age 14 they can take the brown belt & black belt tests. Blackbelt in our school (aikido), is also known as 'serious beginner'.

There are also minimum class reqs. Aka white to yellow is 22. Our dojo has classes MWF so some get that in 3 weeks, others not for 22 weeks. The higher the belt, the longer the training classes required (55, 76, etc)



answers from Honolulu on

My daughter who is 9, takes Karate.
Advancement to another belt, is according to the child's competence of their Katas and routines, and if the child has good attendance to class which means dedication to it.
EACH belt color, has a different set of "Kata" or katas, to learn and be competent in. And the child, has to know the Japanese terminology of each Kata.

Some martial arts schools, "promote" the kids, according to real skill... or, according to the kids ALL being promoted so that a kid doesn't feel left out. As you describe your kids' karate school. But, if a child is advanced to another belt color ranking, just so that ALL the kids don't feel left out, it means that the child may or may not be competent in their skills. It does NOT... reflect REAL skill or competence in their Katas or "Kumite" skills.

At my daughter's Karate school, kids are also promoted according to skill and knowledge of their rules and dojo philosophy. And being able to do it.
If a child is not competent in it, they do not advance.

Dojos vary, in how they advance the kids. And it also varies per what type of Marital Art it is.

At my daughter's Karate Dojo, they do not have "testing" or belt promotions, every quarter. It is once or twice a year at most. And in between that, they may be given testing of their skills. Surprise tests.
There are also different degrees, for different belt colors.

My daughter's Karate Dojo, is comprised of many different levels and belts. And of all ages from kids to adults. Students are advanced according to real skill and competence in it.



answers from Houston on

At my son's school, they advance about every 3 months. It is based on the number of classes they attend and how they are doing with their forms and combinations. Once they get into the upper belts, they are really particular about their ability and behavior.

His school also offers a curriculum camp at Spring Break and once in the summer. It's a 4 day, 4 hours per day, high intensity training class focusing on the next belt level the student is trying to obtain. At the end of it, the child advances to the next belt level after they are tested and observed by the teachers. It costs extra, but in the long run can end up saving the parents money, because the student advances through belts faster.


answers from Washington DC on

In Tae Kwon Do - our Do Jung has 8 to 10 week cycles for promotion so that the kids learn the next step...

No. Our Do Jung does NOT promote children or adults who have NOT passed the test. If they did - then I would have problem with that - as not everyone progresses or learns at the same rate.

It took my son 5 years to get his 1st Degree Black Belt. He's now working on his 2nd Degree Black Belt - the steps are harder and more complex and there is more with community service as well as grades in school that are considered in the Black Belt promotions at our Do Jung.



answers from Chicago on

My son's dojo tests twice per year. The average kid will advance approximately one belt/rank per year. Those who train harder or are more talented will advance faster.