Black belts and Dan grades are grades for advanced practitioners of Budo. Budo is a collective name, which implies a number of Japanese Martial Arts. During the last decades these Martial Arts developed into fighting sports, of which Judo even received Olympic status. The name of a Practitioner of Budo is “Budoka”.

First Dan black belt will be awarded after passing the examination for this grade. In truth it really means that one has successfully mastered the basic techniques of this Budo discipline.

When beginners start in Kyokushin they will wear a white belt. After white belt, and by improving the skills and techniques, the following grades are:

10th and 9th Kyu grade:             Orange belt color
8th   and 7th Kyu grade:             Blue belt color
6th   and 5th Kyu grade:             Yellow belt color
4th   and 3rd Kyu grade:             Green belt color
2nd   and 1st Kyu grade:             Brown belt color

The next grade that follows after 1st Kyu is first Dan black belt color. It means that mastering the basic techniques has been  completed.

First Dan grade is recognized by a black belt with one gold bar at the tip of the belt.

Second Dan grade is recognized by a black belt with two gold bars at the tip of the belt, etc. The period of training required to grow from 10th Kyu until 1st Dan grade will be approximately 5 years, while training 3 to 4 times a week. The required time can differ, depending on talent and skills of the individual student.

The minimum period between 1st Kyu and 1st Dan is 1 year.
From 1st Dan to 2nd Dan 2 years.
From 2nd Dan to 3rd Dan 3 years.
From 3rd Dan to 4th Dan 4 years.
5th Dan and up depends on the age and activities in and for the KWF.
Intensive training, in those years between examinations, is required if one wishes to take part in any Dan grade examination. 
          
If one fails in the examinations than it’s possible to do examination again, the following year, and so on. It’s not allowed to skip attending the Summer Schools or Trainings- Camps in the meantime.

The “Kyokushin World Federation” holds these examinations via appointed Representatives Worldwide. Mostly ones per year during International Karate Kyokushin Summer Schools / Camps.

The following will be tested:
-        Basic techniques, condition and stamina
-        Kata
-        Tameshi wari
-        Kumite and fighting spirit

In the “Kyokushin World Federation” the Representative or Country Representative will be responsible for his / her students, he / she also can examine them if:
-        They have the permission of the KWF Board
-        They are at least 2 Dan grades higher then the examination candidate’s.
-        They will follow the above-mentioned regulations and KWF Syllabus
-        The student is a member of the KWF.

How to prepare your students for Dan examinations?

It’s important for each Country Representative or Representative or his / her Assistant to give monthly a central trainings session for the whole National Organization. In this way he / she will be able to guarantee the required level when his / her student(s) will take part in the examinations. The Country Representative has to fill in, and sign, a recommendation form for his / her student (s).

Before the Summer school / Camp starts, the Examination Committee will study the list of proposed participants and decides whether one is allowed to take part in the examinations of that particular year.

For 2nd and 3rd Dan grade it’s mandatory to:
- Stay active in Karate training.
- If possible take part in tournaments and or Kata Championships.
- Be active as Judge or Referee at Tournaments and take part in Judge/Referee   

Courses on National and International level.
- Be active in and for the Federation National as well as International.

For 4th Dan and up:
Can be in general obtained by continuous training and instructing in Kyokushin, working in and for the Federation, doing more and more important things for the Federation.

For instance becoming a Board Member of the Federation and or becoming an International Instructor or International Referee. The construction of strategic plans for growth of the “Kyokushin World Federation”.

Consequently: Karateka’s with high Dan grades are, in general, not anymore super fighters. These are people who, because of their dedication to Kyokushin, have become very valuable in other ways.

As a token of gratitude and recognition for their efforts these persons can be awarded with a higher Dan grade. Also this will be sometimes possible by Government recognized National Sport Federations or National Olympic Committees.

It’s not possible that persons who are not a member of such official Federations or Organizations will be awarded with a higher Dan grading.

Dan grades can be divided in two categories:

Ad 1. An International KWF Dan grade

The most valuable grade in Kyokushin. National as well as International.

Ad 2. An Honorary KWF Dan grade

This grade can be awarded to persons who are important for the "Kyokushin World Federation". In a number of cases they are not (or not anymore) actively participating in the sport themselves.

 

Loek Hollander, 
KWF President

                                                                                      
Antonio Pinero,
KWF Chairman