In the year of 2018, we will see many new Black Belt promotions in the West Raleigh location alone. The size of our Deputy Black Belt Class tells me that all across the Karate International organization; we are becoming more and more successful at helping students reach the goal of Black Belt.
Shortly after Black Belt, students often wonder what they are going to do for the next few years in their martial arts training. Karate International has a defined curriculum for everyone, even after Black Belt. We also have a teacher training program for students who reach Black Belt.
A 1st Degree Black Belt will spend the next year after their promotion, working on their skills as a Black Belt. The back of their class card will say 2 nd Degree Training Program. Then they will move on to their next 6 month skill set. They will learn new katas, new self-defense, new sparring techniques and new weapons forms.
Most 1st Degree Black Belts will begin some teacher training. They will start by picking a day to be an assistant in a particular class. In the West Raleigh school, Mr. Tsikos is in charge of setting that up. They begin by “buddy teaching”. A “buddy teacher” stands in line with all the other students in the class and does whatever is being taught in the class. They serve as the outstanding example of how to do the techniques that are being taught. Over time, the Black Belt begins to understand the process of how to teach.
The second year after their promotion to Black Belt, they are eligible to be in the group that focuses on promotion to 2nd Degree Black Belt in November of that year. There is a mandatory 2 year wait between the ranks of 1st and 2nd Degree Black Belt, as well as a 200 class minimum. The Black Belts who are working on 2nd Degree or higher, all work together and all get promoted together in November of every year.
The process is much the same for those moving from 2nd Degree Black Belt to 3rd Degree. We still have the same two, or more, year wait between ranks, as well as a 200 class minimum. In those two years, the Black Belts become proficient at all the new material, as well as teaching. The Red Uniform of a 3rd Degree Black Belt, indicates that they can be an instructor. We require all of our people working on promotion to 3rd Degree Black Belt to have some teaching experience to qualify for this advanced rank. In addition, a student must be at least 16 years old to achieve 3rd Degree Black Belt.
The process from 3rd Degree to 4th Degree follows a similar pattern. We require 3 years of active training and a 300 class minimum. In addition, a person who trains for promotion to 4th Degree Black Belt must be at least 21 years of age. There are students who also transition from Junior Black Belt to Senior Black Belt when their bodies are capable of working with adult partners. All of these things are taught in our Black Belt curriculum. We look forward to working with our new Black Belts for many years.