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PerKr
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 23 Sep 2020
Posts: 5

Styles: Shotokan

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 10:08 am    Post subject: differing JKA Shotokan grading requirements? Reply with quote

Read another topic about a disrespectful student and reacted to the grade of said student and the kata this student was asked to perform. So I went on the internet to check whether the grading requirements were as I recalled them;

9th kyu (red belt): Taikyoko Shodan
8th kyu (orange belt): Heian Shodan
7th kyu (yellow belt): Heian Nidan
6th kyu (green belt): Heian Sandan

To my surprise, I find that there is a one grade difference in terms of what kata is used for grading within JKA and it's Swedish branch. Constant throughout the grading syllabus. A similar difference is there for the Kumite. And note the belt colors and order.
I don't think it's a huge deal in real life but it's odd that this difference is allowed to live on within JKA in a time when aligning the branches would be so easy. Is this difference due to a recent change in the JKA grading syllabus or has it always been this way?
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wildbourgman
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 26 Feb 2014
Posts: 171
Location: Louisiana
Styles: Shotokan/Shorin Ryu

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had noticed this too in the United states when I decided to join the JKA after many years of not being part of any organization. The JKA west coast, Northeast and Southern areas all had slightly different grading structures.

For instance in the Southern United States as far as I know they were not even teaching Taikyoko Shodan.
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1830

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2020 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It isnít surprising at all for schools belonging to the same lineage and governing body to have different evaluation criteria and grading structures. Everything depends on how the instructor decided to organize the curriculum. Some of the larger and more widespread martial arts organizations have a general curriculum from which regional directors decide the requirements for each grade or belt.
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SLK59
Member of the Month
Member of the Month

Joined: 05 Nov 2020
Posts: 50
Location: USA
Styles: Shotokan karate-do

PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back when I trained in JKA Shotokan during the 1970ís-80ís, the kyu grading kata requirements in the USA were:

8th kyu (white belt when I began, orange belt by the time I stopped): Heian Shodan
7th kyu (white belt when I began, orange belt by the time I stopped): Heian Nidan
6th kyu (green belt): Heian Sandan
5th kyu (green belt when I began, purple belt by the time I stopped): Heian Yondan
4th kyu (green belt when I began, purple belt by the time I stopped): Heian Godan
3rd kyu (brown belt): Tekki Shodan
2nd-1st kyu (brown belt): a favorite advanced kata - usually Bassai Dai or Kanku Dai

Note that there were no 10th or 9th kyu ranks back then. No one that I know of practiced or tested with any of the Taikyoku katas.

Looking at the current official JKA website, those requirements appear to have changed further since I last practiced, i.e. change over time. Then there is the fact that currently there are three different JKA affiliated organizations in the USA alone, i.e. a complicated history. I imagine that the situation is similar for Sweden and the many other JKA national affiliates. Finally, while the JKA does have a recommended belt color scheme, it appears that, as long as the kyu rank requirements themselves are adhered to, individual affiliated regions and dojos do have a bit of leeway in their choice of belt colors, with some sticking to the old white-green-brown-black system and others going for the current white-yellow-orange-green-blue-purple-brown-black arrangement, and still others something in between.

Cheers,
Scott
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Shotokan Karate of America, 2020-present
Japan Karate Association International USA, 1974-1990, Sandan
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