For Students

Student Development

Karate Rank and Testing

The Shotokan Karate Napier Club is dedicated to developing our youth and adult students to a high level of ability in all aspects of Shotokan Karate-do. Regular training, seminars & camps, competitions and examinations are all important parts of achieving that goal.

We are a proud member of SIA-New Zealand. As such, all ranks are officially recorded with the SIA and recognized by traditional karate organisations throughout the world.

Coloured belts and karate ranks are awards of recognition presented to indicate the progress of the student in mastering the mental and physical aspects of karate. All students start with white-belts, signifying that they are beginners. With regular, focused practice it takes between three and five years to earn a black-belt.

Since all students are individuals with different potential and rates of development, it is essential that, for testing, one student not be compared to another. Grading should only be used as a tool to measure each students’ own individual improvement. The true opponent, in testing and karate in general, is yourself.

The examiner grades the student on many factors, including:
• Form (kata)
• Basic techniques (kihon)
• Sparring (kumite)
• Correct timing, distance and judgement
• Mental, physical and emotional strength
• Etiquette and manners

As a student progresses towards black-belt, the following factors are also taken into consideration:

• Character
• Training attitude and commitment
• Hours of training
• Age
• Individual handicaps and limitations

Karate progress is individually paced. All of the students will not be ready to test at every test. Parents, please help your child understand that it is OK if they don’t test every time an exam is held. Students are only allowed to take an exam when they are technically ready, and also ready emotionally to assume the responsibilities of the next rank.

Fees and Frequency
The examination fee is $30.00 NZ per test, and includes an association patch (after the first exam), an international Certificate of Rank, and a new Coloured Youth students are nominated by the instructor for examination and generally test every three-four months up to Purple-belt/ black-stripe and every six months after that. Adult students are eligible to test every three months up to 4th kyu and every six months after that.

However, students that train at a very high rate may be nominated to test more frequently. In addition to their regular training, students at green belt level and higher are expected to participate in two competitions or special training sessions per year.

Please click on the links below to see test criteria:

Youth Test Criteria

SIA – Adult Test Criteria

SIA – Black-belt Test Criteria




Dojo Etiquette


Please Note: As a traditional dojo, this club strives to create an environment that is conducive to learning a martial art. All students are expected to follow the following rules of conduct.

• Be punctual for class.
• Bow when entering and leaving the dojo and workout area.
• Always refer to the senior instructor as Sensei.
• Always treat the dojo, your instructor (sensei), senior students (sempai), peers and junior students (kohai) with respect.
• There is no fooling around in the dojo.
• Keep your uniform (gi) clean and in good repair. Carry your belt inside an equipment bag or rolled inside your uniform.
• Practice good hygiene. Keep your finger and toe nails clean and trimmed.
• For safety, do not wear jewelry, watches or rings during training.
• No eating, drinking, or chewing gum in class.
• Be attentive and alert in class. Don’t lounge about, talk or walk in a casual manner during class or warm-ups. If asked by the sensei to move from one area to another the rule is, “…more then two steps – run!”
• Do not leave class without permission.
• Be prepared to help the dojo, your sensei, and your fellow students while at the dojo.
• Most important – train hard! Mentally prepare to push yourself, and to be pushed, every time you train.