Advancing in Rank

STUDENT NOTEBOOK Table of Contents

When you begin your training at Red Sun Academy, everything can seem overwhelming at first. To make it easier, the material is taught in stages. Now, you can take one thing at a time. Otherwise, if you try to learn everything at once, you may become frustrated. Therefore, we have broken down the material one step at a time by earning each individual belt stripe.

To qualify to test for the next rank, you must earn five belt stripes:

1. Green (kata)

2. Blue (self-defense)

3. Red (technique)

4. Purple (contribution)

5. Black (attendance)

You can earn stripes in any order you choose, except for the red stripe. You must qualify to test for the red stripe. To do this, you must already have your green and blue stripes and be roughly ten classes shy of meeting your attendance requirements for the next rank.

When you feel ready to test for a belt stripe, make an appointment with Sensei. Each individual test for a belt stripe takes only about five minutes. If you pass, the teacher will place the colored tape on your belt.

Most students do not pass the first time they test for a belt stripe. Do not feel discouraged if you do not pass your belt stripe test. Testing is a learning process. Each time you test, it will be a little easier. You are learning how to act under pressure. If you are attacked on the street, you must act under pressure.

You can only test for one stripe a day unless Sensei gives you permission to test for additional stripes. If you test and do not pass, test again on another day.

Stripes are to be worn on the left side of the belt. Stripes indicating actual belt rank are worn on the right.

With this belt stripe system, you know exactly where you stand in your immediate training. You will know what you need to work on and how to set goals by working in stages.

When you earn a new belt, you will begin the belt stripe process all over again.

To earn your green stripe, you must perform your New Age and your traditional kata (if you are a white belt) and all prior katas (if you are not a white belt) without a mistake. Remember, when you test for your green stripe, you must perform the moves correctly the first time. The key here is that you must perform the moves without a mistake. There is no second try. Missing a ki-ai (karate yell) or stepping incorrectly will mean that you must test again. This does not mean the technique has to be mastered yet; that's what the red stripe is all about.

To earn your blue stripe, you must perform your 3 self-defense moves (and all prior self-defense moves if you are not a white belt) without a mistake on the first try. Keep in mind that you are not simply doing a series of moves, but that you are actually defending yourself. Your moves should have fire and speed and look real.

HE RED STRIPE (technique)
The red stripe tests technique. Once you have earned the green and blue stripe and are roughly ten classes shy of meeting your attendance requirements, you can test for the red stripe.

Remember that the red stripe on your belt means that you have mastered the technique for the rank you are testing for. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will be ready for your red stripe soon after you receive a new rank. The red stripe is usually one of the last stripes earned and the most challenging stripe to earn.

When you test for your red stripe, you will be tested in four areas:


Usually, Sensei will find something from the above four areas that you will need to work on. This will be written down for you. Keep that paper, practice hard on the areas you need to work on, and bring that paper with you when you retest for your red stripe. If you do not have your paper, you will have to take the entire test again. If you have your paper, you will only retest in the areas that need correction.


Being a martial artist involves more than training in only the physical. Mental training is equally, if not more, important. You must contribute something to the school, community, or to your family before advancing to a new rank. Please spend at least twenty minutes on your contribution, and it must not have been monetarily rewarded.

When you have made your contribution, tell Sensei either verbally or by placing a note on her desk (notes from parents of children are requested), and you will be awarded a purple stripe.

Ideas are as follows:


Adopt-A-Tot, or any white belt (orange belts and above only)

Tutor a child, helping him with homework

Replace dojo lights by ceiling

Paint dojo as needed

Adopt-A-Highway (Red Sun participates with this program)

Volunteer with the Chamber or Commerce or another organization

Items from Children's list below



Dust bookshelf

Clean window sills

Empty trash from bathrooms for one week

Vacuum rugs

Clean dojo floor

Sweep mats

Throw away trash from outside dojo

Visit an elderly person at a nursing home (read or telllthem a story)


Once you have met your attendance requirements, you have earned your black stripe. There is no test for this stripe. It is recommended that you attend at least two classes a week (or more, if you'd like!).


White Belts: 30 classes

Yellow Belts: 30 classes

Orange Belts: 60 classes

Green Belts: 60 classes

Blue Belts: 60 classes

Purple Belts: 60 classes

Brown Belts: 60-75 classes

High Brown Belts: 1 year of good attendance* (100 classes)

1st Degree Black Belt: 2 years of good attendance* & teaching (200 classes)

2nd Degree Black Belt: 3 years of good attendance* & teaching (300 classes)

3rd Degree Black Belt: 4 years of good attendance* & teaching (400 classes)

Students joining Red Sun Academy from other karate schools can have their past attendance from other schools count towards their attendance requirements. Teacher and student will discuss this.

*Good attendance means that the student attends at least two classes a week on average