An important step in the study of karate is testing for your next belt. The successful completion of each test brings the student one step closer to becoming a black belt and students must demonstrate knowledge of certain skills before testing for the next level.
The specific skills required for each belt level are listed in the Student Progress Manual that each new student receives on their first day of class. An instructor or Hanshi Madani will discuss with each student when they should expect to test for their next belt.
The Belt Testing Process
There are eight Kyu (color) belt tests and two Dan (black) tests available per year. The date of the test will be posted a minimum of 2 months before each test and when you have obtained the necessary number of stripes (see below) to qualify to test, you will be given a testing application around two weeks prior to your testing date.
Following the test, each student is evaluated by an instructor and provided a copy of the written evaluation. This evaluation is confidential and is for the use of the student and the student’s family only. Scoring may vary depending on the evaluator and individual students, and should not be used as a basis for comparison among students as students are evaluated as individuals.
Suggestions of things to improve before the next test are provided. Upon successful completion of a belt test, the students are presented a new belt at the testing date and a certification of the rank, usually at the next class.
IMA’s Belt Stripe System
Throughout the year, students are awarded different colored stripes that are added to their belts. These stripes are a way to help the student understand their progress towards their next belt and also a way to celebrate their successes, hard work, and karate spirit.
- Black Stripes
Black stripes are awarded to students by their instructors when the students have demonstrated skill in the techniques they have been working on. The black stripe acts as a progress report allowing the student and the instructor to know how each student is progressing and each black stripe shows that the student has worked in class, practiced well, and understands the required techniques to the best of his/her ability.
- Red Stripes
Red stripes are a tradition started by IMA to honor students who demonstrate positive character outside of class.
- Yellow Stripes
are awarded to those students who show improvement in their scholastic records or those who have strong academic records.
- Blue Stripes
Blue stripes are awarded to students who have demonstrated extra effort, focused well in class, have been courteous and respectful, and have set a good example of positive attitude and good spirit.
The stripe system is explained in more detail in the Student Progress Manual.