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An Overview

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History of Valley Shotokan

Background of Senior Instructor

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Members who are current in their S.K.A. membership dues may train, with the senior instructorís permission, at any S.K.A. affiliate dojo or club. S.K.A. members are also entitled to attend special trainings, seminars, and kyu tests (grading exams, which are recognized nationally).
Members also receive a student guide and a bimonthly newsletter at no additional cost. Please note that the seniorís permission may be required to participate in some S.K.A. activities.

In the Shotokan school, there are five ranks, kyu, of white belt and three ranks for brown belt. There are five degrees, or dans for black belt, beginning with first degree black belt, or Shodan and culminating at fifth degree black belt, or Godan, respectfully.
In martial arts terms, white belts are considered beginners, brown belts are intermediate students, whereas black belts are viewed as advanced practitioners.
          5th degree black, Godan
      4th degree black, Yodan
    3rd degree black, Sandan
  2nd degree black, Nidan
1st degree black, Shodan
    3rd kyu, 2nd kyu, 1st kyu
8th kyu, 7th kyu, 6th kyu, 5th kyu, 4th kyu

The attainment of a rank is not the true reason to begin the study of karate or any martial art. The process of achieving different ranks is, nonetheless, an established method of helping the student progress.
Each rank has itís own properties and unique qualities.
Beginning students will learn shortly that mental and technical improvement go hand in hand. In time, all those who train in karate will come to appreciate the merits of the ranking system.

In order to commemorate the birth and death of Master Gichin Funakoshi, adult kyu tests are conducted twice a year Ė in April and November, respectively.
The kids kyu tests are held only once a year in November.
Generally speaking, most adults who train on a regular basis advance one kyu per six-month period.

The younger members of the dojo usually advance one kyu for each year of dedicated karate practice. Both the adult and junior members receive a DVD copy of their exam. In addition, the kids receive a written certificate of rank. The videotapes not only help our members chart their progress through the years, but also help build a martial arts library.

Brown belts are required to attend five special trainings in order to qualify to take the black belt exam.

Special trainings are held twice a year and sponsored by our parent organization, Shotokan Karate of America.

Junior members must be at least 16 years of age to receive a black belt.