NZ Chidokan has a grading system, in which anyone who conscientiously practices, can advance.
However, the grade system does not exist for itself alone, it is intended to stimulate the desire to progress further and to build up self confidence.
Pupils are warned against letting themselves be carried away by the grades as such. It could be humiliating to attempt to attain a grade for which you lack the required strength.
To do so nothing to do with the real desire to progress, it is sheer vanity – the very thing we are training ourselves away from.
We should train with the idea of bettering ourselves, both in technique and in character. By continual training, we automatically raise ourselves from one grade to a higher one, as our technique improves.
But we should never forget that karate is designed to develop the WHOLE person and not just the physical side. It is quite possible for a pupil to be at the right standard for the next grade and yet still be inferior in his mental approach.
Therefore, it must be appreciated that time is a vital factor for grading requirements, especially at the advanced level.
The novice begins karate do training at Chidokan wearing a shirobi (white belt). As the pupil’s knowledge, ability and attitude improves promotion is indicated by the right to wear a different colour obi. These coloured obis are referred to as KYU GRADES.
It is interesting to note that as one’s knowledge and understanding of the art deepens, so too does the hue of the obi worn.
From its beginning in 1955 through to 1972 Chidokan adhered to a five dan black belt system. The highest grade possible being that of Godan. Kancho Sasaki explained that this was because up until his death, Master Funakoshi had never graded anyone higher than that of Godan. Kancho Sasaki stated, “ Who are we to grade higher than the Master”.
However, the build up of senior dan grade members within Chidokai and pressure from the Japan Karate do Federation brought about a change to a ten dan grade system. To give an example of the log jam the five dan system was creating. Kancho Sims Sensei held the rank of Godan for thirteen years before being granted promotion in 1990.
Each karate organisation is able to issue Kyu and Dan rank to its members. Usually, the more senior Dan grade members of the organisation make up the Grading Panel.
In years gone by it was only possible to receive advanced Dan promotion by traveling to Japan and studying under one of the Masters. Now, we are fortunate to have karate Masters in almost every country in the world, including New Zealand.
N.Z. National Grading Panel Members (2012)
Jack Sims NZ Chidokan Kancho (Kudan - 9th dan Black Belt)
Neil Parker NZ Chidokan Shihan (Hachidan - 8th dan Black belt)
Gene Browne Hombu Dojo Sensei (Rokudan - 6th dan Black Belt)
Simon Merrick Hombu Dojo Sensei (Godan - 5th dan Black Belt)
Chris Hall Papatotoe Dojo Sensei (Yondan - 4th dan Black Belt)
1. In general, Kyu gradings are open to spectators. Dan gradings are not.
2. The number of months/years of karate training, plus your Instructor’s
recommendation wiII determine eligibility for grading examination at each
3. A grading application form (Kyu examination) must be submitted at least
three days prior to . the examination date. All criteria stipulated on this form
must be adhered to.
4. Each applicant will be required to perform to the very best of their ability,
selected technique from the syllabus, involving kihon, kata and kumite.
5. Special conditions apply to DAN grading examinations, which are available
at the time of application.