Grading is the term that refers to the physical test a karate student must pass before being promoted
to the next rank, (belt color). Your grading is a very important part of your karate training, this is the
time when everything that you have learned and practiced is put to the test. Your grading will determine
if you have improved enough to be able to advance to the next level. Within our karate system there are
9 different ranks. From white belt through purple belt each rank is made up of three levels, (stripes).
Students must train for a minimum of one month before earning stripes/ have earned three stripes
before being allowed to grade for the next rank. There is also a minimum number of classes that a
student is required to attend before grading. Any student wishing to test for the next rank must be a
member in good standing of our national association.
For membership applications to the
Shito-Ryu Shukokai Karate-Do Union USA please see your instructor. All students testing for a higher
rank are required to present an Official SSU-USA Grading Syllabus booklet to the Grading Officer
conducting the test. Grading books are available from your instructor.
A grading fee may be charged for each belt test.
White, Yellow, Orange and Green belt - Stripes / 6 - 8 classes.
Grading / Minimum 3 months training since last grading.

Blue and Purple belt - Stripes / 12-16 classes.
Grading / Minimum 6 months training since last grading.
White belt to Yellow belt

First stripe
From heiko dachi 4 basics blocks  upper, outside, inside and lower.

Second stripe
From zenkutsu dachi basic punches & kicks:
Front hand punch, reverse punch, lunge punch, back fist, front kick, side thrust kick to knee.

Third stripe
Kata Juniho (Taikyoku shodan) or Shihostuki (under 8 years old)
Yellow belt to Orange belt

First stripe
From zenkutsu dachi / back fist followed by reverse punch and thrust.
From motto dachi / "A" combinations 1A through 4A.

Second stripe
From front stance / side kick, round house kick and outside crescent kick.

Third stripe
Kata Heinan Nidan.
Orange belt to Green belt

First stripe
From heiko dachi - step back into zenkutsu dachi demonstrate 4 basic blocks /upper,outside, inside, lower.

Second stripe
From front stance /back kick chudan level roundhouse kick and inside crescent kick jodan level.

Third stripe
Kata Heinan Shodan.
Green belt to Blue belt

First stripe
From heiko dachi stepping back 45% to cat stance,
knife hand block, shift to front stance, reverse punch and thrust.
From heiko dachi stepping back 45% to side stance,
lower sweep shift to front stance, reverse punch and thrust.

Second stripe
From motto dachi foot sweep reverse punch and foot sweep roundhouse kick.

Third stripe
Kata Heinan Sandan
Blue belt to Purple belt

First stripe
From motto dachi demonstrate all "A" combinations.

Second stripe
From front stance kicking combinations:                           
Front kick (chudan) followed by roundhouse kick jodan
Leading leg roundhouse kick jodan followed by back kick chudan.

Third stripe
Kata Heinan Yondan and Heinan Godan.
Purple belt to 3rd Brown belt

First stripe
From motto dachi demonstrate all "B" combinations.

Second stripe
From front stance lift front foot while doing one leg front fist punch
set front foot back down to front stance followed by reverse punch and thrust.
From front stance demonstrate reverse punch rush
punch, step punch, step punch and thrust (3 punches in 2 steps).

Third stripe
Kata Sanchin and Juroku
The stripes worn on a brown or black belt denote the actual rank of the student,
each stripe is awarded after successfully passing a formal grading.
Below are the requirements for earning stripes within each belt rank.
The following recommendations are from the SSU-USA Chief Instructor, we hope that
they will help you to achieve your first major milestone in karate, the Black Belt
In traditional karate the brown belt ranks are very difficult. Although the minimum time in each rank is six
months, for some students it may take longer. Do not become discouraged and quit. Brown belt is the proving
ground where you must push on through sheer determination and iron will if you wish to reach black belt.
Practice your karate diligently, strong basics (kihon) is very important at this level. Be aware of your stances,
posture and hand position while training, until good form becomes second nature to you. Practice your weaker
techniques until they become your strongest. Concentrate on the combinations that we teach, practicing the
"A", "B" and "C" combinations on both sides so you become fast and powerful.

Ippon kumite (one point sparring) is where you demonstrate your self defense skills. Use your angles and
lateral movement in order to avoid attacks and be in a better position to upset your opponent's balance.
Practice sweeps, take downs and controlling techniques so you can demonstrate a good understanding of
how to use your karate skills.

Pad work should be very strong now. Proper distance is the key to a perfect punch or kick.
To far away and your technique is weak, to close and the blow becomes a push. Use your hip to
trigger your strike. Stay relaxed in order to create speed and be sure that your body and stance work
together. Breath out as you deliver a technique and remember to lock at the moment of impact.

Kata is a vital part of your karate training. Be sure to understand your kata and be able to demonstrate
the bunkai of each movement. Take your time when performing kata and strive to show good form.
Kata should flow so try to move smoothly into each position. Remember to look first and then move into
the proper stance before you execute a technique.

Sparring is one of the most popular aspects of karate and can be a great source for testing your skill.
Distance and timing are crucial to great sparring. Try to avoid clashing with your opponent to prevent injuries.
Maintain proper distance and look for openings in your opponents defences. Do not give away your intentions
by any unnecessary facial expressions. Stay calm and relaxed while waiting for your opponent to make a
mistake.  Avoid rushing headlong into a kick or punch, instead fake an attack to see what your opponent will do,
then make them miss and don't give them a second chance. Stay active and use your foot sweep in order to
keep your opponent off balance. If your opponent is off balance they can not attack you, only defend poorly.
It is not necessary to stop everything that your opponent does, if he can not hit you with a technique let it go.
If he is waisting his energy let him become tired then move in to attack.

Good attendance in the dojo is critical, it is Impossible for your instructor to teach you if you don't show up.
If you want to be the best in the dojo you must train like it. When you look around the dojo at your fellow
students remember an old karate saying "If he trains three times then I must train six times".  
You only get out of karate what you put into it. Remember black belt is not the end, only the beginning.

Michael S. Berkowitz
For grading requirements please see your instructor for an Official Grading Syllabus