Guide - Steps to achieving Black Belt

If you practice Karate one of the first questions people will ask you when they find out is "Are you a Black Belt?'

Black Belt is the international symbol of an advanced martial artist and a very exciting point in your Karate journey. Importantly it is not the end of your journey, but merely the beginning of the next stage, the achievement however can not be overstated.



Make sure you find a club with instructors that you like and find inspirational. All of the SEFKA clubs are headed by highly trained and experienced instructors, these are martial artisits who have attained their status through years of hard work and dedication, more importantly they have helped others do the same.

Make sure your Sensei has the capability to take you there. To make you a black belt your Sensei needs to know what they are doing as well. Your Sensei should be at least a black belt level themselves; they should also have taken many other students to the level before. All SEFKA Sensei's fulfil this requirement.

Train at least twice a week It is almost impossible to make it to black belt while training only once per week. Muscle memory does not last 7 days, so people who train once a week have to relearn a lot from each training session. Twice a week should be the minimum for people who want to achieve a black belt and three times a week is ideal.

Don't over do it. 3 times a week training is ideal. If you are training 4-7 times a week regularly in most cases you will burn out well before you ever reach black belt. Also if you train too often it can be detrimental to your development, as you don't have appropriate recovery time for your muscles.

Practice at home. Practice your Kata, stretch, do some strength training, try out that combination you did in class. Work on the techniques that your Sensei corrected you on that day.

Listen to everything your instructor says. Some people get upset when they get corrected, but those who take the corrections on board and try to fix them are the ones who make it to black belt. Remember every time your instructor corrects you they are giving you one of the keys to becoming a black belt.

Listen to all corrections your instructor makes to others in the class and to the class in general and see if they apply to you as well.

Compete in tournaments, where appropriate. Every tournament is a chance for you to grow and improve in your karate. students who compete tend to develop faster.

Take it one step at a time. It takes many years to achieve a black belt, so if you just focus on black belt then this goal may be so far off that it is overwhelming. Focus on one step at a time, like getting your next grade. Obtaining your Black Belt is not a race, its a destination along the way.

Be patient. It takes an average of 4-5 years to gain a black belt in karate. Quite often its longer depending on your age, your natural abilities, body type, coordination levels, fitness levels, the type of sports you have done before, how much you train, how much you listen to your instructor and so on.

Look after your body. Your body is your tool in karate, if it is in great shape then your karate will be great too. Don't smoke or do drugs, instead eat healthy foods and drink lots of water.

Understand there will be down times. All martial artists go through ups and downs in your training. There will be times when you feel like you aren't progressing or even that you are going backwards. Even so, push through and you will always make it, you only fail if you quit.

Develop strong friendships in the dojo. The key to becoming a black belt is to stick with karate for the long term. If you have good friendships at the dojo you will be more likely to continue.

Cross train. Don't let karate be your only activity. It's a good idea to take another sport as well like swimming, football, basketball, gymnastics, dance class, athletics, visit the gym and so on. Train your muscles in a different way.

Finally - Never Give up!

It does not matter if you take 4 years or 40 years, the achievemnt remains the same.

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