Funokoshi Gichin
Nishiyama Hidetaka
Shotokan is a traditional Japanese style of Martial Art which emphasizes the use of maximum speed and power in techniques in order to deliver a "finishing blow." See the FAQ for more info. Shoto means "pine waves", while kan means "streams" or styles. Shoto was the pen name of Gichin Funakoshi's, who is called "Father of Modern Karate." Loosely translated, shotokan means the style of Funakoshi, as opposed to other styles. The practice in shotokan is based on the premise "ikken hisatsu", or a single blow must decide all.

We train in JKA Style Shotokan Karate following the guidelines of Sensei Hidetaka Nishiyama, the head of our organization. Master Nishiyama is a direct student of Sensei Gichin Funakoshi, the father of modern karate and founder of our style.

Karate, Mental Aspect

We think that there are limits to the strength of our body and mind without really tring hard to find these limits. With proper training, these mental and physical barriers can be removed to reveal surprising power which we never expected. KARATE is a Japanese martial art (BU_DO), which was devised to overcome our weaknesses and limitations by bringing out our hidden or unnoticed potential.

What is the difference between self-defense and a Japanese martial art?

When acting in self-defense, you are acting in your own interest. You, yourself, are the subject to be protected. This, of cousre, is instinctive and easy to do.

When practicing a Japanese martial art, somebody else or something greater than yourself is the subject to be protected. This means you must have an alturistic love of others as preached by Christianity, instead of just an egotistical love of yourself.

—S. Sugiyama, Karate: Synchronization of Body and Mind, on loan to our library from Hiro Ruo.

Shotokan Belt Colors
All karate organizations have some form of grade structure, though some are more elaborate than others. There are, however, common principles in all the grading structures in that there are usually 10 grades prior to black-belt, called "Kyu" grades. The belt colors vary considerably between organizations, but the following table outlines the two most common belt color structures.
Grade Color (JKA Style)
10th or 9th Kyu White
8th Kyu Yellow
7th Kyu Orange
6th Kyu Green
5th or 4th Kyu Purple
3rd, 2nd or 1st Kyu Brown
1st Dan (Shodan) Black

The 26 Shotokan Kata

Heian Shodan

Heian Nidan

Heian Sandan

Heian Yondan

Heian Godan

Tekki Shodan

Tekki Nidan

Tekki Sandan

Bassai Dai

Bassi Sho

Kanku Dai

Kanku Sho

Jion (Text)



Nijushiho (Text)

Gojushiho Sho

Gojushiho Dai








Unzu (Video)

Belt Testing Recommendations

You are encouraged to take tests that mark your progress and recognize your improvement in karate.

Belt testing usually follows the quarterly regional seminar. Inform your instructor(s) if you plan to take a test at the next seminar.

In regional seminars, you represent the Intel Karate Club. If you take a test, then you are a highly visible reflection of our members and instructors. The instructors cannot really prevent you from testing, but you are expected to invest sufficient time training and preparing for each test. Below is a general (not strictly enforced) guideline for training time between tests.

  • Each promotion requires more time and effort than the last.
  • Get feedback from your Intel instructor(s) at a minimum. Feedback from other regional instructors is valuable, especially at the black belt levels.
  • Your instructor(s) will make the call regarding your readiness for testing. This may happen as late as the day of your exam, if necessary.
  • Train for a minimum of three months for kyu levels up to 4th kyu. ("Half-step" or "B" promotions are occasionally awarded at these levels.)
  • Train for a minimum of six months for third through first kyu (brown belt). (No "half-step" promotions are awarded.)
  • Train for a minimum of one year for sho-dan, your first black belt.
  • Train for a minimum of two years for ni-dan, second-degree black belt, and a minimum of three years for san-dan, third-degree black belt—the same number of years as the degree you are testing for.

If you fail your belt test, the examiners will specify an amount of time after which you can retake the test.

Exam Guides

Exam Fees for Northwest Region

8th Kyu: $25
7th Kyu: $25
6th Kyu: $35
5th Kyu: $35
4th Kyu: $35
3rd Kyu: $50
2nd Kyu: $50
1st Kyu: $50
1st Dan: $100
2nd Dan: $150
3rd Dan: $200
4th Dan: $250
5th Dan: $250
6th Dan: $250


Other Shotokan Karate Websites

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