All posts in “Kuro Obi”

Ten Commandments for Black Belts

  1. Students are the most important people in our dojo.
  2. Students depend on us – and we depend on them.
  3. Students are not an interruption of our training: they are the purpose of it. We repay our instructors by teaching them.
  4. Students do us an honor by coming to the dojo; we do them the honor of teaching them well.
  5. Students are part of our dojo, not outsiders.
  6. Students are not robots; they are flesh and blood, with feelings and emotions like our own.
  7. Students are not people to argue with or match wits.
  8. Students bring us their wants and needs; it is our job to fill them with proper instruction.
  9. Students are deserving of the most courteous and attentive treatment we can give them.
  10. Students have the right to expect Instructors to treat them with dignity and respect.

Dojo Formality & Customs

The dojo is a symbolic structure that contains specific meanings. The north side of a dojo is called the Kamiza; it is the most important place in a dojo. Another term used for the north end of a dojo is the Upper Seat. This area is reserved for honored guests and high-ranking instructors. The south side of a dojo is called the Shimoza and is also referred to as the Lower seat. This is where the students usually sit. In Japan, there is a saying, ?There is no teaching from the south.?This means the students should not try to instruct or speak to one another during class. It is poor etiquette to speak to one another during training unless it is to instruct by a Sempai. There is no need to discuss what you did, could have done or should have done during class. The south or lower seat is the area identified for training purposes and learning.

The East Side of a dojo is referred to as the Joseki or Upper Side. This is where visitors usually sit and watch practice. This is also where the instructor sits if an honored guest is sitting at the Kamiza. The east is also the direction of the rising sun and is associated with enlightenment. Some dojo in Japan, bow to the east before and after training to symbolize the recognition and honoring of enlightenment.

The West Side of the dojo is referred to as the Shimoseki, or Lower Side. It is usually just a space or area of a dojo without specific meaning other than the fact that the sun sets in the west and the west symbolizes darkness, or the direction the dead take in afterlife.

The above relates to the formality, beliefs, and customs regarding the four sides of a Japanese dojo. However, even in Japan, the Kamiza, and the other symbolism in a dojo are arranged in whatever manner provides the best use of training space.

The Role of a Sempai

Seniors are generally considered those members ranked Blue-Brown belt or higher, although, anyone of higher rank is a Sempai.

Being a Sempai is an important role within the Dojo. A Sempai is a position of trust, honor, and responsibility.

Sempai should teach students how to bow, tie their obi, proper etiquette, and assist the Sensei with instruction.

Sempai should ensure that the Dojo remains clean.

Sempai should always be encouraging and helpful and should never criticize or tear down their Kohai (juniors).

Sempai should train frequently and harder than other students, thus setting an example.

Sempai should have the class lined up properly and ready for training when the Sensei steps onto the floor.

Sempai should be positive, kind, and display respect, thus showing proper budo.

Sempai should maintain dojo discipline and correct violations of etiquette or policy by taking one aside and instructing him gently and with respect. Never embarrass anyone.

Always research any question that a Kohai asks. When unsure of the correct answer a Sempai should never guess and should refer the question to Sensei.

Sempai should learn the names of all students.

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Topics of the Week

Black belts who teach a class, if you are not training twice a week then you will no longer be able to teach a class. It is most important that you are passing the arts on correctly and if you are not training with Sensei Laura or myself you can not be passing the art on correctly.

Remember always be POSITIVE. Turn a NEGITIVE into a POSITIVE.

June 9 – 14 – This week we will be working on weapons.  Practice some jo basics Taikyoku Jodan, taikyoku b (but with a jo), taikyoku tonfa.  Some tonfa basics if there is enough tonfa and you have enough time.

June 23 – 28 – Stance and hips in stances.

June 30 – July 5 – No Class Tuesday.  This week we will be working more hips in stances and kicking and also more conditioning drills.

July 7 – 12 – This week at Eastwind No Evening classes Thursday – Review using hips in stances and in kicking and finish up with some sparring.

July 26 – Aug 2 – Please work on basic kicks, punches and blocks.  Use the equipment and then finshish up with Kata and Sandan kumite or renzoku kumite for higher belts.

Aug 18 – 23 –   This week we will continue to work on Ju-Jutsu. Also I would like to work on Kata.  You can eithe do kata at the beginning of class to warm-up or at the end of class to finish up.

Sept  15 – 20 – All September we will doing a review.  This week we will be reviewing shiho waza, sanbon kumite, rensoku kumite, the complexes in kobudo and either start off with or finish up with a bit of kata with weights.

Sept 22 – 27 – This week we will be working on Rensoku kumite.  Re will do a review of geki sai and saifa.

Sept 29 – Oct 4 – This week we will be doing more work on basics and basics with equipment.  Please also do advanced kicks with the higher belts.  For example, Jumping side kick, jumping front kick, spinning kicks use ballons for this.  Also use the belts for some stance drills.

Oct 6 – 11 – This week we will be working on sparring techniques in the air and on the focus mitts.  Please do some simple combinations involving kicking AND punching and then make up some more difficult ones.  You can do these in the air to start then with partners using the mitts.

Oct 14 – 18 – This week we will be working in sparring techniques use equipement finish up with Rensoku kumite or self defence.

Oct 20 – 25 – This week we will continue to work on sparring techniques with the equipment.  Do some free sparring at the end of class with equipment on.  If people don’t have equipment encourage them to get some.

Oct 27 – Nov 1 – This week we be working on rensoku kumite, sanbon kumite and Ippon kumite.  The ippon kumite could be the kihon bunkai techniques that only involve a block and a counter-attack.  Basics on new wabble boards.

Nov 3 – 8 – This week we would like to work on basics and basics with the weights and equipment and review sparring techniques from last month like the combination we were working on.

Nov 10 – 15: No class on Tuesday Nov 11.  This is Rememberence Day.   This week Review the sparring combination in the air and with partners and work on basics with weights.

Dec 1st – 6: This week we will be working on stances and rensoku kumite.  Please do some stance drills with the belt and without the belt.  You can finish up with some kata/forms.

Dec 8 – 13: This week we will be working on stances and kicks.  Please do some stance drills with the belt and without the belt also use the shields and focus mitts for some kicks.  Make sure people know how to hold the shields and mitts first.

Jan 6 – 10 –  Review Kata and basics.  Do kata for the warm up.

Jan 12 – 17 – This week we will be working on sparring.  Please review sparring techniques.  This can be 1 step, 3 step, rensoku or free sparring.  Also do a little basics.

Jan 26 -31 – This week we will be working on free sparring and rensoku kumite.

Feb 3 – 7 – This week we will be working on free sparring so please remind everyone to bring their equipment.  We will be also working on other types of sparring and some kicks.

Feb 23 – 28 – This week we will be working on Kakie, Self defence and kata. For adults we will go over the pressure point striking.

March 2 – 7 –  This week we will be working on Kata, Kata and more Kata.

Mar 23 – 28 –  This week we will be working on more self defence and finish (or start) with Kata. Gradings coming up.

April 20 – 25 – This is Kick-A-Thon week. People are still able to get pladges this week. Hand in a kick-a-thon forms by next Tuesday, April 28th. Everybody is to do their 500 kicks. Make it easy and fun.

Do 50 knee kicks on each side changing legs every 20 kicks or so. (Total 100) Take breaks.

Do front kicks standing in attention stance alternating legs. Take a break after 20 or 30 kicks. (Total 100)

Also do side kick you can you step in side kick up and down the dojo floor depending on how many people are in class again take a break every 20 or 30 kicks. (Total 100)

Now back kick, do a quick back kick shaolin style. Just do 25 each side. ( Total 50)

Roundhouse kick do them off the front leg you can work with partners and hold hands for balance and you 10 without putting the foot down. (Total 100)

and for the last 50 do some more advanced kicks like jumping kicks, spinning, kicks on shields, kick the belts etc. This depends on how much time is left.

Keep track of kicks done on a piece of paper.

If there is any time left finish up with partner stretching and/or a game.

If you have any questions please contact Sensei.

April 27 – May 2 – This week we will be working on self defence and ju-jutsu

June 22 – 27 – This week we will be working on Kata.  Please show the news belts, from this past grading their next kata.  Also we will be working on Rensoku kumite this week.

July 1 – July 4 – This week we will be working on Ju-Jutsu. Also I would like to work on Kata.  You can either do kata at the beginning of class to warm-up or at the end of class to finish up.

August 31 – Sept. 5 – This week we will be reviewing Basics and Kata.  Use weights sometime when doing basics.

Dec 2 – Dec 5 – This week we will be working on Tai sabaki work the 8 gates.  Use the blockers.  Finish with some kakie and kata.

Jan 3 – 9 – This week we will be working a review of basics and Kata.

Jan 11- 16 – This week we will also be working on a review but in addition to basics and kata plaese review rensoku kumite and for kobudo please review shu shi no kon complex and the others time permitting.

Jan 17 – 22 – This week we will be reviewing breakfalls and self defence along with kata.  Thank you everyone who came to the seminar on Saturday.  We raised $500 for the DNBK.  Seminar this Sunday with Kyoshi Frenette.

Feb 1 – 5 – This week we will be working on sparring.  Please do sparring drills use focus mitts for jab and cross.  Please bring your sparring equipment.

Feb 7 – 12 – This week we will continue to work on sparring and sparring drills.  San bon, rensoku and ju (Free) sparring.

Feb 21 – 26 – More sparring this week or sparring techniques.  February is sparring month.  Thank you everyone who cam to seminars and tournament this weekend.

Mar 1 – 6 – This week we will be working on basics.

April 4 – 9 – This week we will be working with the weights.  Kata with weights and basics with weights.

April 18 – 23 – This week we will be working with the equipment and then finishing up with some self defence.

November 7 – 12 – This week we are working on Sanchin Kata, Kakae and self defence.

Nov 28 – Dec 3 – This week will be working on the bunkai drills, flow drills and self defence.  Coloured belt grading coming up Dec 10.

Feb. 12 – 18 – We will be wroking on sparring and sparring drills. Finish up with Kata or self defence.

Feb 23 – 28 – More sparring.  Incorporate tai-sabaki into the sparring drills.  i.e. step to the side and jab – rev punch – kick.


  • Kingston Tournament and DNBK Seminars this weekend.
  • Lets try to incorporate more Goju Ryu Hojo Undo into warm ups.
  • NOTE: During the warm-up please review terminology with all students.

Brown Belt to Shodan-ho Grading

Note: Minimum age 16 years

Before the Grading:

  • Completion of First Aid & CPR course
  • 90 hours of assisting in teaching at Kids’ classes, camps, etc.
  • Knowledge of teaching methods
  • Participation in club gradings by taking part in the workout, doing kata, kumite, and self-defence as requested, and setting a high example of effort
  • Participation in a majority of our club tournaments, kata competitions, kumite competitions, weapons competitions, seminars
  • Participation in out-of-town tournaments and seminars
  • Books to read (choose 3) and give a one page summary:
    1. Karate-Do: My Way of Life – Gichin Funakoshi
    2. Sword and Brush : The Spirit of the Martial Arts – Dave Lowry
    3. The Weaponless Warriors – Richard Kim
    4. Karate: The Art of Empty Self – Terrence Webster-Doyle
    5. Facing the Double-Edged Sword: The Art of Karate for Young People – Terrence Webster-Doyle
    6. Why is Everybody Always Picking on Me: A Guide to Handling Bullies – Terrence Webster-Doyle
    7. Johnathan Livingston Seagull
    8. Living the Martial Way – Forrest Morgan
    9. Your suggestion – see Sensei first.
    10. Moving Zen
    11. Zen in the Martial Arts
    12. The Black Belt Manager
    13. Beyond the Known
    14. Code of the Samurai
    15. The Everyday Genius
    16. Tuesdays with Morrie
    17. Budo Secrets
    18. Kodo – Ancient Ways
    19. The Monk who Sold his Ferrari
    20. Body Mind Mastery

Essay topic to be researched – an outline in point form, 2- 3 pages, of the major areas to be covered, books to use in research etc. This outline could be used later as the basis for the International Requirement of a 15 page essay (Juniors essay can be 7.5 pages). Also 1 page summary on 2 books from the above list.

Gradings for 2nd and 3rd Dan will require a 2 – 5 page write up of what you have learned/done since your last grading. For example, what have you trained on/worked on since your last grading. What have you done for your Dojo, federation (EMAC Canada), community and/or what books have you read since your last grading.

  • Running – able to run/walk 5-10 k. (depends on many physical factors)
  • Will be Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally challenging. Remember – Body, Mind, Spirit!
  • Kihon Kata Kumite Self-Defence

Cost: $300.00 CDN – grading fee, use of books & materials, certificate, and cloth black belt.

Nidan – $300.00 CDN

Sandan – $400.00 CDN

Yondan – $400.00 CDN