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Why Does It Take So Long To Get A Black Belt In Karate?

Jan 4, 2008
Many of you reading this article may already be well on your way to becoming a black belt in your chosen martial art. Some of you may just be starting out on your journey and others may have reached the coveted black belt and are now working towards higher degrees of the black belt.

How long were you told it should take you to get the black belt? Two years? Three years? Five? Ten? Why does it take so long to get a black belt? This article will help to answer your questions.

In general, it takes about 3 to 5 years to get your black belt in most legitimate martial arts. This timeframe can be shortened or lengthened based on several factors such as your commitment to your training, your overall technical ability, your ability to learn and digest new material, and other factors.

Is three to five years a long time? It depends on how you look at it. If you practice karate twice a week for one hour each session then in three years you will have only done 312 hours of karate practice. That does not sound like a lot of time spent on becoming a black belt over a three-year time span.
Looking at it differently if you practice karate twice a week for 1 ½ hours each session then after four years you will have done 624 hours of karate practice - twice as much as the first example but only one more year of training. This kind of schedule seems to be more acceptable.

The next thing to consider is the curriculum specific to your style of martial arts. If we look at the art of Shotokan Karate as an example, by the time you are black belt you should have a high level of knowledge of about 20 to 25 major techniques that account for your basic punches, blocks, kicks and strikes, about 10 different forms (kata) and 5 major types of sparring drills. These include multiple set defenses that should be memorized and practiced until they become second nature.

These are just the main requirements for the black belt and this does not include some of the additional content that is practiced on the way to black belt. When you put this information into the context of the suggested timeframe above you can probably now see why getting a black belt takes a considerable commitment of time and effort.

Getting a black belt is not intended to be easy. The black belt is an esteemed symbol of a person's technical skill and martial arts knowledge and is something to be proud of achieving. Ultimately, the time it takes to get your black belt should not be your primary concern. Your focus should center on improving your karate skills and on improving yourself as a person. By doing this it will only be a matter of time before you reach your desired black belt goal and it will not matter to you whether it takes 3 years or 6 years. All that will matter is that you accomplished your goal!

For more specific information on the Black Belt and how to become a Black Belt, check out my FREE report: Achieving the Black Belt: How to Successfully Take Your Karate to the Next Level. You can download it at http://www.freekarateinformation.com

Keep training and good luck on your quest for the black belt. Please contact me at Paul@freekarateinformation.com if you need some encouragement along the way.

Good luck and best wishes on your journey in karate.
About the Author
Paul A. Walker, is a 4th degree black belt karate instructor with over 25 years experience in the martial arts. In 2003 he attained his 4th degree black belt, after studying with the legendary Karate Master, Hirokazu Kanazawa in Tokyo for three years. Get more info at http://www.freekarateinformation.com
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