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Chapter 1

STAGES OF THE JOURNEY

We take the path one step, one section at a time. Were we to confront the quest in its fullness, we would be overwhelmed. Each small victory bolsters our courage and prepares us for the next challenge.

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Chapter

 

1

STAGES OF THE JOURNEY

We take the path one step, one section at a time. Were we to confront the quest in its fullness, we would be overwhelmed. Each small victory bolsters our courage and prepares us for the next challenge.


Adult Karate Without Armor students celebrating after a successful promotional exam.

PROGRESSIVE INSTRUCTION

Belts were introduced into Judo in the early 20th century and adapted shortly thereafter to Karate. By standardizing and color-coding ranks, students were given a clear sense of where they are in their training. Each student is free to learn at their own pace, treating each belt as a foundation for the next.

Peer-training is a core component of our practice. Each rank represents a responsibility to those behind you, and an opportunity to receive feedback from those in front of you. Those who share your rank are your peers and training partners; supporting you on your journey. Our community is built on the bonds we form by learning to work with one another.

white | gold | green | blue | red | brown | black

WHITE BELT | START WHERE YOU ARE

Asking for help is an act of vulnerability that requires courage. Wearing a white belt is a declaration of your status as a beginner. You’ll learn basic striking and exercise technique, breathing, and body organization. The first of the five Pinan kata are introduced. We honor your commitment to this path by showing up for you; white belts work extensively with senior students and receive the most attention.

GOLD BELT | DISCOVERY OF POWER

A basic understanding of technique allows you to deepen your training. As you begin to internalize the shape of each technique you’ll learn to move from your center with power as you push, pull, squat, and strike. You’ll practice coordination and continue to build trust with your training partners as you learn to hold pads.

GREEN BELT | THE RECKONING

Physical and emotional self-control become a focus as you are introduced to sparring with leg and body contact. You’ll explore the self-defense principles and applications in the kata. As your perception expands you may experience frustration or doubt at the scope of the quest before you. Remember: one step at a time.

BLUE BELT | TAKING THE SWORD

Blue belt marks a shift in mindset: you’ve seen the challenge and chosen to move forward. Cut away distraction. You’re held to a higher standard and may be given responsibility within the dojo. Physically you’ll learn to throw and to fall, and to grapple. Contact to the head is introduced in sparring, trust your technique as you cross the threshold into the next stage of your journey.

RED BELT | GROWTH THROUGH TRIAL

Sparring is the primary medium for your training at red belt. In objective-focused rounds, you’ll move from technique, to tactics, to understanding strategy. Clinching and throws are included in sparring. And your trust practice continues as you learn to apply and escape choke holds with your partners. You’ll continue to refine your fundamentals by working with junior students.

BROWN BELT | THE CRUCIBLE

To earn your brown belt you’ll be pushed to your limits in a grueling test. Brown belt is about confronting your fear and finding courage, not the insecurity of bravado. You’ll learn the final of the five Pinan kata and be expected to show that you can integrate your training up until this point.

BLACK BELT | THE LABYRINTH

You must devote yourself to the dojo for one year after earning your brown belt to be eligible to test for your black belt. You’ll split your time between learning-by-teaching to junior students and working on your own to refine your techniques. As you strive for technical excellence, you’ll be forced to confront and own your imperfection. To be a black belt is to show not just a command of the curriculum, but the results of being shaped by your training: self-acceptance, compassion, character, integrity, courage, and presence.


At blue belt, full-contact sparring becomes an integral part of the testing experience.

What to Expect

All Karate Without Armor students are enrolled in our belt system, but progression is up to the individual student. If you are ready to advance you may begin the next level’s training or you may choose to deepen your training at the current level.

Stripes are awarded at specific milestones based on performance and review of criteria. Promotional exams are held periodically to advance to the next belt.

Each rank you earn is a symbol of your growth and achievement. Your journey is your own, take from it what serves you. Very few students earn a black belt. If that is your path, you will know.

We want to work with you

We adapt our teaching to you. To what you need. We all have different ways of learning. We all have different body types. We will never leave you feeling inadequate or unsupported. When you train with us, you will be seen and heard. Our curriculum is systematic and organized, so we always know what comes next. Which means we can meet you where you are to help you progress to the next level. Join us!

ADULT CLASSES
Find yourself; access your power; and have fun punching and kicking stuff on your martial arts journey.
Teen Classes
Get strong, defend yourself, and learn the warrior skills you'll need for the adventure of your life.
ADULT CLASSES
Find yourself; access your power; and have fun punching and kicking stuff on your martial arts journey.
Teen Classes
Get strong, defend yourself, and learn the warrior skills you'll need for the adventure of your life.