When you begin, you are a White belt. To get to the next rank, there are a few steps that must be accomplished, which also must be done in a set order. First, learn the basic punches and kicks. Once you learn these, your knowledge is tested in the classroom in front of your classmates; this is how you receive your first stripe. Next, you learn the form, test in the classroom again, and receive your second stripe. Your third stripe testing is for your one-steps. After you have learned all of the material for your rank and have enough class time, you are eligible to test for the next rank, an Orange belt.
Before you are able to sign up for testing, you must have 3 things:
- Three stripes: this shows you have the knowledge to test
- Permission from your Instructor
- Children 13 and under have to turn in 4 good deed sheets
Before testing day, you need to sign up with the office to get on the testing roster. This must be done by the end of the last class prior to testing. For this we need to know your rank, age, birth date, and belt size (this typically is your uniform size plus one). As a White belt, you will need to pay the appropriate fee (see “Testing Fees”).
When testing day arrives, please check the time for your testing and plan to arrive about 15 minutes early to warm up. You will line up and bow in, just as you do for class except across the front of the room will be a table of judges. These are the instructors who have been working with you and the higher rank instructors from our schools. Prior to testing beginning, a roll call will be taken, be sure to answer up loudly. Then everyone will be asked to move to the back quietly and wait your turn.
First the Yellow belts will be called up by name in small groups, running to their assigned positions (in ATA, if ever you have to take more than 3 steps- run where you need to go). They will do their form and one-steps, and perhaps be asked questions about their form, such as how many movements and where are the kihaps in their form (See your color belt sheet). The Orange belts will go next and then the White belts will test in the same manner. All subsequent ranks testing will then follow in the same manor.
After everyone is finished, a formal bowout will take place. After shaking hands with the judges you are free to leave. If there is another testing following yours, you are welcome to sit with your family in the audience to support and watch the higher ranks in their testing. Please be aware whenever you are at an ATA event, whether in uniform or not, every time the Songahm Spirit is recited you must stand and bow in and/or out with the group. When they are done bowing in/or out, you may return to your seat, or if you are in the lobby or back of class, you may leave.
After appoximately one week, your testing results will be received from headquarters and we will have a promotional ceremony to which your family is invited. At this time, you will receive your next belt and a certificate of rank. All new students 14 years and under are inducted into the Karate for Kids program at this time. Any stars that you have earned will also be received at this time.