Accelerate Your Advancement in Karate


Students of karate (“karateka”) learn at different rates. This article isn’t about skipping ranks, but rather about accelerating your advancement through the ranks. What’s the difference? Skipping ranks is something that may or may not happen due to one’s dedication to advancement.

Advancement can be slow or fast, steady or inconsistent. With no extra practice outside the dojo, a student may fail a test and have to wait until the next test to advance. However, with extra effort, the same student may be able to move more quickly through the ranks simply by passing each test. This article is intended for those karateka who are serious about karate, and who wish to achieve their goals in a shorter time frame.

So, what can you do to accelerate your advancement? Here are some specific suggestions:

  1. When training in the dojo, listen carefully to the instructor at all times. Concentrate fully to make sure you’re doing the technique correctly. Keep in mind, practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent. Repeatedly practicing a technique incorrectly will simply make you better at doing that technique wrong. Concentrate on checking yourself for errors so you are practicing the techniques correctly. 
  2. When training in the dojo, give it 100%. Train hard; train fast. Do not just sacrifice technique for speed though. Train correctly first, then once you understand the movements involved in the technique begin to add speed.
  3. Train outside of class. If you’re attending one class per week, that’s only 45 minutes. Train 2 hours per week on your own. Do each kata 5 times per day and work your kihon (basics). I strongly recommend buying “Best Karate” book 2, Fundamentals. Read and re-read this book. It’ll serve you well through your Black Belt. Also, get book 5, which contains all of the kata through Brown Belt. Study these books to learn at a faster pace.
  4. Consider a private lesson now and then. This enables you to get dedicated attention not possible during normal classes.
  5. If your goal is to try to advance an extra rank, then learn what’s needed for the rank after the one you are working on now. Always know what is needed for one rank past where you’d like to get promoted.

Above all, keep in mind that at testing time you will be promoted to the rank that is appropriate for your skill level. If you don’t advance to the rank you had hoped for, keep working! Use the experience for motivation to work that much harder for the next opportunity.