Once you complete each of the Budokan Masterclass Belt courses online you are eligible to test for promotion to the next belt level. Your first test is for the Yellow Stripe Belt – the most important promotion on your path to Budokan Karate mastery. Even though the Yellow Stripe is only the second belt in the system, its award signifies that you have learned the most important Budokan Karate basic techniques.
Qualification for each belt requires mastery of all Basics, a combination of these basics, 2 Self Defense Drills with a partner (bad guy), 2 Kumite Drills with a partner and the Kata designated to your current belt.
Belt Testing Options
Once you are confident in your ability to perform the Belt Testing Drills, you may take the Belt Qualification Test using one of two methods: Video Grading Test (VGT), or Live Grading Test (LGT).
Budokan Masterclass students who train and test for promotion from home using the Video Grading Test will earn a Karate Budokan International “Masterclass Belt.” To receive the Karate Budokan International “Official Belt,” a student can choose to pass a Live Grading Test (LGT) administered by a certified instructor at an authorized Karate Budokan Dojo.
Here is how the process works:
Option 1 – Video Grading Test (VGT) Due to the widespread use of video upload/sharing technology you can now test for your Karate Budokan International belt through the Internet. Upon acquiring the Belt Qualification Drills, you will need to digitally record yourself conducting them in the exact format that is demonstrated in the sample test video. Each video must be under 10 minutes in duration and in .mov, .avi, .wmv, .mpeg or .mp4 format. Then, upload the video to the Budokan Masterclass Testing Center where they will be viewed and evaluated by Shihan Wayne MacDonald or one of his certified instructors at the Karate Budokan International headquarters.
Listed below are some important details regarding the video grading test:
- Talk Through the Moves: We understand that it may be difficult to memorize all the techniques in the exact order as in the sample test. So, you may have someone read the techniques to you while you are filming the evaluation.
- Continuous Shot: In order to test your true understanding of the techniques, you must conduct the qualification drills in 10 minutes or less. As a result, you may not stop the camera at any time once a drill has started. We will not evaluate your performance if you fail to shoot each drill in one take.
- Film the Details: We cannot give you credit unless we SEE the technique. Focus on effectively angling your body towards the camera so that we can clearly see the essential details of each move.
Option 2 – Live Grading Test (LGT) To earn the official Karate Budokan International belt you must take a Live Grading Test with a Certified Instructor at an authorized Karate Budokan International Dojo.
Here are some important details regarding the Live Grading Test:
- Prepare Diligently: Although the actual techniques are the same, one of the most important differences between the VGT and the LGT is that the testing partner or “bad guy” will be a certified instructor, which makes the test substantially more realistic. Throughout the test the instructor will adjust speed and resistance levels to assess your technical accuracy, conviction and overall reflexes. Bottom line: if you don’t know the material, we don’t recommend the LGT.
- One Shot, One Result: With the video grading test, you can re-shoot your execution of the drills as many times as you’d like before you submit them. During a live grading, you will only have one chance to execute each drill. If your performance does not meet the Karate Budokan International standards, you must retest at a later date. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that you prepare diligently to minimize the chance of errors during the live grading. Although it’s not required, most people who take the Live Grading Test for official belt consideration have already earned their technical belts via the Video Grading Test. Once you have scored exceptionally high on the Video Grading Test, and have corrected any mistakes that were pointed out by the examiner, chances are MUCH better that you will pass the Live Grading Test.
- Stay Relaxed: The most important consideration during any evaluation is the quality of the technique. The most common mistake you are likely to make during a live grading is to rush nervously through the drills and jeopardize the quality of your execution. Although it is important that your techniques are conducted correctly, you must remain calm and only go as quickly as “great technique” will allow. Technique first, speed and power second!
The grading criteria for the Video Grading Test and the Live Grading Test are the same. You will start with 100 points and receive a 1-point deduction for each significant error in the following categories:
- Accuracy: Precise and correct execution. Execute the techniques exactly as Shihan teaches them on the lessons. Paying attention to your accuracy with the target areas, stance posture, tension and placement of the feet. Correct formation and use of the required weapon, fist, knife hand etc. is a priority. We will accept slight modifications based on different body types and physical capabilities.
- Efficient timing, knowledge and awareness: Not only do we want to see that you understand the application of each technique (Bunkai), but we want to see that you know how to use proper timing (Kime) and demonstrate a good awareness (Zanshin).
- Reflexes: Instinctive and timely responses to all attacks. We assess reflexes by measuring the amount of time between the attack and response. An example of an error in reflexes would be: If the “bad guy” grabs you by the wrist and you take three seconds to identify the grip type and proper escape strategy, you will receive a 1-point deduction for delayed reflexes.
If, upon completing all Drills and Kata, you amass more than 20-point deductions, or a final score of less than 80 points, you will be notified of your shortcomings so that you may fine tune your techniques and retest at a later date. If you achieve a final score of 80 points of greater, you will be recommended for promotion by the examiner. Only once Shihan Wayne MacDonald authorizes your promotion will you be recognized as a Karate Budokan International belt graduate. In either case, we will return your test with a precise description of each error so that you can use the constructive feedback to improve your skills. Keep in mind that the primary benefit of testing is that it gives you the opportunity to get personalized feedback from Shihan Wayne MacDonald on your journey to Black belt and Beyond. So if you fail the first time around, try to appreciate the feedback rather than criticize and be disheartened with your performance. We are committed to helping you achieve your Budokan Karate goals and want to ensure that you are 100% ready when you earn your belt.
Testing Fees Each time you submit a test it is thoroughly evaluated by one Karate Budokan International instructor and double-checked for accuracy by Shihan. Due to the significant amount of time that is required from each evaluating instructor, you will be required to pay an evaluation fee. Please keep in mind, however, that although you will need to pay the evaluation fee each time you take a test, when you pass a test, you will receive your belt and promotion certificate for free.
Video Grading Test Fee: $85
- Karate Budokan International Belt: Upon passing the VGT you will be awarded a Karate Budokan International Masterclass Belt.
- Personalized Certificate: Along with the belt, you will receive a Certificate of Authenticity bearing your name and belt rank under the Karate Budokan International Masterclass system. Your rank will also be updated in the Karate Budokan International online student database.
- Detailed Report: Regardless of whether you pass or are required to repeat the test, you will receive an online detailed report outlining your test score, general strengths, general weaknesses, and the specific techniques for which point-deductions were made.
Click here to submit your video grading test now.
Live Grading Test Fee: $170-$200
- Certified Partner: When you test for a belt using the LGT process, your testing partner will be a certified KBI instructor. Although it will certainly be more challenging than taking the test with your standard training partner, it will give you the confidence that a certified instructor has verified your skills.
- 1-Hour Private Lesson: The LGT is scheduled directly with the Certified Karate Budokan Dojo of your choice and takes place during a 1-hour block of private training time with the certified instructor. The test typically takes 15-30 minutes (depending how sharp your skills are), The instructor will spend the remaining time providing specific feedback on your performance, and, if time permits, introducing you to the core techniques and training principles of the next belt level.
- Instant Feedback: Another benefit of the Live Grading Test is that you will get instant feedback from the evaluating instructor on your test performance. If it’s a Shihan certified evaluator, and you pass the test, you will get your belt on location. If your evaluator is not a Shihan certified evaluator, you will get your belt after the results have been submitted to headquarters and Shihan has verified the decision.
- Official Karate Budokan International Belt: When you pass the test via the Video Grading Process, you are awarded a Masterclass Belt for demonstrating proficiency in the Karate Budokan International techniques. When you pass the Live Grading Test, you are awarded an Official Karate Budokan International Belt since your techniques and reflexes will have been personally felt, tested and verified by a certified instructor of Karate Budokan International.
- Personalized Certificate: Along with the official belt, you will receive a Certificate of Authenticity bearing your name and belt rank under the Karate Budokan International system. Your name will also be added to the list of Official Karate Budokan International Belt Holders.
- Detailed Report: Regardless of whether you pass or are required to repeat the test, upon completing the Live Grading Test, you will receive a detailed explanation of the critical mistakes that were made during the test so that you know which techniques need attention going forward.