The belt system
Shorinji Kan Jiu Jitsu uses a belt system similar to judo, with different colours according to the student's proficiency. This allows instructors to immediately recognise the abilities of a student and allows training partners to adapt their level of training to suit the people involved. We refer to our belt grades as "kyu", beginning with 7th kyu and progressing to black belt.
Junior grades - Upon beginning training, you will be given the rank of novice. You will learn the basics of breakfalling and a variety of simple throws, locks, ground techniques, and strikes, along with the etiquette involved in our style. As you progress through the junior grades of yellow, orange and green you will acquire a greater knowledge of the different techniques and when it is appropriate to use each of them. You will also be introduced to defenses against weapons such as bottles, knives and bludgeons. At green belt, you would be expected to begin taking on basic teaching, working with novices to share the skills you have learned.
Senior grades - As students progress through the senior belts of purple and light blue, teaching becomes increasingly important. A range of related techniques are taught and the subtleties of the style are explored at greater length. At dark blue, students will be required to learn the basic use of a weapon such as bo, jo or bokken, and students will be expected to demonstrate proficiency with one weapon during their brown belt grading. Once students have studied the style for a number of years and can demonstrate mastery over the techniques, they are eligible to grade for their black belt at which point they are granted the rank of Shodan.
Graduating through the belt system requires the successful completion of gradings, where the student will be asked to perform those techniques appropriate to their level in front of a panel of senior instructors. Gradings take place approximately four times per year for junior grades, twice per year for senior grades and once per year for black belt gradings.