Achieving Your Shodan

When you achieve your Shodan you are an important member of the academy in terms of the example you will now set. Having reached a standard of proficiency through hard work and dedication your Sensei and other students will expect a good example from you.

Many students feel they did not do well in their grading or that they are inadequate in some way. You would not have passed if this was the case. This feeling is a manifestation of your lack of confidence and is now an area you must try to address and improve.

Some students who reach Shodan become complacent – they seem to think they have done it! Reached their goal – the end of the line. This is rather like thinking you know it all! What perhaps you know are the basics. You will never fully understand all that the martial arts have to offer. The more you study it – the more it opens up. That is the great challenge. It is always a disappointment to see a student who has trained very hard for five years or more and who manages to attain the grade of Shodan, then train less as a Black Belt than when they were trying for the grade as a student. Do not fall into this trap – you are now a beginner again!!! You have begun the real martial arts career as a competent practitioner and teacher.

It should be the toughest of times for you personally:

  • Shodan is a difficult grade because all the emphasis is now on YOU.
  • Development of your teaching skills by helping others and taking junior grades under your wing.
  • Setting an example to other students by your training, skills, attendance and knowledge and all the aspects of the Dojo Motto.
  • A time to really develop your Philosophy and way of thinking to improve your mind.
  • A time to test your own level of understanding.
  • Being very strict with your own training regime and attendance.
  • Working for your further Dan grades.
  • Being better than ever, yet with more humility than ever.
  • Being more powerful than ever, yet far more gentle than ever before.
  • Higher levels of fitness to your own high standards.
  • A great time to push yourself by working hard with the other Dan Grades to achieve a higher level of understanding.
  • You have perhaps completed four or more years of training – but now the rest of your life awaits. You may have another thirty or forty years in front of you. What are you going to do? Give-up? Or develop yourself into the best you can be!
  • Helping others should also be more of a priority in your training.
  • It is expected that you will now become self motivated.
  • Developing self motivation with guidance from your Sensei rather than being spoon fed.
  • Some students find the transition to self motivation very difficult. But this in itself is a real test and will develop you in ways you never thought possible.
  • Your Sensei will push you less – demand less, shout less. However, he will expect far more.


Please remember that you are only worth your grade while you are training!


What’s Next!! Nidan – Second Dan

Must of been training a minimum of 2 years from your Shodan and over 16yrs old
(Eligible students will be invited to take this grade)


  • What separates me from Shodan? Tell us about your growth in training and as a person in the Martial Arts since your Shodan test.
  • A Martial Art of our choice will be chosen for you. A good understanding of this martial art and its use in a practical arena will explained

Knowledge of Pre-fight psychology. E.g conversation, line ups etc. Talk/Explain

Basic stance/posture for protecting yourself (Fence) Talk/Explain

Strikes, using different parts of the body to strike, explaining which strikes to use in different ranges and targets they should be aimed at. (eg punches, open hand strikes, elbows, knees, kicks/stamps). Talk/Show
Joint locks/restraints, learning how to restrain someone in a lock without having to physically strike them you are still safe and in control of the situation. Talk/Show

Escapes from grabs/strangles/headlocks ect, showing how to escape a variety of different grabs and position yourself in a position of advantage where you have control. Talk/Show
Thorough understanding of body mechanics relate to the martial arts. Angles, leverage, vital points and distance.
The ranges of combat, free moving (no physical contact with aggressor), standing clinch, and finally ground grappling. Strong standard of striking & grappling, all ranges. Physical
Equipment, Heavy bag, focus mitts, thai pads, Large Kick Shield
Self- protection tactics against a hand held weapon, stick or edged weapons eg knife, using movement, restraints and strikes. Physical
You will be given a topic to teach that will be taught to both a children’s class and adult’s class. A lesson plan will also be required.

Adapt, change and control
Everything above is subject to change without notice