Karate is a martial art that uses empty handed weaponless techniques such as punching and kicking to overcome the opponent.
Japan Shotokan Karate Association (JSKA) is one of the fastest growing Shotokan Karate associations in the world, founded by Keigo Abe in 1999. Abe is a former instructor graduate of the Japan Karate Association and trained and taught at the JKA Headquarters for nearly 35 years. He held a number of senior positions within the JKA and latterly the Matsuno section of the JKA. He had been a senior student of Nakayama and as such the teachings of Nakayama remain an integral part of the evolution of the Shotokan style within the JSKA.
For all kyu gradings, the student must demonstrate to the examiners tier understanding of the three facets of the style; set patterns (kata), basics (kihon) and sparring (kumite). Grades are examined with the karateka presenting themselves for assessment, with the permission of their instructor, every three to four months. This situation last between 10th kyu and 1st kyu, depending on the affiliate association. The minimum waiting period between 1st kyu and 1st dan is typically a 6-12 month. Time between dan gradings increases approximately in yearly increments as the grade progresses. Kyu Grades run from 10th kyu to 1st Kyu and Dan grades from 1st Dan to10th Dan. Although kyu grades are coloured to show progression, all dan grades wear only black belts. Dan gradings are taken under an authorized grading examiner. Senior grades above 5th Dan come specifically under the auspices of the JSKA Chief Instructor and are examined at national/international events (such as National/International Competitions). Depending on the grade being taken a similar format to the kyu grades is required covering all three sections of the training. The karateka must demonstrate a single kata of their choice while the chief examiner will choose another kata from a set list, depending on grade, to be performed. As the grades progress a research paper must be presented and the bunkai (application) of a kata chosen by the examiner, must be shown and explained.