Traditional Karate-do
Federation International

Saito-ha Shito-ryu Karate-do



Different colors of belts in karate signify varied levels of skill and inner maturity.

White is the first belt representing innocence. Yellow and orange signify the earth and the sprout and roots of early growth. Blue represents the heavens to which all growing things strive. Purple is the season of purification and the preparation for the growth to come. Green is the beginning of the plant's growth- strong roots have been formed and this inward strength is showing evidence of upward growth. Brown is a plateau prior to receiving the black belt. It is a reminder to the student that all future growth is dependent upon the receptiveness and fertility of the soil. It is a time for reflection on all that has come before and the importance of humility.

Each belt is more than a badge of honor. Instead it is more like a recognition of inner maturity. The awarding of a belt should never be a time for pride, but rather the occasion for self-reflection. Some people prefer the ancient legend that all belts were white, and only turned black from age and the inner lessons that are learned from continuous practice of the principles of karate.

At the MATC, we adhere to strict rank requirements and standards. Students are provided with a promotion book that has all the basic requirements for each rank. Examiners evaluate each student's progress before admitting them to take the final exam for each rank. Upon passing the final exam, students are awarded their internationally recognized diploma and belt. Parents and guests are always welcome to each promotion ceremony.

TKFI Ranks, Credentials & Titles

Teaching Credentials & Titles:
Teaching credentials are not automatically received after a rank has been awarded. The credential is tested for and the title is bestowed upon a person after passing the examination. In other words, Shihan, Kyoshi, Renshi and Hanshi are separate certificates and licenses altogether. These titles are granted to deserving individuals only after a prolonged and severe evaluation and examination. These tiltes are highly dignified and not to be taken lightly.

  • Soke (headmaster) - Red Belt, 10th Dan.
  • Hanshi (a •model teacher for all masters•) - 8th Dan & higher. Black Belt with red facing out, black facing in.
  • Kyoshi (who is a 'teaching master•) - 6th Dan & higher. Red stripe above white stripe facing out, black facing in.
  • Renshi (who is •a teacher of high character•, 'training master•) - 5th Dan & higher. White stripe above red stripe facing in, black facing out.

SOKE - the headmaster (or sometimes translated as "head of the family" or "grand master".) The highest Japanese title. Considered the ultimate authority within their style regarding promotions, curriculum, philosophy, standards and organizational structure. A s?ke has the authority to issue a menkyo kaiden certificate to his student who has mastered all aspects of his style.

HANSHI - teacher - •han• (model or example), 'shi• (scholar, warrior or scholar). Hanshi implies a model person leading an exemplary life. Minimum rank of 8th Dan. TKO Hanshi license holders wear Black Belt w/ Red facing out-Black facing in.

SHIHAN - teacher - 'shi• (master), •han• (model or example). Shihan denotes a master teacher and a model for the art. Minimum rank of Godan.

JUN SHIHAN - Preceding the Shihan title. (One who is a member of the Shihan Kai but have not reached Godan or higher.)

SENSEI - teacher who conveys at the correct time, proper instructions and teachings to each studen in the best possible way. San Dan & higher instructors. Title is awarded by letter from the hombu dojo, and not by rank alone.

SHIDOIN - Ni-Dan & San-Dan instructors or assistant instructors. Instructors are assigned the Shidoin title under the direction of the Chief Instructor and approved by the hombu dojo.

SEMPAI - Senior student or senior brother or sister.

DAN - Grade in Black Belt levels. Dan ranks also have a "Shihan" or teaching credential system for teaching careers.

KYU - Ranks below the black belt.