Having reached Shodan level, the minimum requirement to attempt Nidan is 2 years. This however is an absolute minimum and is reached by students who commit themselves to excellence for for the entire 2 years. This is largely due to the fact that ‘time training’ is not so much of a factor in grading. A student must be able to meet all the technical requirements expected of the two advanced kata.
Students who aim to cruise through their training for the first 12-18months, then knuckle down for the final 6 months, putting in extra time and focus, will rarely develop the technical requirements. Ultimately, the old saying of, ‘What you put in is what you get out’ applies. As such, there is no real time expectation between Shodan and Nidan as many students take a number of years to achieve their Nidan grading.
This should not discourage students in any way. Remember that a student’s grading is a personal thing and each person will grade when they are ready – this is but one reason why GKR does not put gold tips on their black belts to indicate dan levels.
A student’s focus should be on setting multiple personal goals, which serve to excite them and keep them focused and motivated until the day comes where their instructor tells them that they are ready to grade. Some of these goals may be:
- Fitness, strength, flexibility.
- Improved timing in all kata.
- Fluency in their overall karate.
- Snap or crispness in their technique.
- Technical excellence.
- Countless kumite goals.
- Countless goals to develop different areas within each kata.