This post provides a summary of the Goju Ryu grading syllabus for the 5th kyu (blue belt) based on the grading syllabus of the International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Federation (IOGKF) and my personal experience.
As every Goju Ryu organization has its own grading requirements and your own dojo may follow a curriculum very different from this one, the following is just for general reference purposes only so that you know what to expect at each grading.
The post covers the following requirements at the 5th kyu (blue belt) level:
Minimum training time
Generally, you will need to train for at least 5-6 months or 50 sessions since your last grading to be invited to grade to the blue belt (5th kyu). You will have trained for at least a year and a half in total.
As with the 6th kyu grading, in addition to the basic vocabulary, you need to remember the Japanese terms for the new techniques that you learn for the 5th kyu grading, including those in your grade kata. For example, you should know the Japanese terms for all the techniques and stances in the Saifa kata.
As a general rule, you will be examined on all techniques and kata that you have learned so far up to the current grading.
At the 5th kyu level (blue belt), you will need to demonstrate the following techniques from the stationary heiko dachi stance:
- Jodan tsuki (face level punch, aiming at around the jinchu area)
- Chudan tsuki (middle-level punch, from your chin to suigetsu area)
- Gedan tsuki (lower level punch between suigetsu and groin)
- Sanbon tsuki (triple punches: jodan, chudan and gedan tsuki)
- Ura zuki (middle-level short punch)
- Age uke (rising block)
- Yoko uke (block from inside out)
- Soto uke (block from outside in)
- Gedan barai (downward sweeping block)
- Sanbon uke (triple blocks: age uke, yoko uke, and gedan barai)
- Hiki uke (pulling hand block)
- Kake uke (hook block)
- Tora guchi (tiger mouth block, also referred to as mawashi uke)
- Ura uchi (back fist strike)
- Hiji ate (elbow strike)
- Mawashi hiji ate (roundhouse elbow
- Ushiro hiji ate (back elbow strike)
- Tetsui uchi (hammer fist)
- Shuto uchi (knife hand strike)
- Kin geri (groin kick)
- Mae geri (front kick)
- Kin geri and mae geri (double kick, same leg)
- Mawashi geri (roundhouse kick)
- Kansetsu geri (stamping kick)
- Yoko geri (side kick)
- Ushiro geri (back kick).
From the 6th kyu to 4th kyu levels (green belt to purple belt), you are considered intermediate students and are expected to demonstrate all basic techniques with full speed and power and good focus and ki-ai.
You will be required to perform the following moving basics (kihon ido):
- Jodan age uke and Jodan gyaku tsuki (moving backward in sanchin dachi stance)
- Chudan yoko uke and Chudan gyaku tsuki (moving backward in zenkutsu dachi stance)
- Gedan barai and Chudan gyaku tsuki (moving backward at 45 degree angle into shiko dachi stance and shifting front foot to zenkutsu dachi for the chudan gyaku tsuki)
- Chudan yoko uke and chudan ura tsuki (moving backward into sanchin dachi stance)
- Joge uke and Morote tsuki (moving backward into sanchin dachi to perform double block and double punch)
- Hiji ate and gyaku tsuki (moving forward into zenkutsu dachi and performing elbow strike and reverse punch)
- Chudan uchi uke and haito uchi (moving backward into sanchin dachi stance and executing middle-level block to the side and ridge-hand strike using the same hand)
- Hiki uke (moving backward at 45 degree angle into neko ashi dachi stance and executing hiki uke)
- Hiki uke and kizami kin geri (moving backward at a 45-degree angle into neko ashi dachi stance and executing hiki uke and kin geri with the leading leg)
- Hiki uke and gyaku tsuki (moving backward into a neko ashi dachi and executing hiki uke then shifting the front foot across into zenkutsu dachi and performing gyaku tsuki)
- Mae geri and chudan kizami tsuki (kicking mae geri, landing into sanchin dachi stance, and punching with the lead hand)
- Mawashi geri and gyaku tsuki (moving forward and landing into zenkutsu dachi stance)
- Mae geri and mawashi geri (moving forward after each kick and landing into zenkutsu dachi after the last kick, hands in kamae)
- Kansetsu geri (also known as Sokuto geri) and gyaku tsuki (kicking kansetsu geri and landing into han-zenkutsu dachi, then punching gyaku tsuki)
- Mae geri, hiji-ate, ura uchi (also known as uraken), gedan barai, and gyaku tsuki (after kicking mae geri, landing into zenkutsu dachi and executing hand techniques). This sequence is taken out of Gekisai Dai Ichi kata).
At this level, you are expected to demonstrate these katas in good form.
Kumite: Sandan Gi number 1 to 4; two-person Gekisai Dai Ichi drill and full contact randori
At your 5th kyu grading, you are required to perform:
- Sandan Gi numbers 1 to 4 drill
- Two-person Gekisai Dai Ichi drill, and
- Free sparring with partners of both lower and higher ranks.
You are required to demonstrate basic kakie form (sticking hand practice) as well as techniques taken from Gekisai Dai Ichi and Gekisai Dai Ni kata during kakie.
At the 5th kyu level (blue belt), you are required to show intermediate break-fall techniques starting from squatting positions, including:
- side break-fall from a squatting position (both left and right sides)
- back break-fall from a squatting position
- shoulder roll from a squatting position (both left and right sides).
As mentioned in the previous post of this series, most Goju Ryu dojos include some form of fitness test either at the end or at the beginning of the grading and it will get tougher as you move up the ranks.
As an example, at the blue belt level, you may be required to perform 50 reps of each of the following:
- air squats
- star jumps
At the 5th kyu level, you may be asked to assist your instructors with showing beginners (white and yellow belt levels) some basic techniques and Gekisai Dai Ichi. Teaching does take away your training time on the dojo floor but can be very beneficial. Any gaps in kata or basic techniques will become apparent during teaching and you will have the opportunity to fill in those gaps and build a solid foundation.
You should also be able to conduct opening and closing ceremonies and should know all the basic terminologies very well.
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