Black Belt Program

Achieving the rank of black belt is an amazing accomplishment that requires training, dedication, and the desire to reach a lofty and honorable goal. Karate West black belts are some of the best in the nation.

Through Karate West’s fun but challenging curriculum, students learn what it takes to become a skilled martial artist both physically and mentally. Through their path toward black belt, our students attain physical acuity, mental strength, and inner power.

We value the things in life that take work. Karate West’s black belt exam is very rigorous. Like anything we choose in life, from the university we attend, to the life partner we marry, to the friends we spend our time with, it is important we choose the fit that brings us closer to our ideal self. And sometimes, the best is not the easiest.

Karate West’s black belt test is just that: it the best, but it is not the easiest.

How long does it take to get your black belt?
The time it takes to become proficient varies with each individual. Students are often amazed by their own ability and accomplishment in as little as six months. Training will give you the confidence of knowing that you can defend yourself in most situations.Your goal should be to attain the rank of Black Belt. This level of proficiency typically takes about 3.5 years for adults and 5 years for children.

Do I have to spar on my test?
Yes, sparring is part of the black belt test curriculum at Karate West. In order to fully assess your skills as a martial artist, you must be proficient in both the art (katas/forms) and martial (sparring) aspects of martial arts. On your test, you will be paired with a skilled black belt who will take care to provide the appropriate level of challenge for you.

What is the Black Belt Prep Course?
It’s an optional early Saturday morning course that runs approximately three and a half months prior to the next Black Belt test. The class is held from 7am to 9am and is designed to increase a student’s chance of passing their Black Belt test. Instructors hone and fine tune the participant’s skills via specific test curriculum instruction.

Do I need a partner for the test?
Yes. You will either pair up with someone of your choice who is also participating in the BBPC or we will assign you an appropriate partner at your request.

How much practice is required outside of my normal training and Black Belt Prep Course?
We recommend that you try to train an additional 5 hours per week on top of your regular training. Many times the school has floor space available to you for additional training.

Can people watch the test?
No. Testing for black belt is a very personal experience grounded in extensive training, both physical and emotional. Each student will be assessed by a group of black belt judges. Allowing outside spectators to be present is not beneficial for those testing.

What if I fail?
As a student of Karate West, you will be proud to learn that Karate West’s black belt test is highly rigorous. This means that students who matriculate and graduate with the rank of black belt are highly skilled, knowledgeable and accomplished martial artists. That being said, sometimes students do fail the black belt test on their first attempt. You are welcome to test for black belt as many times as necessary. We test three times per year. With a little more time and training, those who do not pass their first attempt often do pass on their second.

Once I pass my black belt test, can I keep training? Is there more learning beyond black belt?
This is a common question. The answer is yes, absolutely! Black belt is an amazing achievement. It is an ambitious and honorable goal. That being said, there is so much to learn once you enter into the black belt stage of your training. Many black belts say that they have experienced even more fun and growth once they achieved black belt. Once you achieve black belt, there is a whole new set of curriculum, as well as certain training privileges only awarded to those ranked black belt or higher. It’s like graduating high school and entering into college. A huge achievement, coupled with a whole new set of fun, learning and experiences!


Chris Chen

Chris Chen

My black belt really makes me who I am today. I tend to be a fun and open guy, and I think that through my training at Karate West, I was able to become more confident about who I am. My black belt also serves as a reminder that I can overcome anything that I put my mind to, and it motivates me to be the best person that I can be. Getting my black belt also taught me how to discipline myself. As I prepared for my black belt test, I learned that there is no gray area to fall between after the test; everything is strictly black or white (pun absolutely intended), and I learned to discipline myself in order to accomplish what I want to do and succeed. And that is what my black belt means to me.

Jordan Webber

Jordan Webber

A black belt is truly something you are, not something you have. When I joined karate, I had just moved here. Five years later, I still count myself as part of the Karate West family, but now I have a black belt. I’m not a particularly coordinated person, but as a black belt, a lot of the moves we do feel like they come straight out of a Bond movie, and I am in constant surprise at my ability and reflexes. Not only have I advanced far physically, but being a black belt has shaped my mind. The dedication and rigorous routine you hold yourself to in order to achieve this level becomes ingrained in who you are and is applicable in real life. A black belt is something every martial arts student strives for, and the feeling of accomplishment in both your physique and mind is definitely a feat to behold.

Bradley Kerswill

Bradley Kerswill

My black belt is a reminder of the journey I made to achieve it. It reminds me of the challenges I faced, and the times I felt like giving up, and how I can achieve great things with hard work. However, what my black belt most reminds me of, is the people that helped me to achieve it; those that were there to support me, encourage me, and how important it is to continue to help and encourage others, similar to how others did for me. My black belt reminds me of my family at Karate West, that is something I will always have with me.

Alejandro Ramirez

Alejandro Ramirez

To me, a black belt is overcoming failure. It is persevering through challenges and overcoming obstacles. To me, it means failing brown with a black stripe once, red belt once, and most of all, a black belt once. Anyone can buy a black belt, but no one can buy the experience. You can not buy accomplishment or memories. A black belt is what you get after you have lived the experience of truly working hard daily and waking up at 6am on a Saturday. A black belt is the result of 7 years of training.

Zephren Varner

Zephren Varner

My Black Belt is a thousand memories. Along my journey I learned perseverance, determination and a lot of patience. When I think of my black belt and what I learned at the karate school, I think I mastered the basics, but not just the basics of Karate but the basics of life. It was the karate school that taught me so much, how one should act and behave. How to treat others you meet. The power of enthusiasm, and the ideas of honesty. I was not a hardworking, and determined person when I arrived. I was that toddler that ran away from teachers, drooled on the floor and burrowed into the buckets of gear. Through my time at the karate school earning my black belt, I became the hard working, energetic person I am today. To me, my black belt means the start of my life.