Tsumura-Shihan (Master and Canadian Chief Instructor), identifies the following benefits of training in karate & kobudo.  The Deep River club strives to maintain the training standards necessary to realize these benefits.

Fitness and Overall Health: Karate training improves flexibility, strength, coordination, and endurance of an individual. Karate's punches, thrusts, kicks, blocks, sweeps and throws tones the whole body in an explosive and dynamic workout.

Stress Reduction: In addition to the stress reducing benefits of any physical activity, Karate also improves concentration and awareness of mental attitudes that can cause stress.

Self-Confidence: While all physical activities improves feelings of well-being, Traditional Karate places special emphasis on building character, and focuses on increasing self-confidence, awareness, and perseverance through repetitive physical and mental exercises.

Self-Defense: Traditional Karate is the best martial art for self-defense because it focuses on actual defense skills rather than sport oriented techniques that are found to be impractical and inefficient in actual combative situations.

Physical benefits include: Mental benefits include:
Cardiovascular exercise
Stress relief
Aerobic activity
Develop quicker reflexes
Plyometric explosiveness
Practicality in judgment

Ranking System and Expectations

Good now that you have read this far, you should realize that karate-do (the "way" of karate) is much more than fighting or exercise; it is about improving yourself and those around you. We often bow in class to show mutual respect between all karate-ka; senseis, sempeis and students. The coloured belt system--a British innovation# with its increasingly dark colour signaling duration of training--is intended to give karate-ka a sense of where they are in their development as a karate-ka. It is not about declaring one person better than another and it is not like passing through the grades in school. It is a reflection of your ability, effort, knowledge, focus, discipline, dedication, and attitude.

It is good to have goals, and there is nothing wrong about having the black belt as your long-term goal, but you must understand what that entails and what it represents.

With that thought in mind, following is a table of typical timelines for youth and adult karate-ka. Students that often undertake thoughtful practice outside of class are likely to progress more quickly than those that only attend scheduled classes. Students that miss many classes and exert limited effort, focus, and discipline can expect to progress more slowly, or not at all.

Typical Durations
Accumulated Years
Shodan (1st Dan)10-12*6

* Students must be 16 years of age or older to obtain their black belt.

Youth student classes are half as long as adult classes and youth typically do not have the same focus as adults leading to longer times. However, it should be noted that youth students are often old enough to switch to the adult class and tend to become more focussed by the time they reach the more senior ranks [*].

The expectations of the senseis increase with belt, that is senior rank students are expected to demonstrate an evident and higher degree of ability, effort, knowledge, focus, discipline, dedication, and attitude; indeed a brown belt performing yellow-belt techniques (e.g. pinan nidan), should be noticeably different than the yellow belt student. As well, development and refinement of skills and knowledge takes time and so there are minimum dwell times in the senior ranks (e.g. blue to brown is a minimum of 1 year).

The table should be considered a guideline--nothing more. People progress at different rates for a myriad of reasons. Students and parents/guardians should NOT have fixed expectations based on the table. No true student-ka would ever make comparisons against other students. Advancement is at the discretion of the senseis only and for Shito-Ryu Itosu-Kai Canada ultimately and exclusively at the discretion of Kei Tsumura Shihan.

# There are various views of the origin of the coloured belt system. A popular, if not nostalgic, view is the student starts with a white belt. While the gi is washed, the belt is not. Over time the belt becomes dark while the gi remains white. Interestingly, with even further training the blackened belt wears and freys revealing a white core indicating that even the master, remains a student. At your next ranking, look at Tsumura Shihan's belt.