Belt Ranking System

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Belts provide challenging, but attainable short term goals toward what may seem like a difficult and unattainable long term goal of Black Belt excellence. In Villari's system, each belt has a specific curriculum and time requirement which slowly increases with each rank. The time required to achieve Black Belt does also vary by individual development. Most students will complete the curriculum in four to six years. The 12th degree Black Belt represents the system's Great Grand Master, Frederick J. Villari.


White is the color of new beginnings, wiping the slate clean, so to speak. It is the blank canvas waiting to be written upon. While white isn't stimulating to the senses, it opens the way for the creation of anything the mind can conceive. White is the beginning of everything, before anything is muddied or thinking is 'colored'.

Yellow is related to the expression and integration of new ideas and thoughts. The color yellow is the color of the mind and the intellect.  Yellow helps create enthusiasm for life and can awaken greater confidence and optimism. A yellow belt student is given his first ray of knowledge, opening his mind to the possibilities of the martial arts.

Orange promotes physical confidence. Orange represents the assimilation of new ideas and frees the spirit of its limitations, giving us the freedom to be ourselves. At the same time it encourages self-respect and respect of others.

Purple promotes harmony of the mind and the emotions, contributing to mental balance and stability, peace of mind, a link between the spiritual and the physical worlds, between thought and activity. Purple has power. It has a richness and quality to it that demands respect. Purple is ambitious and self-assured, the leader. In Shaolin Kempo Karate, Purple Belt indicates that the student is transitioning from the Beginner to the Intermediate Level.

The color blue induces calm and peace within us. This color exhibits an inner security and confidence. You can rely on it to take control and do the right thing in difficult times. 

At this rank, the student is not only learning more advanced Kata, combinations, and Fighting Principles, but is also preparing physically and mentally to make the transition from Intermediate to Advanced Training as a Green Belt.

This color relates to stability and endurance, giving us persistence and the strength to cope with adversity. This is the color of balance and harmony. The student’s mind has begun to absorb his/her instructor’s teachings and his/her techniques are beginning to flourish. 

The student is now recognized as possessing the level of physical skills and understandings of Shaolin Kempo Karate necessary to prepare to enter Black Belt Test Preparation Phase (Brown Belt). His/her fighting and self defense capabilities will be honed and refined to a high level. 

A brown belt is an advanced beginner student whose techniques are beginning to mature, and he is beginning to understand the fruits of his hard work as a beginner. It is the color of the Earth, and represents the foundation developed as a result of his/her training. His/her time is spent polishing and refining in preparation for the arduous test for 1st Degree Black Belt. 

Black means power and control. Black implies self-control and discipline, independence and a strong will, and giving an impression of authority and power. It symbolizes the end of one journey as a Beginner and the start of the journey to Mastery.

Black Belt Ranks

  1. shodan - first degree black belt
  2. nidan - second degree black belt
  3. sandan - third degree black belt
  4. yondan - fourth degree black belt
  5. godan - fifth degree black belt
  6. rokudan - sixth degree black belt
  7. shichidan - seventh degree black belt
  8. hachidan - eighth degree black belt
  9. kyuudan - ninth degree black belt
  10. jūdan - tenth degree black belt


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