How Long Does It Take to Earn a Martial Arts Black Belt


In Karate, Kenpo or Taekwondo there is a certain length of time that it should take to earn a black belt. These things are pretty much set in stone, but have been wildly abused by martial arts styles. Still, it is possible, if you understand certain things, to make your system easy to learn in a couple of years.

First, you should understand that karate, kenpo and taekwondo come from the same roots, and that is why there is a relative standard of time that it takes to achieve the first dan. Ed Parker learned and taught karate in the beginning of kenpo, and tekwondo developed form the eight houses, or Kwans, that were basically karate. Kung Fu based arts still rely on the same commonality of body motion, and thus are prone to the same rules.

There should be eight forms to black belt. These forms are usually the five pinans, or Heians, and have equivalent forms in taekwondo. Kenpokas, and other martial arts students will have to research this a bit to find eight forms that fit their art.

There should be about 72 techniques learned. This is the number of techniques that if practiced will cover the basics of the art, and will take a student to the intuitive state of mind that is necessary to be promoted to the dan ranks. More than this and it is confusing, less than this and there isn’t (normally) enough data.

The art should consist of a blend of forms, techniques, and freestyle. Blending martial arts kata, bunkai and kumite allows the concept of a perfect move to be constructed and bridged from theory to reality. Any art that doesn’t have all three should actually not be considered an art, as it will not give the benefits, no matter what anybody says, that are possible through these three practices.

The essence of the art should be always be towards good control. No matter how people proclaim that an art must be more real, it becomes less real as an art if it forsakes control. One must learn to control their body, their fellow man, and then the world becomes a better place where fights just don’t happen.

An art should be a balance of speed, power and technique. Speed can lead to power, but power doesn’t necessarily lead to speed, so speed is superior to power. Technique, however, is superior to both.

These factors all adhered to, along with a proper understanding of basics, and one can earn a black belt in as little as one year, though two years is probably the average time. To learn faster than that indicates that the person hasn’t spent enough time actually controlling his body, and so lacks the basics of controlling his mind. To learn slower is to waste your time.

These principles are adhered to in the courses offered at Monster Martial Arts.

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