Gradings for rank are conducted twice a year, as near to November 10th as possible to commemorate the anniversary of Master Funakoshi's birth, and April 26th to commemorate the anniversary of his death. Each grading covers all elements of Karate -- kihon, kata, and kumite.
All Canada Shotokan/SKA students begin with a white belt (unranked) and may advance through different levels of white, brown and black belt. (SKA does not award belts of other colors). The ultimate rank achievable, in this original ranking system created by Master Funakoshi, is Godan, (fifth-degree black belt), the highest rank ever awarded by Master Funakoshi.
Because all students have different potentials, it is important not to compare your progress with that of another. Gradings and ranks should only be used as a means by which to measure your own improvement. During grading, consideration in awarding rank, other than for one's technical level, is given to age, time practicing, previous experience, physical condition, physical potential, personal situations, attitude toward practice, attitude toward others, concern for responsibilites, and number of special trainings.
It is the student's responsibility to do his or her best during the grading and to accept the rank awarded with dignity and humility. The most important point is the student's mental attitude.
All students must be current in their Canada Shotokan/SKA and Dojo dues before being graded. The cost of Canada Shotokan/SKA membership is $50 US for the first year, $75 US thereafter. Black belts must also be current in their Black Belt Council dues.