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How do I Become a Karate Instructor?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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A karate instructor teaches martial arts to students. These instructors are experienced in the all aspects of a specific karate martial arts style. Traditional karate instructors have extensive experience in ethics, philosophy, and discipline within the specific art. To become a karate instructor a student must first obtain a black belt in a specific karate style.

The word karate means empty hand. It is formed by two words kara(empty)and te (hand). Karate originated in Okinawa in the 1600s and has roots from the Chinese martial arts. It was developed as a means of self-defense for the inhabitants of the Okinawa islands because weapons were outlawed. Today there are many styles of karate, but they all follow the basic hard-style approach of using hands and feet for striking adversaries.

A karate student will focus on four primary factors throughout his journey to become a black belt. These are forms, sparring, one-step take downs, and mental training. To become a karate instructor an individual must be dedicated to training the mind and body in an effort to obtain humility, patience, and mental control over stressful situations.

Most karate schools follow the a progressive color sequence of white, yellow, orange, green, blue, red, brown, and finally black. The required time of training for each color is between three and six months. The karate program is a process of learning and teaching the martial arts. It typically takes about three years to receive a first-degree black belt.

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A first-degree black belt ranking is the entry level to becoming an assistant teacher of a karate studio. If an individual wants to become a karate instructor he should strive to obtain a minimum of a second-degree black belt, which typically takes a total of six years of practice.

The first-degree black belt is considered a junior black belt as there are ten levels of black belt within most karate styles. Each level typically takes three years to complete the necessary teaching and training. While the second-degree black belt is sufficient to become a karate instructor, a master black belt is preferred for opening a school. A master black belt is a fourth-degree to sixth-degree black belt. This requires a student to practice for approximately 15 years.

Grand master black belts are reserved for sixth-degree black belts and higher practitioners. These individuals have devoted their lives to becoming karate instructors and are well respected in their martial arts domain. The tenth-degree black belt is the pinnacle degree for a martial artist and will take upwards of 30 years to obtain. These individuals are expert teachers in karate, which allows them the opportunity to teach most military and combat arts throughout the world.

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