The levels mark the progress the karate student makes throughout his/her career and they take the form of belts of different colours. The coloured-belt level system is a recent event in the history of karate. In the past, there were only a few students and they trained in secrecy in various premises, safe from the curiosity of onlookers. As a result, they all knew each other’s worth and coloured belts were not necessary to differentiate their levels.
Over time and with the opening-up of the teaching of karate in schools and new dojos, the number of students increased significantly and the need arose to create a structure to enable their teaching and assessment. The level system was inspired by judo. First of all, only three colours were used: white (up to and including 4th kyu), brown (up to 1st kyu) and black. Today, a system with more colours is used: yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown and black.
It is important to remember that the levels themselves are not the purpose of the training sessions, since a level without good technique is of no use. What is important in the level system is the student’s effort and will to get better in his/her day-to-day practice in order to show his/her progress.
The system used in the AOGKF is pictured above.
The IOGKF allows it's own member countries to set it's own Kyu grade systems, in accordance with the knowledge that is expected at each grade. That is why at International events you may have a different coloured belt to someone of the same level.