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What A Black Belt Should Be (as Iain sees it!)

Welcome to the longest podcast we have ever done! This month’s podcast follows on from last month’s on the grading system and the black belt. I received a lot of requests for more information on what I felt a syllabus should include and what a dan grade should be. So I picked up a copy of my syllabus and clicked the record icon on my laptop. The resulting “stream of consciousness” is this month’s podcast.

The podcast is split into two halves. In the first half, I discuss the topics that I feel a holistic and pragmatic syllabus should include and why they are so important. I think it would be fair to say that the majority of martial arts syllabuses omit these things so I hope it provides some food for thought. The second part of the podcast discusses how my personal syllabus (which I keep private) is set up and the podcast also breaks down what we do for 9th kyu and 1st dan; and a little bit of what we cover as students make their way from one to the other.

As I hope I made clear last month, I personally don’t believe that a universal and standardised criteria for dan grades is a good idea (listen to the podcast for the details of why I think that). So in that vein, I am not suggesting that what I do is what others must also do; nor am I suggesting that all syllabuses adopt the criteria I personally use. I do, however, hope that this discussion on what I personally do is helpful to you in structuring what you do.

I hope you enjoy the podcast and I’ll be back with a standard length podcast next month!

All the best,


What A Black Belt ...
Iain Abernethy