DNBK Australia Examination Application

Types of Certification

  1. Dan grade certification
    Certifications from Shodan to Hachidan are normally awarded. Kyudan and Judan are only awarded under very exceptional circumstances.
  2. Dojo Titles
    These are titles used in the dojo to designate the hierarchy within the dojo. These are:
    • Shidoin – Leading instructor of the dojo
      Sandan and above that have significant teaching responsibility
    • Shihan-Dai – Deputy master instructor of the dojo
      Yondan and above that directly assist the Shihan
    • Shihan – Master instructor of the dojo
      Main instructor of the dojo
    • So-Shihan – Master of master instructors of the dojo
      For large organisations that have many dojos and Shihan
  3. Samurai Titles
    These are titles that were awarded by the Royal Family to the Samurai class. DNBK was given permission from the Japanese Government to also award these titles. These titles are awarded to those members that are both technically excellent and morally outstanding.
    • Renshi – Polished Samurai Warrior
      Yondan and above
    • Kyoshi – Master instructor Samurai Warrior
      Rokudan and above
    • Hanshi – Illustrious Samurai Warrior
      Hachidan and above
  4. Dojo Certification
    Dojo leaders that are Certified by DNBK can have their dojo registered in Japan.

The examination process

This examination has been derived from my experiences of witnessing and being examined many times by Hamada Hanshi (President of DNBK) and panels of Japanese Sensei since 2004. The examinations have varied but they always put the candidates under pressure. I have tried to stay true to the spirit of DNBK with this examination process.

There are many different styles of Karatedo and Jujutsu so it is not possible to examine each individual style. You can however examine the effectiveness of the style.  Which is what this examination attempt to do. This is done by implementing “pressure tests”. One of the best pressures is “time”. Using time constraints means the candidate must continuously perform at their peak. There is a treasured Japanese saying “Ichi-go ichi-e”, which means “One meeting, one chance”. The same is true of a fight, you only get one chance. 

The examination duration is approximately 10 minutes and consists of two tests.

1. Waza (Technique)
Demonstration of your art

This test will be timed to 4-5 minutes. You need to condense and showcase your art within this time limit. Be careful to stay within the time limit, going outside the limit will have a negative impact upon your overall grading regardless of the quality of the demonstration. All demonstrations in Japan are time limited. Being able to distil your art and ability into 4-5 minutes is a test within itself.

Time TakenShodan - NidanSandan and above
under 4 minPenaltyPenalty/Fail
over 5 minPenaltyPenalty/Fail

2. Goshin-Jutsu (Self defence)
Jujutsu – Tanto defence from seiza
Karatedo – Tanto defence from shizentai

This test consists of multiple attacks each lasting about 30 seconds. The attack style will vary depending upon the grade being attempted. The attacker could come from the front, back or side; could have one knife or two; could be two attackers. It is imperative to use techniques that demonstrate your chosen art during the self defence segment. For example; when examining for Karatedo do not use grappling techniques as you are trying to showcase your skill in Karatedo not Judo or Jujutsu. You are not expected to win all rounds – perhaps no rounds. This can be dependant on the Uke you are against. What is expected is the courage, strategy, techniques attempted and intestinal fortitude to persist. It is also important to realise that it is NOT a life and death battle so care MUST be taken to ensure you do not injure the Uke. Lack of control will result in failure.

 Shodan - NidanSandan and above
Techniques not representing artPenaltyPenalty/Fail
Mostly defensivePenaltyPenalty/Fail
Little strategyPenaltyPenalty/Fail
Few varied techniquesPenaltyPenalty/Fail
Not complete section (except due to injury)FailFail
Lack of controlFailFail

Multiple penalties can result in failure

This test is designed to highlight “Heroic Courage”, one of the defining principles of Bushido as defined by Nitobe Inazō in his book BUSHIDO The soul of Japan. First published in 1900 and still in print today.

Heroic Courage (勇, yū) – A true warrior must have heroic courage. It is absolutely risky. It is living life completely, fully and wonderfully. Heroic courage is not blind. It is intelligent and strong.

Primary points relating to the examination:

Techniques not representing art
For example: Osae Waza (Grappling) is not considered to be within the realm of Karatedo. 

Mostly defensive
As the Tanto attacks are about 30sec in duration there is no time to move away from the attacker to look for weakness or analyse the attack. You need to act quickly but not without thought. You need to have the courage to trust that your years of training will prevail. You will find the opening in the heat of battle!

Little strategy
Being courageous does not mean blindly attacking, “heroic courage is intelligent and strong”. A common error is, “Repeatedly trying the same strategy and expecting a different result.”

Few varied techniques
You should try to vary the techniques you use. This will showcase the depth of your knowledge. You may win five rounds but you may only show one technique. Winning is not the primary objective of the examination.

Not complete section
This examination is designed to put the candidates under physical and mental pressure. Do not cave into the mental pressure and quit before the section is complete (unless you are injured).

Lack of control
If the panel feel your techniques are dangerous or using excessive force then the test will be terminated. You may or may not receive a warning prior to the test being terminated. This will result in a failure.

Eligibility, Conditions & General information:

  • DNBK membership for a minimum of 1 year.
  • There are NO certifications below Shodan
  • Testing for Shodan to Godan is available via the process outlined above. Grade levels above Godan have additional requirements.
  • The minimum time between grading is to be equal to the current grade level.
    e.g. attempting 5th Dan, 4 years since 4th Dan.
  • Members that are NOT the head of their dojo
    • Certification will not exceed the current certification awarded by their dojo.
    • Member MUST have permission from their Sensei.
  • Members that ARE the head of their dojo
    • Testing is available to one level above their current grade.
    • Provide a short essay on your “Budo Philosophy”.

The fee depends upon the rank/title being attempted. You will be advised of the examination fee after your application has been submitted.

Certification requests from the Australian Representative are forwarded to Japan and submitted to the Honbu board of Directors for approval. If approved, the time duration to receive a certificate from Japan can be between 3 – 9 months (depends upon the meeting schedule of Honbu board).

The fee is refunded if the member does not pass the examination.