Before a student may take the physical exam for an advanced rank, they must first pass a written test on material appropriate to the level being tested for. The written test must be retaken before each exam. To pass, the test must be completed with a 70% score or better. Before an advanced written exam can be taken, the intermediate level exam must first be passed at least once.
Advanced belt tests continue to progress in difficulty, not just because of more complex requirements, but also because the level of control, intent, and skill that needs to be displayed must also be greater than previously expected. Again, perfection isn’t expected or required, but students should show a clear improvement in the quality of their karate since previous tests.
Advanced students should continue to develop good body mechanics. While the intermediate levels emphasize mechanics around the core of the body, especially while not moving. The advanced levels focus also upon proper use of the limbs, especially while in motion.
Advanced students begin learning the classical forms of karate, and begin with the ones that are considered to be the foundation and most representative of the Shotokan style. These forms must be done with commensurate technical ability and intent, but students should also have a basic idea of the possible applications for the movements within their forms.
For the second two exams, students are expected to develop the concept of a tokuigata, a personal favorite form, which is to be chosen from one of the four classical Shotokan kata: Bassai Dai, Kanku Dai, Jion, and Empi. Advanced students should learn and practice all four, but are expected to quickly settle upon a favorite for intensive study.
Partner drills at the advanced colored belt level require students to continue to demonstrate skill, intent, and control rather than reliance on pure instinct and raw talents. This becomes especially important as the kumite requirements transfer from basics-style to free-style.