Posted by: mrpeatie | March 18, 2009

11-Year Old Earns 1st Degree Black Belt

Dominick Schettini

Dominick Schettini

On Saturday, March 14, 11 year old Dominick Schettini passed his Shodan test to earn his 1st degree black belt. Dominick started his training when he was 6 years old and is the 3rd student from the Daniel Island dojo to earn his black belt and will officially receive his belt during a ceremony at St. Joseph’s Church in West Ashley on Saturday, March 21 at 11am.

In order to achieve the rank of Shodan (1st degree black belt) a student must learn, practice, and be dedicated to the art of karate for about 3-5 years until they are invited to test for their black belt by the senior instructors of Japan Karate Institute. To pass the test, a student must demonstrate proficiency in the three main areas of Wado-Ryu karate. They are kihons (basic techniques), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring). While the test is different and unique for each student, it is always extremely challenging, often pushing students to the brink of their mental and physical abilities.

It’s very rare for a student as young as Dominick to have progressed through the belt ranks and be invited to test, let alone pass. Most children don’t have the maturity and focus to fully grasp what is required of them to achieve the rank of Shodan. Dominick has showed an amazing amount of commitment and dedication to his karate training over the years and we are honored to have him as a student at Japan Karate Institute.



  1. I’m certain that Dominick has worked very diligently and learned a lot. Now for a reality check – he’s not old enough to ride his bicycle across a busy street.

    A young but exceptional student might earn a shodan-ho (black belt with a white stripe) as a holding rank until he’s 16.

    11 year-old black belts are just one more reason why people think the martial arts are a joke, and why the public gives this industry zero respect.

  2. You are certainly entitled to that opinion. The dojo I teach at has been around over 5 years now and he remains the only student under 18 to get his black belt and will remain so for a while longer it appears. He’s an inspiration and a role model to every kid who trains with us. I personally don’t see how that’s a joke or doesn’t garner respect.

    By the way, I really liked your post and stance about the angry mother. That was all very well said.

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