Earning a Yellow Belt Kenpo Karate

By November 30, 2019 No Comments

A yellow belt is the first belt that you can earn in American Kenpo Karate. To earn your yellow belt in karate, you must learn and demonstrate competency in 4 areas: 1) Self Defense Techniques; 2) Sets; 3) Forms; 4) Freestyle moves.

1) Self Defense Techniques— There are 10 techniques in the yellow belt karate belt level. At yellow belt level, the techniques are primarily defensive against many different categories of attack. Below is a list of the techniques organized by category of attack.

Grabs & Tackles

• Delayed Sword
• Mace of Aggression
• Sword and Hammer


• Alternating Maces


• Sword of Destruction
• Attacking Mace

Hugs & Holds

• Captured Twigs

Locks & Chokes

• Grasp of Death


• Checking The Storm


• Deflecting Hammer

2) Sets— Blocking Set 1 (otherwise known as Star Block) is the set required for a Yellow Belt in Kenpo Karate. It teaches students how to execute 5 basic blocks: upward, inward, outward, downward, and pushdown. These are the blocks that they will use in their techniques at yellow belt level.

3) Forms— Forms are also known as katas. Short Form 1 (on the right side) is the kata required for Yellow Belt. This kata teaches you to retreat while defending and how to anticipate an opponent’s attack from 4 different angles.

Short Form 1 contains a lot of information, including the following:

Stances: attention, horse, neutral
Basic Blocks: inward, outward, upward, downward
Double Factor Blocks: high, low
Four Basic Angles of Attack: 12:00, 9:00, 3:00, 6:00
Back Elbow Strike while Blocking

There are many more things that short form 1 teaches. Check out Master Rick Jeffcoat’s demonstration below.

4) Freestyle Techniques— these techniques are commonly used for sparring. At the yellow belt level, they include a cross-grab and punch to the ribs or to the head from a fighting stance. Check out this demonstration from of freestyle techniques for yellow and orange belt, compliments of Casa de Kenpo.

Earning a yellow belt in karate is the first step! After your first belt, you will be motivated to keep going to your Black Belt.