Black Belt Exam

Fall Black Belt Exam Complete!

Fall Black Belt Exam

Saturday, September 18th marked the second of this year’s black belt examinations (held yearly in March and September).  Hanshi Jarem evaluated eight candidates for JR Shodan and Shodan rank as well as four candidates for Nidan.

We are proud to congratulate all candidates for their success and for a tremendous performance during the promotional examination!!  You showed determination, perseverance, respect, and the skills necessary to be honored with a US Budokai Black Belt rank!

New Black Belts
Congratulations New Black Belts

The road to first-degree black belt (Shodan) takes about 5 years from a JR-level white belt.  Many of the candidates in last week’s testing joined as Tiny Tigers and can attest to an even longer commitment towards reaching the goal of black belt. Part of the testing for first-degree black belt is to write an essay about “How Karate Has Changed My Life” and to present a 2-minute oral presentation.  These self-reflection essays inevitably speak to the success of our program.  Young students impart his/her ability to be more focused, attain better grades, and understand the need to persevere in all life’s endeavors.  Students are also more discerning in their friendships and cooperate more with parents and siblings at home.  Most touching was one candidate acknowledging how karate has helped him handle his autism spectrum disorder; and, these are just a few of the benefits to walking the road to black belt with US Budokai Karate’s proven programs!

What discerns a JR-level black belt (with a white stripe) from an adult black belt is age.  Students must be thirteen (13) years old to wear an adult black belt rank.

Students also must be at a minimum of 13 years old to test for Nidan (second-degree black belt).  We are extremely proud of the work put in by the four new Nidans who all started as JR or Tiny Tiger members (8 – 10 years ago)!! Nidan candidates were asked to read some well know martial arts books and report/reflect upon their readings.  The books included:

Karate-Do My Way of Life by Gichin Funakoshi, The Karate Dojo by Peter Urban, Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams, and Be Like Water by Joseph Cardillo.  All of these books are highly recommended reading for all martial artists!

Candidates reported not only on the content of the books but also how they were impressed by the same.  Across the board, students deepened their understanding of the philosophies and history underlying karate and matured in their approach to life and training in the arts.  As one continues to progress, it becomes clear that karate is a way of life, a path to help one keep true to themselves, their morals, and ideals.  It far exceeds punching and kicking!!

Check out our Facebook page for photos from the promotional here: Black Belt Promotional September 18 2021 and give us a “like” while you’re visiting!! OSU!


Russ Jarem

Hanshi Russ Jarem, 8th-degree black belt

Susan Warzek

Kyoshi Susan Warzek, 7th-degree black belt & US BUDOKAI KARATE of Clifton Park have been repeatedly selected as the communities’ #1 Martial Arts School!

Established in 1980 by Master Instructor, Hanshi Russ Jarem an 8th degree Black Belt, US Budokai Karate and for pre-school children ages, 4-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up are designed to develop the skills needed for a successful in school and later in life.

US Budokai Karate Adult Karate training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay in shape), or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.  A place to develop mind, body, and spirit.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours or the day, 7 days a week at or call directly at 518-383-0484. You can also visit our website at

The US Budokai Karate is centrally located in the Capital District Area in Saratoga County, New York at 215 Guideboard Road, Clifton Park, NY  12065.