At the Vermont Kung Fu Academy a colored sash system is used to indicate the level of achievement of each student. Testing is done two to four times per year and will always consist of two parts. One part is written consisting of questions and short answers, or essay. The second part is physical and tests improvement, precision of movement, stamina, strength, and speed. Please note, you will not necessarily test at each testing. Eligibility for testing is determined by the instructor. Minimum material is required for each level.
White Sash Each student begins with a White Sash. White represents the cardinal direction West, and symbolizes purity and beginnings. Its element is Metal.
Nine basic exercises, the first two person exercise, and one open hand form. You must reach this level to begin attending the Intermediate class. (Students may receive a Yellow Stripe on their White Sash) Yellow symbolizes perseverence but does not represent a cardinal direction. Its element is earth.
Two additional open hand forms, and the twelve two person self-defense exercises. Green represents the cardinal direction East and symbolizes growth and life. Its element is Wood.
One additional open hand form and one weapon form (staff is generally learned first). Students receive a Red Stripe on their Green Sash. Red along with green also symbolizes growth as well as passion and enthusiasm.
One additional open hand form called 36 Hands. Red symbolizes passion and represents the cardinal direction South. Its element is Fire.
Two additional open hand forms, and one additional weapon form. Once a student reaches Black Sash, there are additional levels within this rank. Sash color, however, does not change. Black represents the cardinal direction North and symbolizes nobility, honor and the extinquishing of passion. Its element is Water.