Complete Shotokan Karate

Shotokan Karate Seal

Complete Shotokan Karate – Distance Training Home Study Course

A full white to black belt course covering the traditional art of Shotokan Karate, with slight Korean influence due to the unique lineage that this style has passed through. As a Shotokan student, you will learn stances, hand strikes, foot strikes, blocking, katas, and kumite. Sensei Jon Hodge will be your grading instructor, giving your feedback and guiding critiques through your rank exams. This is a self-paced program, which means there are no “forced waits” in between belt tests. Of course, proper training, time, and exertion is necessary to fully prepare yourself for the next rank. Ranks exams can be taken via our video testing process, in which you will receive full feedback and instructor support. The black belt exam can be taken locally at one of our training centers, or through a comprehensive video and written format.


What You Will Learn:

  • All curriculum and rank requirements from White to Black Belt – White, Yellow, Green, Green Stripe, Blue, Blue Stripe, Brown, Brown Stripe, and Red Belt Levels. All traditional requirements are well instructed, with multiple angles, and an easy to use set of menus and indexes.
  • Over 80 Techniques – At each belt level, you will learn the stances (dachi), hand (zuki), blocking (uke), and kicking (geri) techniques.
  • Kumite/Self Defense – Progress from basic to black belt level one step self defense; to build up reactions and understand sparring dynamics. Includes a set of realistic self defense scenarios.
  • 12 Katas – The backbone of Shotokan. Learn each kata with detailed instruction, follow-along, and special angles at your speed.
  • Protocol – regarding execution of kumite, katas, stances, and other unique facts of shotokan karate.

Rank Structure

Complete Shotokan Karate follows the tradition of ranking with colored belts to display a student’s progress. Rank is used in karate to indicate experience, expertise, and to a lesser degree, seniority. Like most Shotokan schools, we use the kyū / dan system with a few modified belt colors, due to our unique Korean influence within our lineage. Traditionally kyu belts are denoted with colors that become darker as a student approaches shodan (1st dan). Our students do not purely train for belts and certificates, but these are useful as markers of progress, and create a physical and tangible goal to work after. The achievement of black belt (shodan/1st dan) is not so much about an ego-boost or displaying supremacy, but a personal memento to years of hard work, self-improvement, and meaningful wisdom gained.


9th Kyū, White Belt


8th Kyū, Yellow Belt


7th Kyū, Green Belt


6th Kyū, Green Stripe Belt


5th Kyū, Blue Belt


4th Kyū, Blue Stripe Belt


3rd Kyū, Brown Belt


2nd Kyū, Brown Stripe Belt


1st Kyū, Red Belt


1st Dan, Black Belt

Get Started Now! Choose An Option Below To Learn More

GMAU Shotokan Karate Student Membership


  • Complete White – 1st Black Curriculum Videos
  • All HD videos filmed in our new studio
  • New Class Every 2 Weeks
  • Official Student Enrollment
  • Anytime Instructor Support
  • Rank Testing
  • Certified Instructor Testing
  • Course Updates + New Material

Student Membership

Complete Shotokan Karate Home Study Course


  • Complete White – 1st Black Curriculum Videos
  • Home Study Manual
  • Official Student Enrollment
  • Rank Testing
  • Online Student Journal + Student Forums

DVD + Streaming Edition – $149
Streaming Edition – $129

Complete Shotokan Master's Program


  • One on One customized training plan
  • 2nd – 3rd dan testing


Common Questions

What is the style background?


From Okinawa, a wonderful and mysterious martial art has passed down to us from the past. It is often said that one who masters the techniques can defend himself readily without weapons and can perform remarkable feats of power and skill. The essence of the martial art style taught by Master Hodge has defensive abilities and goes beyond mere physical defensive feats into the realm of mastery of mind, body and spirit. Practicing Shotokan Karate Do with intensity and focus over time creates a powerful warrior spirit. Using this spirit to serve others with, in and through peace and cooperation will create balance and harmony within the student.

Shotokan Karate Do has its origins in Okinawa and can be traced back into China where many earliest masters studied. For the past thousand years the study and practice of masters and experts through which Shotokan Karate Do was nurtured and perfected took place in Okinawa. In the last century, Shotokan Karate Do has made its way to western lands where many different derivations of martial arts have been made from the original martial art as seen in Okinawa, Korea and China. Any practitioner today must understand that any representation of martial art has been modified and changes to fit for public consumption. The fundamental concepts as presented by Master Hodge are in alignment with Shotokan Karate Do and the original Okinawa Karate Do of Gichin Funakoshi. The fundamental study of Hodge Karate Do, Shotokan Karate Do, through first degree black belt is in alignment with Master Funakoshi. The lineage of Shotokan Karate as taught by Master Hodge is also linked through several Korean masters however, the fundamental style through first degree practiced by all these masters is in alignment with Master Funakoshi:

What is the instructor lineage tree?

1. Gichin Funakoshi, established Shotokan Karate Do in 1939. Master Funakoshi studied from about eleven years old under Azato Anko and Itosu Anko. He practiced diligently and in 1912 became the president of the Okinawan Shobukai. In May 1922, he relocated to Tokyo and became a professional teacher of karate-do. He devoted his entire life to the development of karate-do. He lived out his eighty-eight years of life and left this world on April 26, 1957.

2. Won Kuk Lee, In 1926 Won Kuk Lee travelled to Tokyo, where he attended high school and later attended the Central University of Tokyo (Chuo University) specializing in Law. During his school years, he started training in the martial arts currently known as Karate-Do Shotokan style, under the tutelage of Gichin Funakoshi and his son, Gigō Funakoshi, who was the instructor in charge of the karate club of the Central University of Tokyo. It was there that Won Kuk became one of the first students of karate in Japan, obtaining the highest rank for a person who was not a Japanese national. After his graduation in Chuo University, he traveled Japan, visiting Okinawa and many other cities in China, including centers where Chuan Fa (kung-fu) was taught.

3. Nam Tae Hi, started training in 1946 and received his first degree under Master Won Kuk Lee. After receiving his first degree in Shotokan Karate Do went on to create Oh Do Kwan with Master H.H. Choi.

4. Grand Master Jhoon Goo Rhee – introduced his mixture of Shotokan and Tae Kown Do martial arts to the United States of America since arriving in the 1950s.

5. Allen Steen – was the first american to receive a first degree black belt in 1962 from Jhoon Rhee. Steen also recognized that his first degree was Shotokan Karate Do and subsequent black belt degrees were Tae Kwon Do oriented. In Dallas, Texas he created his Dojo that was American Karate and Tae Kwon Do.

6. Mickey Fisher – Received his black belt from Allen Steen in the mid 1960’s and was an instructor with Allen Steen at American Karate and Tae Kwon Do.

7. P. D. Hale – Received his black belt from Mickey Fisher in late 1960’s in American Karate and Tae Kwon Do. In the 1970’s Master Hale studied under Jae Won Park of Korea and was awarded another certification under Song Moo Kwan. Currently Mr. Hale is a Grand Master with the rank of 10th degree black belt.

8. Rick Williams – Received his black belt from Grand Master P. D. Hale and created Kaufman Karate in the early 1970’s. Currently Master Williams 9th degree black belt owns and operates Crandall Family Martial Arts in Crandall, Texas and he and his wife are managing the Kaufman County Children’s shelter in Kaufman Texas.

9. Jon Hodge – Started training in the early 1990’s under Rick Williams and was subsequently promoted to black belt and became an instructor for Kaufman Karate through 2003. In 2003 Master Hodge opened a school of his own in Crandall and later Seagoville , Texas where he and his son operated the schools until 2012. Currently Master Hodge, a 5th degree black belt is a full time instructor at Crandall Family Martial Arts in Crandall, Texas. Over the years Master Hodge has studied many different forms of martial arts and is also a Master Chi Kung and Tai Chi instructor.

Is your course aligned with a particular organization or association?

Yes, all rank awarded is recognized and accredited through the Global Martial Arts Association, the Association of Martial Artists World Wide, as well as various local and national training centers. If you are looking to receive a certification or ranking through a specific group – then you must contact them directly. If you are purely interested in mastering the art itself, improving yourself, and earning accredited rank as you progress – then our course will be a good fit.

Is a partner required for training and ranking?

Although it is not a complete necessity, it can be very beneficial to have a training partner. The techniques can be practiced solo (preferably with a mirror). In the rank exam video, the kumite can be demonstrated solo or with a partner. If a partner is not available for self defense and one step demonstrations, a hanging bag or realistic dummy can be useful. You will need a partner in the kumite section of the brown belt – black belt rank exams, this can be a friend, training partner, or family member. But, a partner is not necessary for the majority of your training.

Will my certificate state that it was earned “online” or through “home study”?

No. Certificates issued are the same as those awarded to physical training students. This is because we have the same syllabus, testing requirements, and student standards in our home study course. Since you are not physically attending classes, you will need to put in extra work and have a much higher level of self-discipline in order to advance.

What if I have previous martial arts rank and experience?

Great! Many of our students do. We have students that trained 20 years ago, or are currently training, but needing to train at home. We have a great transfer procedure, which allows you to quickly achieve your current rank in our system; without cutting corners, or sacrificing your actual capabilities and understanding of our style. Please read our detailed article “How Do I Transfer My Previous Rank & Experience into Complete Shotokan Karate?

Is there a minimum wait between rank exams? What is the average time between each exam?

There is no “forced wait” in our program. But, we do require students to document their training/practice sessions in the Online Student Journal, which can be found on the Student Area of our website. We require for you to train a minimum number of hours and to document each practice session in your student journal  before you take an exam. We do this for a few reasons:

  • It allows us to keep tabs on your progress, practice schedule, and training time. As your instructors, we are more in the loop, just as we would be if you attended physical classes with us.
  • The minimum training hours are designed so that you get enough repetitions; create real muscle memory, and instinctual movement. It is not enough to just “know how to do a technique” or “know the pattern of a kata” – but to execute these motions in a complete state of being and presence. Sufficient, documented practice will get you there.
  • We want to maintain high standards of excellence and expectations, so that you training, progress, and ranking is up to par to a shotokan student from a physical dojo.

Minimum Training Hours

  • White to Yellow Belt – 36 hours, approx. 3 months
  • Yellow to Green Belt – 36 hours, approx. 3 months
  • Green to Green Stripe Belt – 36 hours, approx. 3 months
  • Green Stripe to Blue Belt – 36 hours, approx. 3 months
  • Blue to Blue Stripe Belt – 36 hours, approx. 3 months
  • Blue Stripe to Brown Belt – 36 hours, approx. 3 months
  • Brown to Brown Stripe Belt – 72 hours, approx. 6 months
  • Brown Stripe to Red Belt – 72 hours, approx. 6 months
  • Red to Black Belt – 108 hours, approx. 9 months

Time between rank exams and time to reach black belt vary student-by-student. It depends on how much time you dedicate to your karate training each week and your training intensity. If you train more often, you can clearly advance at a more rapid pace.

Can my partner (or family members) also take a rank exam and become certified?

Yes! Any additional family member or friend can register as an official student for just $50, which also includes a digital copy of the manual for them, and official student enrollment. This makes them eligible to take rank exams. There is no need to buy two sets of DVDs or two complete courses. This is the best scenario, if you have someone that you can train with consistently. Your family member/friend will need to pay the rank exam fee as well, to be qualified for grading and actual certification.

Is there a cost for testing? What does the rank exam fee include?

Yes. Rank exams are $60 each for yellow – blue stripe belt, and $80 each for brown – red belt. First of all, the fee covers the time and energy that your instructor takes out working with you and grading your exam. Your instructor will take out a good chunk of time to study your exam, grade it, make detailed notes, and work back and forth with you in communication. The fee also covers the actual certificate of rank, and the mailing of this certificate to your address. The more advanced levels require more intricate study, review, and time spent on communication. We do not even charge a monthly or yearly membership fee, but rather only a rank exam fee at each level. Your instructor will also film a personalized feedback video for you going over corrections, tips, and guidance to improve.

Can you earn past 1st dan black belt?

Yes! You will want to join our Shotokan Karate Master’s Program once you qualify. This is a special training program for training and earning 2nd dan and above rank in shotokan karate.

How can I become a certified instructor and run my own Karate classes?

Upon earning a black belt, you can take our Instructor Certification Course. Now that you understand the mechanics and concepts of Shotokan Karate, it is time to learn how to actually teach this to a student. Our Instructor Course covers: cycle of instruction, student learning framework, class structure, how to plan/organize classes, working with children of various ages, teaching adults/seniors, kata instruction, disguising repetition, drills, black belt skills, nutrition, flexibility, testing students, and basic business/management skills in operating your own facility. This course is currently in the works and will be available later this year. By the time you earn your black belt, it will be available as an option to become certified. By earning an instructor certification through our association, you will be able to rank students, and have the prestige and support of our team behind you. Read Sensei Jon’s article “Can I Become A Certified Instructor and Open A Dojo through Complete Shotokan Karate?” We also offer in-person Instructor Certifications setup as a one-on-one event or in a group event.

Can I see the certificate of rank?

Yes, of course! Here is the Certificate of Rank.

Meet Your Instructor

Jon Hodge


Jon Hodge currently holds the rank of 6th dan black belt in shotokan karate and song moo kwan. He has taught martial arts for nearly 20 years. Over the years Master Hodge has studied many different forms of martial arts and is also a Master Chi Kung and Tai Chi instructor. Master Hodge is well known as a teacher of self defense, self discipline, and most importantly to him – self improvement.

Who Trains with Our Courses

The great thing about our home study courses is that, not only will you be learning and progressing with a structured curriculum, but you can also earn real rank and credentials! We currently have hundreds or martial artists around the world using our courses. Here are some examples of students who train with our course.

  • Individuals who have trained in martial arts in the past, but have taken some time off. (Our Courses offer an opportunity to pick back up where they left off on their own schedule, or learn a new discipline)
  • Current students training in martial arts, who are looking to learn something new. (If you are currently training in Karate, for example, but you would like to master a new art such as Krav Maga or Bo)
  •  Martial Arts instructors and school owners. (Wanting to learn a new art, and even become a Certified Instructor in one of our programs, to have something new and exciting to teach their students).
  • Anyone who wants to “feel like a white belt again.” (Whether you have earned several black belts, or just have aspirations to get there, our courses give you the change to start a new  journey, and reach a new goal).
  • Individuals who are too busy to attend regularly scheduled classes, or that do not have a training facility near by. (Our courses can be used anywhere, as long as you have the desire and dedication to train)

Read Some Real Reviews

Before I begin my review, here’s a little about my experience in Martial Arts :

I have studied Martial Arts in some form or another since I was child (approximately 8 years old), and have been thoroughly trained in various styles. I studied 3 Japanese forms of Karate-Do including; Yoshukai Karate (which was directly formed from Chito-Ryu and the grandchild form of Shorin-Ryu), Goju-Ryu, and Wado-Ryu. I’ve also been trained in American Kenpo, Tai Chi, American Boxing and Kickboxing, as well as some informal training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo at the local MMA gym. I am also a student of the Japanese Language and currently studying Shotokan Karate-Do (using this DVD set) as well as continuing my Tai Chi training.

Since Shotokan Karate-Do is (basically) the Father of all Japanese forms of Karate, I’ve always had an interest in studying the art form. However, in my area Dojos for this form are non-existent (and several other styles have vacated the area as well). So for a long time, I felt that the only way I could learn this style is that I’d have to relocate to another area, or go to Japan (on an extended stay) and study there. As much as I’d love to go to Japan to study, at this point in time, it didn’t seem very likely.

Besides the (near) impossible idea of relocating to study in a Dojo, taking a class is also impractical for me personally because a few years ago I was in a traumatic accident that cost me my right calf muscle and the ability to walk without using crutches. So for a while, I felt that my Martial Arts career had expired and there was no way I could further my training…

That is, of course, until I stumbled upon the “Complete Shotokan Karate” DVD set by Jon Hodge-Sensei. I decided to take a gamble on this DVD set and see if maybe I could at least learn about the art form. Well, I’ve been following along fairly diligently for the past few weeks or so, and I must say I’m blown away by the results I’ve received. Not only am I learning a form of Karate that I’ve longed to study since childhood, I’ve actually made leaps and bounds in my recovery. I had been out of Physical Therapy for a while, so I’ve been using this DVD as my guide, and after learning the techniques that Hodge-Sensei teaches, I’m actually moving forward again. I’ve regained balance and strength within my right leg (can even perform the “Crane Stance” on it, which is a one legged stance), my endurance and stamina is up, and I’ve even regained some of the motion within my right foot (which was pretty much a stump beforehand). I may not be able to run the New York City Marathon right now, but I’m making a lot of progress that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Since starting this DVD set, I’ve also been incorporating some basic Tai Chi movements into my daily routine as well as an added supplement and they both seem to be paying off.

As far as the Instruction and Material on the DVD itself goes, everything is laid out in an easy to follow manner.

Hodge-Sensei goes through the stances, techniques, kata, kumite, and self defense portions of each belt multiple times, in many angles, and gives a thorough explanation regarding the Bunkai (Philosophy and Reasoning why each technique is performed). He also provides a step by step instruction, broken into 5 segments, of each Kata that is required at each grade level. He also performs the Kata in two angles at regular speed before hand, and then there’s a “follow along” segment following the instruction. Hodge-Sensei definitely makes sure that you understand the Kata before moving onto the next.

I’d also like to mention that if you need help, or have questions about the program, you can easily contact Hodge-Sensei or his son (Michael-Sensei) via their website. I’ve had several discussions with Michael-Sensei regarding the techniques, testing, and so on, and he has been nothing but helpful, supportive, and incredibly generous to me. This is not like a regular DVD set where you JUST buy the DVD and that’s all the help you get. After buying the DVDs, you can register on their website and become a “Distance Student” (something I have yet to do), and receive help from Hodge-Sensei or Michael-Sensei. There’s also another cool feature this program offers that no other DVD set does..

You can actually test, and get ranked, in the style (all the way up to the Black Belt Levels). You take a video of yourself performing the techniques, Kata, Kumite, and Self Defense for each grade level, and email it to them. Afterwards, they’ll grade your video and send you your test results (you can also request the physical belts from them as well).

Also, you test when YOU are ready. It’s not predetermined by anybody but how YOU think you are doing.

Overall, I will rank this video a 5 out of 5. The instructions are clear, precise, helpful, and very thorough. Their support system (aka your Senseis) are available to their students and are very helpful when you need them. And most of all, it’s helped me regain something I thought I’d never have again. Usage in my leg. For that alone, I’m beyond grateful for this series.

Whether you are a beginner to Martial Arts, or an Advanced Student, this DVD set can benefit your training. I recommend to all Martial Artists interested in Shotokan Karate-Do, whether you take formal training in a Dojo or not. It can supplement anybody’s training, you just actually have to do the training. But if you follow along and train diligently, you will receive results.

-Adam B.

I have not been in class in years. The cliché you don’t use you lose it is right. This dvd pack helps you find it again. The guidance is easy to follow and had me up to par within the 1st dvd. Awesome buy for the beginner to the advanced.

-A.M Newcomer

Wow! I was more than impressed when I saw the quality of these DVD’s on screen. But what impressed me most was the method of delivery with which Sensei Jon Hodge so casually teaches by. He verbally explains each move in detail and also provides visual demonstrations from a variety of angles making the moves very easy to comprehend. It is obvious that he is a devoted master of Shotokan karate, and I am very excited to learn from this Sensei.

-Tony Hawkins

Sensei Hodge provides detailed instruction from multiple angles. My e-mails have all been answered quickly. The picture quality and production work of these DVD’s is first rate. Working rotating shifts has always made attending a brick and mortar dojo difficult so this course lets me practice as I have the time. The forms require about a 10 x 10 foot area more or less. You can earn belts up to black via video testing with each test costing a typical fee. Black belt can be achieved at the time I’m writing this for a total commitment of less than $600. Spread that out over a few years and it really is affordable for everyone, especially if you don’t have a dojo nearby. The nearest Shotokan instruction for me is over 200 miles away. Now I have a 5th degree black belt Sensei right in my own home. I highly recommend this home study course.

-R. Tabaka

For a home study course on Shotokan Karate, you can’t go wrong with this dvd set. Sensi Jon Hodge takes you step by step through all belt levels – forms, techniques (punches, blocks, kicks), sparring and self defence moves. Mr. Hodge is thorough, giving great detail to all aspects of what he is teaching. Also, if you have any questions, contact him by email and you will receive a quick and courteous response. Highly recommended!

-Byron Howard

Black Belt At Home” is the perfect tool for anyone with a love of the martial arts and a busy schedule. After 27 years away from the martial arts, this program has given me the opportunity to study in a meaningful way once again. Kudos to Sensei Michael & Jon Hodge on the creation of this innovative and effective new way to train. Thanks again!

-Sean Doney