Earning a yellow belt in karate signifies that you are not a novice and that you have demonstrated basic knowledge in karate. The standard belt color progression is white -- beginners, yellow, green, brown and black. Some karate schools include orange and blue belts. A yellow belt represents 50 to 75 hours of classwork and three to five months of training. Yellow-belt students are familiar with the etiquette and procedures of the dojo -- training school, and their movements are losing the awkwardness of raw beginners. In some dojos, beginners start sparring at yellow belt.
Join a good dojo. "Dojo" means "place of the way," and is where karate students train. Because you'll be spending a significant amount of time at the dojo, make certain the teachers and students are people you'd like to spend a few years around.
Ask your instructor for a list of requirements for yellow belt and practice steady on each requirement in order. In most dojos, some of the requirements are written, but others are more a matter of tradition, so they are unwritten. Your instructor and higher-ranking students can fill you in on any requirements that aren't in print. At this stage in your training you will be focusing on mostly basic punches, kicks and blocks. You may also have to learn a long form or kata -- choreographed movements, some short combinations and some self-defense techniques. When you are introduced to each requirement in class, take it home and practice it before you forget it.
Ask specific questions and work on incorporating the answers into your techniques. Once you are shown a technique, take personal responsibility for practicing and perfecting it. Your teachers will show you new skills but only you can make those new skills your own.
Be aware of promotion schedules and required time in grade. If possible, try to learn the material you need well before you are scheduled to promote. The last thing you want to do is to go into a review with a technique you haven't practiced much. Allow time for your requirements to settle into your body and become automatic.
Present yourself at your promotion in a clean, pressed gi -- karate uniform. Make sure you are well rested and nourished. Cultivate a can-do attitude for your test. You will be asked to show what you've learned, so do so with all the energy and enthusiasm you can muster. The black belts -- highest ranking karate practitioners -- of your dojo will evaluate your readiness for promotion.