Grading is a system of examination which enables the student to demonstrate that they have achieved a particular standard. The examination is performed in front of an independent, external examiner from the Karate Union of Great Britain. The student will be asked to perform a series of movements relevant to the level of grading they are being tested on and the examiner will assess whether they reach the required standard for the grade.

Students who have demonstrated the required standard are awarded a coloured belt to denote their grade. New students start with a white belt and progress through a further 9 levels to achieve “shodan” – a black belt. Black belt standard is possible in three years. Details of all the grades can be found in our Grading Factsheet.

All club members are encouraged to take part in the grading system however it is not compulsory. Grading takes place roughly every 3 months, although not every student grades every time. Students grade when instructors feel they are sufficiently skilled to demonstrate to the examiner that they have reached the required standard and when the students themselves feel confident to undertake the grading.

Irrespective of skill or confidence levels, all students must have completed at least 26 hours training since their last grading in order to qualify for the next grading (16 hours in order to take their first grading).

It is important that students feel ready to take their grading. Karate is an individual discipline, where the challenge is not to be better than someone else; it is to be better than you were in the past. Competition against others is simply a way of measuring your progress, as is grading. Students need feel no pressure to take gradings or reach any particular grade at any point in time. Students or parents concerned about the grading process or individual progress can speak to Martin at any time.