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Karate is broken down into units known as kyu grades (belts) . For children under 16, the kyu grades are further divided into mon grades. The minimum recommended time between gradings is 12 weeks.

To achieve a new belt, you must pass a grading. For this you must:

  • have an up to date licence. You can do this here.

  • have a minimum of 24 attendance stamps (except beginners applying for their first grading)

  • know your syllabus!



To achieve each grade, you must pass an examination that covers basic karate movements, pair work and kata. The content of the exam is set out in the syllabus.

You can download these here: 

Yellow Belt - 8th Kyu

Orange Belt - 7th Kyu

Green Belt - 6th Kyu

Blue Belt - 5th Kyu

Purple Belt - 4th Kyu

Junior Brown Belt - 3rd Kyu

Middle Brown Belt - 2nd Kyu

Senior Brown Belt - 1st Kyu

Black Belt - 1st Dan

Black Belt - 2nd Dan

Black Belt - 3rd Dan



Gradings up to and including 4th kyu  (purple belt) are held at clubs and during some courses. There's usually one examiner (one of our senior instructors). They cost £10 and, if successful, belts can be purchased for £5.00.

Senior gradings (brown belt and above) are held in front of a panel of three examiners. They are usually held during or after certain courses. 

You should speak to your Sensei before attempting any grading as they will help prepare you and recommend when you are ready to grade. You must have an up to date licence to grade. 

Dan Gradings


Dan gradings (black belt) are held twice a year, examined by a panel of three senior black belts. In addition to the physical grading, candidates must complete a 15 minute written exam. If successful, an additional £20 fee is required to ensure dan grades are appropriately registered.

There are time and age restrictions for dan gradings. Successful candidates for shodan (1st Dan) under the age of 16 will be awarded a junior black belt. Nidan (2nd Dan) candidates must be a minimum of 18 years old.

The minimum amount of time between successful dan grades is an additional year per level, i.e. 2 years between 1st and 2nd dan; 3 years between 2nd and 3rd dan.

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