In karate progression is usually marked with different colour belts starting from white belt (novice) and ending with black belt (expert). ‘Kyu’ is a Japanese term used for karateka (people learning karate) that wear coloured belts (white, red and white, red, orange, yellow, green, purple, purple and white, brown, brown and white), while ‘Dan’ is the term for a black belt (and they also have different levels). To get to the next level, you must pass an exam. We usually call them ‘gradings’ as people achieve a ‘Kyu grade’ or a ‘Dan grade’.
To grade all students must display acceptable level of understanding and skill of karate technique. To gain this understanding and skill all students are expected to train hard, be disciplined and pay attention to what Sensei or instructor says.
To keep the club standard high, students are required to train on average twice a week. Novice students (those who have not taken any examination) are an exception and are allowed to train once a week.
To be eligible to grade a student must collect a certain amount of training points (depending on their grade). Points can be acquired by attending regular classes and courses. Points are there to make it easier for you to follow if you are on target for your grading.
Kyu gradings are held every three months, usually in March, June, September and December. See the calendar for the grading dates this year.
In the UK there are two Dan gradings every year when candidates and other students attend a two-three day course that is followed by the black belt examination. Usually these courses and gradings take place in August and December. Dan grades in other countries are at the direction of the ITKCA and the host country’s governing body.
Just as everybody else Dan grade candidates are required to train on average twice a week and collect the points but it is expected that their understanding and skill are much higher than kyu grades, and they should also be involved with the club by assisting or instructing, or in some other way.
On top of the above requirements, there is a minimum training time to progress through Dan grades.