For some, an important aspect of their karate training is the prospect of testing their skills and knowledge against the grading system. This system is divided into two. The first section is called the Kyu Grade system, which runs from the 9th Kyu red belt, to the 1st Kyu brown belt, with the second section being the Dan grade system. This Dan grade system is what many people would recognise as the black belt. In reality, it is the series of black belts running from Shodan, or 1st Dan through to 10th Dan.

The speed at which a student can progress through these systems can be extremely varied. Someone who trains regularly 2 or 3 times a week could expect better progress than someone training once a week. However, natural ability and commitment play a part also, and these are just a few of the variables. Regular training and commitment to match could see a student progress through the Kyu grade system in 3 to 4 years, with the first of the Dan grades a possibility a year or so later.

Students should set themselves challenging yet realistic goals, with realistic timescale's. This helps to maintain enthusiasm, but at the same time it helps to keep focus on the next milestone. All the while, students should discuss with their club instructors what these realistic goals may be.

The Kyu grade journey typically begins as stated above with either the 9th Kyu red belt (young children), or the 8th Kyu yellow belt for adults, or children who have more experience. Following the red belt, all students progress through the same gateways of testing.

To be eligible for these grading, all students must have an up to date Wado UK licence. An example of which can be seen below right. This record book offers limited insurance cover, along with included membership of our National Governing Body, the English Karate Federation. All courses and successful grading attempts are recorded in this book. It is an important document and should be looked after accordingly. An application/renewal form can be obtained within the club. An example of the grading syllabus can be seen below left. It contains a lot of information about karate, more specifically, Wado Ryu karate, along with a full list of everything required for each grade through to 1st Kyu..

Successful candidates will have their licence's updated accordingly, showing their new rank, and the pass mark of each grading completed. They will also receive a Wado UK certificate, an example of which can be seen below.



For young children taking grades up to and including 4th Kyu, there is an option to divide each grade into two sections, called Mon grades. Effectively this simply divides the grade into half making it more manageable. A successful first half would see the child wear a belt with a solid colour through the middle of the belt, representative of the grade being taken. For example, 6th Mon would be a solid green line through the middle of a white belt. On successful completion of the 2nd half of the grade at a later date, the child would then wear a solid green belt.

Grading dates are published in advance on our dates page, with application forms available at our respective clubs. These need to be completed in full, and submitted with a student’s licence, and appropriate fee, at least one week ahead of the grading.