Grading Info

& E S P

KYU gradings are held at the Bierton Dojo 4 times a year, usually in the months of March; June; September and December. The gradings are held on Sundays and comprise of pre-grading course with the Examiner.

F ollowing the course will be the Kyu grading. This is also the time when any presentations are made to the students: DAN grade certificates; best student for each dojo since the last grading; plus other miscellaneous awards that may need awarding.

ESP: Is for students who have recently joined TSKC and are beginners - White Belts - who have either missed the previous regular grading or joined shortly afterwards, we have the ESP Grading (Orange stripey belt!).
Please click here to find out all about it.

What do I need to do before the Grading?

Now please read through this info and if you have any questions, refer to the FAQ section below first. If that doesn't give you the answer you can email TSKC here to get your answer.


Approximately 1 -2 weeks before the grading is due, you will need to start preparing your paperwork. You will need to submit the following;

  • Grading Request Form
  • This is a very important form. Complete the form ONLINE and send direct to me.
    Online GRForm
    Examples shown to the right - click pic!
On the day of the Grading or anytime before, you will also need to:
  • Submit your current and valid JKA England Licence Book
  • Your licence must be current and in date. If it has expired, you will need to renew it ASAP with your club instructor. Take note: This process can take up to 10 working days to return! Submit in plenty of time.
  • Grading Fee
  • This can be submitted with cash; cheque; Bank transfer or TSKC Vouchers

What will happen in the Grading

Prior to the grading there is a lesson conducted by the Grading Examiner. This is approximately an hour long and the content is aimed at what to expect in the grading as well as some other fun stuff. Aspects of Kihon, Kata and Kumite are covered which tends to put the students at ease and get to know the Examiner. The course is FREE for those who grade and a nominal charge will be made to other karateka who wish to partake in the course only. It is an open course to all Shotokan practitioners.

The schedule for the grading starts with the lower grades being tested first. You will complete 3 sections: KIHON (basics); KATA and KUMITE (sparring). You will be called up in Grade, height and age order. At the end of your grading, you will be told if you have passed or not and what you need to work on for your next grading as well as any other important information relevant to you. There are several outcomes for your grading:

Double Grade. There is a possibility that you may double grade. This is not common and indeed, you need to have performed exceptionally well in order to be asked to do the next grading. Double grading stops at 8th Kyu (Red) to 6th Kyu (Green). There will be an extra cost to you of £10 should this happen.

Full Pass. Having passed your grading, on receiving your licence book back from the Grading Examiner, he / she will inform you what part of your karate needs work or indeed what they were impressed with. If your grading is considered as a border line pass then you may be told that you cannot grade for at least 6 months in order to get back up to full potential but you will still receive a full pass.

6 Months. The Grading Examiner feels that you need more training and has stated that you must wait 6 months before you grade again. This will be in addition to receiving a FULL pass and not a Temporary Pass.

Temporary Pass. You did not reach the required standard to pass as a full kyu grade. There may have been mistakes in your kata or kumite which needs to be worked on. You will, however, be permitted to wear the belt of the next rank but at your next grading, you WILL have to take this grading again to achieve a full pass. During the period of training leading up to your next grading, you will also be working on the syllabus for the grade of the belt you wear as well as the previous grade. Some time before the next regular grading, if you have been working hard and achieving a very good standard you may be invited to attend an intermediary grading to remove the Temporary pass and attend the following grading on a full pass. You must show that you have been committed to your training and demonstrate you are worth the full pass.

Unsuccessful. This is a rare commodity at TSKC I am pleased to say. Students who fall below the minimum requirement to receive a temporary pass will remain on the belt they started with. Naturally, detailed feedback will be given to the student to ensure that they are ready for the next grading.

Successful students (double grade / Full pass / Temporary pass) will receive their next belt immediately after their grading and be presented with a KYU Grading certificate in due course. Those students who were Temporary grade before the grading will get their grade confirmed. They have already received a belt and certificate for this grade but if they went on to take the next grade, will of course receive the belt and certificate of the new grade.  

When do I qualify to grade?
In order to qualify to take a kyu grading, certain criteria should be met. Firstly, there is a minimum 3 month period and at least 20 lessons required between each grading. Both must be satisfied. This means that you will need to be training twice weekly to achieve this, especially from yellow belt upwards. A private lesson equates to 3 regular lessons. Shortfalls can be made up here. It is not easy to reach a good standard to grade after 3 months by training once a week. At least 3 days prior to the grading you must submit a Grading Request Form so that a decision can be made to see if you are up to the required standard to take your grading. Your Licence Book and grading fee should be handed in as soon as possible, if not, on the day but this does cause delays.

White 10th Kyu
Orange 9th Kyu
Red 8th Kyu
Yellow 7th Kyu
Green 6th Kyu
Purple 5th Kyu
Purple / White 4th Kyu
Brown 3rd Kyu
Brown 2nd Kyu
Brown 1st Kyu
Black 1st Dan
Karateka receiving a temporary grade must take the grading again next time although they can wear the belt of the next grade until then.
Browse the Frequently Asked Questions below and click for the answer.

How long do I need to wait between gradings?

How many gradings a year are there?

When and where will they be held?

What do I need to submit for my grading?

What if I cannot attend but have submitted my documentation?

What is a Grading Request Form?

What if I discover my licence has expired?

Where can I get a GRF and / or Licence renewal form?

I have a Temporary grade. What does that mean?

Do I have to attend the training before grading?

How much is the pre-grading course?

What if I am not here for the TSKC scheduled grading?

If I was fortunate enough to double grade, do I have to pay extra for the grading?

If you need any further information or if your question has not been answered, please contact us via the online email form.