Grading - Children

 

Click on the links below to skip to the relevant section:


What is a Grading?

Gradings are formal assessments to review your progress in acquiring skills in the Art of Karate-do. At their simplest level, they may be considered to be like "milestones" in learning. However, it must be remembered that gradings are not the "be all and end all". Not grading does not mean not acquiring skill, sit is a means of giving feedback and recognition for your skills.


Gradings are held at either local, national or international level.

 

 

When are Gradings held?

Gradings are held at variable time intervals, typically 3-6 monthly.

 

How does a person apply to Grade?

Gradings are about feedback, not belts or ranks. When a teacher/examiner is ready to give you feedback, they will INVITE you to grade. Invitation to grade means that you may be graded up or down, if the feedback is positive or negative respectively. It does NOT mean you will necessary get another belt!!!

 

If you are invited to grade, it is up to you to decide whether you wish to accept or decline that invitation.

 

Even if invited to grade (and you accept), you must fulfil some basic administrative criteria to be eligible to go ahead with the grading:

  1. Your licence & insurance to practice must be up-to-date.
  2. Your fees and any other payments due must not be in arrears.
  3. Your membership details must be up-to-date.
  4. You must respond to the invitation to grade by the set deadline (if there is one).

 

Child Gradings are RADICALLY different to conventional Adult Gradings

The belt system of ranking that you will find in most karate clubs/organisations is based on the original system created by the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano. Unfortunately, that ranking system was never designed with children in mind. In particular, children learn differently, think differently, grow differently and are constantly evolving individuals (physiologically, anatomically, psychologically, developmentally etc.).

 

This club is somewhat unusual in that we teach children from 4 years upwards (most clubs start at 5 or, more commonly, at 7 years of age). The chief instructor is also a paediatrician who is acutely aware of the diverse and complex nature of child development. As such, the ranking system for karate students in this club reflect this.

 

Children's gradings need to be of a transitional nature. This is because, unlike adults, they are constantly changing. When an adult learns something, it is 'static' learning - what they can do today is similar to what they could do if they were to repeat it tomorrow. Change is slow with adults, it is rapid with children. When a child learns something, it is 'dynamic' learning - as their minds and bodies change, their depth of maturity and skills evolve radically.

 

Adult gradings take into account only the physical, emotional and psychological development. Child gradings also take into account the multidimensional neuro-developmental aspects too. This means that the methods of assessment need to be radically different and are more challenging to undertake well, from an examiners point of view. Few 'specialist' karate teachers/examiners exist for children. Most karate teachers and examiners are experiential practitioners. In other words, they examine and teach based on their own experience of being a student and their experience of teaching/examining. Few have formal training in child psychology and child development. Even fewer know how to apply that to teaching and examining environment, to the best advantage of the child student.

 

 

What are the belt/stripe ranks awarded in this club?

Grades for children have 3 dimensions:

 

Kyu/Cadet rank - this is the main stage of development that they are at. There are 10 kyu/cadet ranks:

    • 8th Kyu (White Belt)
    • 7th Kyu (Red Belt)
    • 6th Kyu (Yellow Belt)
    • 5th Kyu (Orange Belt)
    • 4th Kyu (Green Belt)
    • 3rd Kyu (Purple Belt)
    • 2nd Kyu (Blue Belt)
    • 1st Kyu (Brown Belt)
    • Junior Cadets (1st half of junior black belt) - such students review & consolidate the BREADTH of their skills from the colour belt syllabus, bringing them together into a confluent synthesis of a very high standard.
    • Senior Cadets (2nd half of junior black belt) - such students increase the DEPTH of their skills from the colour belt syllabus, bringing them to the maturity and standard of understanding expected of a black belt. ONLY when the core skills are complete are they worthy of being called a 'black belt' (1st Dan). From this point onwards, their true learning begins...where they are no longer simply thinking about the physical skills...but are ready to go 'beyond technique' and uncover the hidden secrets of the martial arts.

 

Sen rank - Each kyu/cadet rank is subdivided into steps called 'sen'. Each sen represents a stepping stone which the child has reached for that level of development. There are 8 sen steps per rank:

  • 8th sen - white stripe across the belt
  • 7th sen - red stripe across the belt
  • 6th sen - yellow stripe across the belt
  • 5th sen - orange stripe across the belt
  • 4th sen - green stripe across the belt
  • 3rd sen - purple stripe across the belt
  • 2nd sen - blue stripe across the belt

  • 1st sen - brown stripe across the belt
  • No sen - black stripe across the belt (module level complete)

 

Basic/Advanced Levels - Each Sen step is usually further noted as being at a basic or advanced stage of learning.

  • Basic levels of sen development are recognised by 1 sen stripe across the belt.
  • Advanced levels of sen development are recognised by 2 sen stripes across the belt.
  • If the colour of the sen stripe is the same as the background colour of the belt, then tags are used instead: basic levels are recognised by a white tag and advanced levels are recognised by a black tag.

 

Additional comments:

  • Black/White Tags: When the sen stripe across the belt is the same as the belt colour itself, the sen stripes are replaced by a white or black tag (to denote the basic or advanced levels respectively). For example, it is not possible to have a blue belt with a blue sen stripe (you won't be able to see the stripe!!). So instead the student is awarded a blue belt with a white tag (= a blue belt + 1 blue stripe) or a blue belt with a black tag (= a blue belt + 2 blue stripes).

  • Split colour belts: These are cadet black belt ranks. They signify that a junior cadet black belt is reviewing each stage of their skills (white belt skills, red belt skills, yellow belt skills etc.) and polishing that area of the syllabus to a black belt standard.

 

Outcome of gradings

Children will be assessed on the following three domains:

  1. Physical skills and fitness (kenko taiso)
  2. Technical skills (kata, kihon, kumite, kobudo)
  3. Mental skills and budo development (kokoro: character, attitude, behaviour, spirit)

 

There are five possible outcomes of a children's grading:

  • 2 grades advancement in rank (= excellent progress of all 3 domains)
  • 1 grade advancement in rank (= good progress of 1 or 2 domains)
  • No grade advancement in rank (= insufficient progress in any single domain)
  • 1 grade reduction in rank (= loss or regression in any single domain)
  • 2 grades reduction in rank (= loss or regression in 2 or more domains)

 

Here are the steps in the ranking structure for children. Except for black belt ranks, a minimum of 3 months of learning and practice is mandatory before a student may be invited to grade for the next rank:

 

Rank Belt associated with that rank
WHITE BELT RANKS (BASIC TRAINING MODULE LEVEL 1)
8th Kyu, 8th Sen (Basic Level)

White belt (i.e. a beginner)*

8th Kyu, 7th Sen (Basic Level)

White belt + 1 red stripe*

8th Kyu, 7th Sen (Advanced Level)

White belt + 2 red stripes

8th Kyu, 6th Sen (Basic Level)

White belt + 1 yellow stripe*

8th Kyu, 6th Sen (Advanced Level)

White belt + 2 yellow stripes

8th Kyu, 5th Sen (Basic Level)

White belt + 1 orange stripe*

8th Kyu, 5th Sen (Advanced Level)

White belt + 2 orange stripes

8th Kyu, 4th Sen (Basic Level)

White belt + 1 green stripe*

8th Kyu, 4th Sen (Advanced Level)

White belt + 2 green stripes

8th Kyu, 3rd Sen (Basic Level)

White belt + 1 purple stripe**

8th Kyu, 3rd Sen (Advanced Level)

White belt + 2 purple stripes

8th Kyu, 2nd Sen (Basic Level)

White belt + 1 blue stripe*

8th Kyu, 2nd Sen (Advanced Level)

White belt + 2 blue stripes

8th Kyu, 1st Sen (Basic Level)

White belt + 1 brown stripe*

8th Kyu, 1st Sen (Advanced Level)

White belt + 2 brown stripes*

8th Kyu

White belt + black stripe*

RED BELT RANKS (BASIC TRAINING MODULE LEVEL 2)
7th Kyu, 8th Sen (Basic Level)

Red Belt + 1 white stripe*

7th Kyu, 8th Sen (Advanced Level)

Red Belt + 2 white stripes

7th Kyu, 7th Sen (Basic Level)

Red Belt + white tag*

7th Kyu, 7th Sen (Advanced Level)

Red Belt + black tag*

7th Kyu, 6th Sen (Basic Level)

Red Belt + 1 yellow stripe**

7th Kyu, 6th Sen (Advanced Level)

Red Belt + 2 yellow stripes

7th Kyu, 5th Sen (Basic Level)

Red Belt + 1 orange stripe

7th Kyu, 5th Sen (Advanced Level)

Red Belt + 2 orange stripes

7th Kyu, 4th Sen (Basic Level)

Red Belt + 1 green stripe*

7th Kyu, 4th Sen (Advanced Level)

Red Belt + 2 green stripes

7th Kyu, 3rd Sen (Basic Level)

Red Belt + 1 purple stripe

7th Kyu, 3rd Sen (Advanced Level)

Red Belt + 2 purple stripes

7th Kyu, 2nd Sen (Basic Level)

Red Belt + 1 blue stripe**

7th Kyu, 2nd Sen (Advanced Level)

Red Belt + 2 blue stripes

7th Kyu, 1st Sen (Basic Level)

Red Belt + 1 brown stripe**

7th Kyu, 1st Sen (Advanced Level)

Red Belt + 2 brown stripes

7th Kyu

Red Belt + black stripe*

YELLOW BELT RANKS (BASIC TRAINING MODULE LEVEL 3)
6th Kyu, 8th Sen (Basic Level)

Yellow Belt + 1 white stripe*

6th Kyu, 8th Sen (Advanced Level)

Yellow Belt + 2 white stripes

6th Kyu, 7th Sen (Basic Level)

Yellow Belt + 1 red stripe**

6th Kyu, 7th Sen (Advanced Level)

Yellow Belt + 2 red stripes

6th Kyu, 6th Sen (Basic Level)

Yellow Belt + white tag*

6th Kyu, 6th Sen (Advanced Level)

Yellow Belt + black tag*

6th Kyu, 5th Sen (Basic Level)

Yellow Belt + 1 orange stripe*

6th Kyu, 5th Sen (Advanced Level)

Yellow Belt + 2 orange stripes

6th Kyu, 4th Sen (Basic Level)

Yellow Belt + 1 green stripe*

6th Kyu, 4th Sen (Advanced Level)

Yellow Belt + 2 green stripes

6th Kyu, 3rd Sen (Basic Level)

Yellow Belt + 1 purple stripe**

6th Kyu, 3rd Sen (Advanced Level)

Yellow Belt + 2 purple stripes

6th Kyu, 2nd Sen (Basic Level)

Yellow Belt + 1 blue stripe**

6th Kyu, 2nd Sen (Advanced Level)

Yellow Belt + 2 blue stripes

6th Kyu, 1st Sen (Basic Level)

Yellow Belt + 1 brown stripe**

6th Kyu, 1st Sen (Advanced Level)

Yellow Belt + 2 brown stripes

6th Kyu

Yellow Belt + black stripe*

ORANGE BELT RANKS (BASIC TRAINING MODULE LEVEL 4)
5th Kyu, 8th Sen (Basic Level)

Orange Belt + 1 white stripe*

5th Kyu, 8th Sen (Advanced Level)

Orange Belt + 2 white stripes

5th Kyu, 7th Sen (Basic Level)

Orange Belt + 1 red stripe**

5th Kyu, 7th Sen (Advanced Level)

Orange Belt + 2 red stripes

5th Kyu, 6th Sen (Basic Level)

Orange Belt + 1 yellow stripe*

5th Kyu, 6th Sen (Advanced Level)

Orange Belt + 2 yellow stripes

5th Kyu, 5th Sen (Basic Level)

Orange Belt + white tag*

5th Kyu, 5th Sen (Advanced Level)

Orange Belt + black tag*

5th Kyu, 4th Sen (Basic Level)

Orange Belt + 1 green stripe*

5th Kyu, 4th Sen (Advanced Level)

Orange Belt + 2 green stripes

5th Kyu, 3rd Sen (Basic Level)

Orange Belt + 1 purple stripe*

5th Kyu, 3rd Sen (Advanced Level)

Orange Belt + 2 purple stripes

5th Kyu, 2nd Sen (Basic Level)

Orange Belt + 1 blue stripe**

5th Kyu, 2nd Sen (Advanced Level)

Orange Belt + 2 blue stripes

5th Kyu, 1st Sen (Basic Level)

Orange Belt + 1 brown stripe

5th Kyu, 1st Sen (Advanced Level)

Orange Belt + 2 brown stripes

5th Kyu

Orange Belt + black stripe*

GREEN BELT RANKS (BASIC TRAINING MODULE LEVEL 5)
4th Kyu, 8th Sen (Basic Level)

Green Belt + 1 white stripe*

4th Kyu, 8th Sen (Advanced Level)

Green Belt + 2 white stripes

4th Kyu, 7th Sen (Basic Level)

Green Belt + 1 red stripe**

4th Kyu, 7th Sen (Advanced Level)

Green Belt + 2 red stripes

4th Kyu, 6th Sen (Basic Level)

Green Belt + 1 yellow stripe**

4th Kyu, 6th Sen (Advanced Level)

Green Belt + 2 yellow stripes

4th Kyu, 5th Sen (Basic Level)

Green Belt + 1 orange stripe**

4th Kyu, 5th Sen (Advanced Level)

Green Belt + 2 orange stripes

4th Kyu, 4th Sen (Basic Level)

Green Belt + white tag*

4th Kyu, 4th Sen (Advanced Level)

Green Belt + black tag*

4th Kyu, 3rd Sen (Basic Level)

Green Belt + 1 purple stripe*

4th Kyu, 3rd Sen (Advanced Level)

Green Belt + 2 purple stripes

4th Kyu, 2nd Sen (Basic Level)

Green Belt + 1 blue stripe*

4th Kyu, 2nd Sen (Advanced Level)

Green Belt + 2 blue stripes

4th Kyu, 1st Sen (Basic Level)

Green Belt + 1 brown stripe

4th Kyu, 1st Sen (Advanced Level)

Green Belt + 2 brown stripes

4th Kyu

Green Belt + black stripe*

PURPLE BELT RANKS (INTERMEDIATE TRAINING MODULE LEVEL 1)
3rd Kyu, 8th Sen (Basic Level)

Purple Belt + 1 white stripe*

3rd Kyu, 8th Sen (Advanced Level)

Purple Belt + 2 white stripes*

3rd Kyu, 7th Sen (Basic Level)

Purple Belt + 1 red stripe**

3rd Kyu, 7th Sen (Advanced Level)

Purple Belt + 2 red stripes

3rd Kyu, 6th Sen (Basic Level)

Purple Belt + 1 yellow stripe

3rd Kyu, 6th Sen (Advanced Level)

Purple Belt + 2 yellow stripes

3rd Kyu, 5th Sen (Basic Level)

Purple Belt + 1 orange stripe

3rd Kyu, 5th Sen (Advanced Level)

Purple Belt + 2 orange stripes

3rd Kyu, 4th Sen (Basic Level)

Purple Belt + 1 green stripe

3rd Kyu, 4th Sen (Advanced Level)

Purple Belt + 2 green stripes

3rd Kyu, 3rd Sen (Basic Level)

Purple Belt + white tag*

3rd Kyu, 3rd Sen (Advanced Level)

Purple Belt + black tag*

3rd Kyu, 2nd Sen (Basic Level)

Purple Belt + 1 blue stripe**

3rd Kyu, 2nd Sen (Advanced Level)

Purple Belt + 2 blue stripes

3rd Kyu, 1st Sen (Basic Level)

Purple Belt + 1 brown stripe*

3rd Kyu, 1st Sen (Advanced Level)

Purple Belt + 2 brown stripes

3rd Kyu

Purple Belt + black stripe*

BLUE BELT RANKS (INTERMEDIATE TRAINING MODULE LEVEL 2)
2nd Kyu, 8th Sen (Basic Level)

Blue Belt + 1 white stripe*

2nd Kyu, 8th Sen (Advanced Level)

Blue Belt + 2 white stripes

2nd Kyu, 7th Sen (Basic Level)

Blue Belt + 1 red stripe*

2nd Kyu, 7th Sen (Advanced Level)

Blue Belt + 2 red stripes

2nd Kyu, 6th Sen (Basic Level)

Blue Belt + 1 yellow stripe

2nd Kyu, 6th Sen (Advanced Level)

Blue Belt + 2 yellow stripes

2nd Kyu, 5th Sen (Basic Level)

Blue Belt + 1 orange stripe

2nd Kyu, 5th Sen (Advanced Level)

Blue Belt + 2 orange stripes

2nd Kyu, 4th Sen (Basic Level)

Blue Belt + 1 green stripe**

2nd Kyu, 4th Sen (Advanced Level)

Blue Belt + 2 green stripes

2nd Kyu, 3rd Sen (Basic Level)

Blue Belt + 1 purple stripe**

2nd Kyu, 3rd Sen (Advanced Level)

Blue Belt + 2 purple stripes

2nd Kyu, 2nd Sen (Basic Level)

Blue Belt + white tag*

2nd Kyu, 2nd Sen (Advanced Level)

Blue Belt + black tag*

2nd Kyu, 1st Sen (Basic Level)

Blue Belt + 1 brown stripe**

2nd Kyu, 1st Sen (Advanced Level)

Blue Belt + 2 brown stripes

2nd Kyu

Blue Belt + black stripe*

BROWN BELT RANKS (INTERMEDIATE TRAINING MODULE LEVEL 3)
1st Kyu, 8th Sen (Basic Level)

Brown Belt + 1 white stripe*

1st Kyu, 8th Sen (Advanced Level)

Brown Belt + 2 white stripes*

1st Kyu, 7th Sen (Basic Level)

Brown Belt + 1 red stripe*

1st Kyu, 7th Sen (Advanced Level)

Brown Belt + 2 red stripes*

1st Kyu, 6th Sen (Basic Level)

Brown Belt + 1 yellow stripe

1st Kyu, 6th Sen (Advanced Level)

Brown Belt + 2 yellow stripes

1st Kyu, 5th Sen (Basic Level)

Brown Belt + 1 orange stripe

1st Kyu, 5th Sen (Advanced Level)

Brown Belt + 2 orange stripes

1st Kyu, 4th Sen (Basic Level)

Brown Belt + 1 green stripe

1st Kyu, 4th Sen (Advanced Level)

Brown Belt + 2 green stripes

1st Kyu, 3rd Sen (Basic Level)

Brown Belt + 1 purple stripe

1st Kyu, 3rd Sen (Advanced Level)

Brown Belt + 2 purple stripes

1st Kyu, 2nd Sen (Basic Level)

Brown Belt + 1 blue stripe**

1st Kyu, 2nd Sen (Advanced Level)

Brown Belt + 2 blue stripes

1st Kyu, 1st Sen (Basic Level)

Brown Belt + white tag*

1st Kyu, 1st Sen (Advanced Level)

Brown Belt + black tag*

1st Kyu

Brown Belt + black stripe*

JUNIOR CADET BLACK BELT RANKS (INTERMEDIATE TRAINING MODULE LEVEL 4)
Junior Cadet, 8th Sen Split White/Yellow belt*
Junior Cadet, 7th Sen

Split Red/Black belt

Junior Cadet, 6th Sen

Split Yellow/Orange belt*

Junior Cadet, 5th Sen

Split Orange/Purple belt*

Junior Cadet, 4th Sen

Split Green/Purple belt

Junior Cadet, 3rd Sen

Split Purple/Blue belt

Junior Cadet, 2nd Sen

Split Blue/Brown belt

Junior Cadet, 1st Sen Split Brown/Black belt*
Junior Cadet (Shonenbu Shodan) Split Black/Red belt*
SENIOR CADET BLACK BELT RANKS (INTERMEDIATE TRAINING MODULE LEVEL 5)
Senior Cadet, 8th Sen (Basic Level) Black belt + 1 white stripe*
Senior Cadet, 8th Sen (Advanced Level) Black belt + 2 white stripes*
Senior Cadet, 7th Sen (Basic Level)

Black belt + 1 red stripe*

Senior Cadet, 7th Sen (Advanced Level)

Black belt + 2 red stripe

Senior Cadet, 6th Sen (Basic Level)

Black Belt + 1 yellow stripe**

Senior Cadet, 6th Sen (Advanced Level)

Black Belt + 2 yellow stripes

Senior Cadet, 5th Sen (Basic Level)

Black Belt + 1 orange stripe**

Senior Cadet, 5th Sen (Advanced Level)

Black Belt + 2 orange stripes

Senior Cadet, 4th Sen (Basic Level)

Black Belt + 1 green stripe**

Senior Cadet, 4th Sen (Advanced Level)

Black Belt + 2 green stripes

Senior Cadet, 3rd Sen (Basic Level)

Black Belt + 1 purple stripe**

Senior Cadet, 3rd Sen (Advanced Level)

Black Belt + 2 purple stripes

Senior Cadet, 2nd Sen (Basic Level)

Black Belt + 1 blue stripe**

Senior Cadet, 2nd Sen (Advanced Level)

Black Belt + 2 blue stripes

Senior Cadet, 1st Sen (Basic Level)

Black Belt + 1 brown stripe**

Senior Cadet, 1st Sen (Advanced Level)

Black Belt + 2 brown stripes

Senior Cadet (Shodan Ho)

Pure Black Belt*

BLACK BELT RANKS (ADVANCED TRAINING MODULE LEVELS 1-5)
1st Dan (Shodan) Pure Black belt + 1 gold bar
2nd Dan (Nidan)

Pure Black belt + 2 gold bars

3rd Dan (Sandan)

Pure Black belt + 3 gold bars

4th Dan (Yondan)

Pure Black belt + 4 gold bars

5th Dan (Godan)

Pure Black belt + 5 gold bars