Like all karate clubs, GKR has a grading system that allows all students to proceed through levels, or grades, signifying their growth and development.
Whilst it is not mandatory for students to go through the grading system, we have found it is a great way for both adults and children to have their progress recognized.
What Does A Grading Mean
The coloured belt gradings are like stepping stones on the path to a student’s goal of Black belt. A grading represents that a student has reached a competent level with their current techniques and are ready to move on to learn and develop more advanced techniques and skill-sets.
What Is Involved?
When a student has completed their minimum time period and lessons on a particular belt, and have gained a strong grasp of the technical requirements for their current grade, their instructor will book them in to attend a Regional Grading.
Gradings are held in each Region once per month, generally on a Sunday afternoon. If a student has commitments and is unable to attend the grading, they can be booked in for the next month.
Students from numerous dojos (training halls) attend this and grade as a collective group. Students are only tested on the techniques required for their belt grade. Immediately after the grading, a formal presentation occurs where students are awarded Grading Certificates.
How Long Will It Take Me To Reach Black Belt?
As your journey through the Grading system is a personal one, there is no definitive answer for how long it takes a student to reach his or her Black belt. The average time however would be around 5 years.
Considering there are 10 Kyu grades up to Black belt, this means a student who grades to Black belt in 5 years is grading every 6 months on average. Having said that, gradings occur more frequently as a beginner and the time between gradings increases as you progress.
Yellow Tip Grading
The first grading in karate is known as a Yellow Tip grading (or 9th Kyu). This is awarded to a student at their local dojo after six classes. The thought of being assessed or graded after just six classes can be intimidating for many students. They might question,
“What am I being assessed on?”
Or “What if I’m not good enough; I need more practise?”
So the following should help to alleviate any fears and put it all into perspective.
We all know that starting something new, especially when it involves leaving your comfort zone and entering an unfamiliar environment can be a quite daunting. Every higher grade, whether Yellow belt or Black belt clearly remembers first starting out in karate and the nerves involved with simply walking through the doors. The very fact that you have walked through our dojo doors six times demonstrates courage and a commitment to your goals. And for this, and this alone, you are being publicly recognised by your instructor and fellow students. This is an encouragement grade more than anything else.
Yellow Belt (8th Kyu): Your First Grade
The first full grade a student can achieve is an Yellow Belt (8th Kyu). This can be attempted after a minimum of 12 classes and involves taking part in a grading (along with other White belt students) and being assessed on your White Belt Curriculum techniques.