Grading Rules

If you wish to grade, please take a grading application form, fill it in and return to Sensei at least one week before the grading date. In order to maintain a high standard of karate within the club, all students are reminded that the following rules apply to all karate gradings.

  1. Vale Karate holds coloured-belt gradings three times per year, on the last Saturday of November, March and June. Gradings are based on a set syllabus and overseen by at least two members of the Committee.
  2. Eligibility to participate in a coloured-belt grading requires students to have attended a minimum number of training sessions since their previous grading (24 up to 6th kyu green belt; and 30 up to 3rd, 2nd and 1st kyu brown belt levels). Vale Karate provides ‘stamp books’ to record each session attended, as well as the routine signing sheets. Students must wait at least 3 months between coloured-belt gradings.
  3. Students must complete a separate ‘application to grade’ form and submit this to a member of the Committee along with their payment prior to grading, no later than 1 week ahead of the grading.
  4. Students must complete a separate ‘application to grade’ form and submit this to a member of the Committee along with their payment prior to grading, no later than 1 week ahead of the grading.
  5. Each grading is preceded by a mandatory 1 hour training session that is tailored to the abilities of the people grading. Following a short break, people are assessed by the grading panel in grade order. While students are waiting to be graded they should keep warm, stretch gently and not disturb the people who are being graded. During each set of gradings, only those people being graded and the members of the grading panel are permitted in the hall. Limited viewing may be available for parents, who are encouraged to stay with their children throughout.
  6. Each coloured-belt grading typically lasts up to 4 hours from start to finish, including the initial training session. The results are announced once everyone’s grading is complete. The decision of the grading panel is final.
  7. Students who have successfully passed their grading will receive a stamp in their licence book recording their new grade, plus a certificate and a new belt which they are entitled to wear immediately.
  8. Half grades may be awarded up to 6th kyu (green belt) for students who have not fully met the requirements of the relevant grade. The half grade is noted in their licence book. At the convenience of the Committee members, students may request one further assessment at one of the normal scheduled training classes in order to determine whether they are ready to be awarded their full grade at no additional cost. The details of the additional assessment will be agreed between the student or their parent / guardian and the Committee members, At least two members of the Committee will be present at the assessment along with at least one other senior member of the club. Students holding a half grade at the time of a formal grading will be assessed against the requirements of the full grade.
  9. Karateka who transfer to the club from other Shotokan Associations may retain their current grade. However, it will only be officially recognised when they take a Vale Karate grading. At this time they will be awarded an appropriate grade, which could be the same grade, a lower grade or the next grade up.
  10. Allowance will be made for candidates who are unable to perform certain techniques due to physical or other restrictions.
  11. Gradings may only be taken with permission of the club instructor.
  12. The Committee is the Vale Karate Organising Committee comprised exclusively of senior instructors. As of Autumn 2018 the Committee includes Alan Fisher, Pete Rees and Barry Knight.
  13. As of Autumn 2018, the fee for coloured-belt gradings is set at £19 per student. Fees are not refundable.

There rules really do help ensure that the standard of the club is high. If you have any doubts or questions (or suggestions) then please talk to Sensei.