Technical Rules - Grading Rules and Syllabus

General Rules

KUGB Karateka will be eligible to grade providing they have fulfilled all technical requirements, hold a current KUGB licence and record book and have appropriate permission.

They must train at least twice per week at a KUGB dojo, with an approved KUGB instructor.

The record book and licence must be available for the grading examiner's inspection and endorsement.

Transfer of Grades to the KUGB

Karateka who transfer to the KUGB from other Shotokan Associations may retain their current grade, but must re-grade within 12 months of the transfer and be assessed for their KUGB standard. They will be awarded an appropriate grade, which could be the same grade, a lower grade or the next grade up. They will then continue grading with the KUGB within the usual time scales.

Karateka from other styles who transfer to the KUGB may retain their grade for a maximum of twelve months but must take advice from a senior KUGB instructor or a grading examiner before taking a KUGB grading.

Karateka of 3rd Dan and above who wish to transfer to the KUGB will be advised by the Technical Committee regarding their integration into the KUGB grading system.

Grading Syllabus

The examiner may ask to see some or all of the Kihon, Kata and Kumite listed in the KUGB Syllabus. Candidates may be required to demonstrate material from previous gradings to ensure overall development - a brown belt for example may be asked to perform a Heian Kata.

Allowance will be made for candidates who are unable to perform certain techniques due to physical or other restrictions.

It must be emphasised that the KUGB Syllabus is intended as a guideline to prepare students for their gradings and that the most important factor is the examinee's quality of performance.

Kyu gradings may only be taken with permission of the student's senior club instructor. They may be taken at the student's own dojo, other dojo's or at special courses.

To download and view the KUGB Grading Syllabuses, click here.

Kyu Grading Frequency:

Novices may grade after two months of training.

It is possible for exceptional students to be graded straight to 8th Kyu, but this is at the discretion of the examiner.

There must be a minimum of three monthly intervals between each grading from 9th kyu to 1st kyu.

Students who fail a Kyu grading may re-take their examination after three months.

'Temporary' Kyu Grades

A student may receive a 'Temporary' grade, which means that they are not quite up to the required standard. They will however be able to wear the same belt and train on the same syllabus as if they were a full grade.

Kyu Grading Age Restrictions

There are no age restrictions for Kyu grades - though the minimum age to begin training is five.

Dan Grading Rules

Full 1st Kyu must be obtained before grading for 1st Dan.

The minimum period between 1st Kyu and 1st Dan is 6 months.

Written permission to take a Dan grading must be obtained from the student's senior club instructor.

Senior club instructors wishing to take higher dan gradings must obtain written permission from a more senior KUGB instructor with whom they train on a regular basis.

6th Dan grading may only be taken with permission from the Technical Committee. The date will be determined by taking the following criteria into account:

  1. Number of years training
  2. Precedent - relating to the time-scales of other senior students
  3. Training record of Special Dan Courses, Black and Brown Belt Courses, Instructor Courses and other Special Courses.
  4. Technical qualifications - Referee, Instructor, Assessor
  5. Competition participation

Dan Grading Frequency:

The minimum periods between Dan gradings are:

          1st Dan to 2nd Dan  -  2 years
          2nd Dan to 3rd Dan  -  3 years
          3rd Dan to 4th Dan  -  4 years
          4th Dan to 5th Dan  -  5 years  
          5th Dan to 6th Dan  -  6 years

Students who fail 1st or 2nd Dan gradings must wait a minimum of three months before re-taking the examination, unless a different period is specified by the examiner.

Those who fail 3rd Dan and above must wait until the next Special Dan Grading before re-taking the examination.

Those who are required to re-take the kata or kumite section only of their Dan grading must do so within twelve months. After this period, the full grading must be re-taken.

Dan Grading Age Restrictions

There are no age restrictions for taking 1st or 2nd Dan. The minimum age for taking 3rd Dan is 21.

Protective Equipment

Gumshields and KUGB approved white hand mitts are compulsory for Jiyu Kumite

Dan Grading Locations

Dan gradings may only be taken at specially approved courses, details of which are circulated to all KUGB clubs. They are also listed on the KUGB planner, in the members diaries and on this website.

Kyu and Dan Grade Syllabus

The Kyu and Dan Grade Syllabuses can be downloaded, viewed and printed using the following links.

You will need to have a PDF Reader, such as the freely available Adobe® Reader®, installed on your computer. To install the latest version of Adobe® Reader® visit (link opens in a new browser window).

click this link to access the Adobe® Reader® PDF document Click here to download and view the KUGB Kyu Grading Syllabus

click this link to access the Adobe® Reader® PDF document Click here to download and view the KUGB Dan Grading Syllabus

For a glossary of Japanese terms regularly used in KUGB clubs and on KUGB gradings click here
(opens in a new browser window allowing the grading syllabus and the glossary to be open at the same time).