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Traditional Rank Gradings

Students of karate mark their progress by undergoing intermittent tests. During the test the teacher requires the student to execute prerequisite techniques and exercises according to the system syllabus. Levels of difficulty are determined by age and experience. If successful, the student may wear a belt of symbolic colour as acknowledgement of the ranking attained.

Being invited to undergo a ranking test is at the discretion of the teacher. Time spent in training is only one criteria for eligibility.  Students do not automatically attempt the next test, but must be invited by the teacher.

In bestowing a grade on a student the teacher considers many aspects and no student should compare him/herself with another. Every person has unique abilities and face challenges with varying difficulties. The intense experience of undergoing a test is very trying as well as gratifying.

The student has the opportunity to demonstrate his/her skills to the teacher as proof of the teacher's efforts to transfer knowledge. This is  rewarding for the teacher and creates a bond of mutual respect and understanding.

Students must accept the outcome of a test with dignity and strive to improve, learning from the comments that will be given during or after the test.

Junior students are ranked from entry level of Kyu 26 (pre-school) or Kyu 20 to Kyu 1 before a Black Belt test can be attempted.
Senior students are ranked from an entry level of Kyu 10 to Kyu 1 before a Black Belt test can be attempted.

Grading ranks from other associations are respected by, but not necessarily recognised by the OGKK.


Black belt gradings are recorded and registered in Okinawa, after which certificates are issued by the OGKK Directorate for Dan Tests in Okinawa.