Gradings - what to expect

Gradings are a method we use to assess progress and to set goals within Judo. Our Grading system is for full members of Tora Judo Kai only.

Primary Grades (Tora Judo Kai Cubs)

Primary Grades (between 5 and 7 years old) are assessed on a task based system of 10 tags (mons). Gradings are carried out during standard lesson time at 3 month intervals. They are identified by wearing a white belt with colours tags starting with red at the end of their belts. There is no financial cost to these assessments.

> Download syllabus

Novice to 1st Dan

From the age of 8 years students will participate in formal gradings.

• Under 18 years old standard gradings cost £7.00
• 18 years old and above gradings cost £10.00
• Black Belt Gradings cost £20.00

Formal gradings are usually held twice yearly, in June or July and December. Members of Tora Judo Kai wishing to grade will be put forward and recommended to attend a formal grading by the relevant club instructor.

> Download Novice to 1st Dan criteria
> Download Dan Grade syllabus

Membership Books and payment for gradings must be handed in before the event.

To grade a Judoka we consider three main elements:

• Attitude
• Theoretical knowledge
• Practical application of that knowledge

The first tip for attending a grading is to make sure you turn up in plenty of time to register. Your Judo Suit clean and pressed with the relevant badges sewn on neatly and your belt tied correctly, ready to start.

Your Instructor will have prepared you with all the information you need to know prior to recommending you undertake the grading process. All you have to do is turn up and prepare to shine by demonstrating what you have learned.

During a grading exam conditions will prevail. We would much rather you show us what you know rather than copying someone else, who may be showing the incorrect technique anyway. If you don’t hear or understand any instructions or questions please speak up and ask one of the examiners. Don’t suffer in silence; the examiners are a friendly approachable bunch and will never mind repeating instructions or clarifying tasks.

The format will start very similarly to a normal lesson with a formal bow (rei) and check for wellbeing.

You will be asked to show a series of techniques relevant to the grade you are aspiring to as detailed in the syllabus. You may also have a test on terminology and breakfalling.

We will not only want to see that you know the techniques but you can apply them to the standard relevant to your grade.

At some levels you may be asked to take part in contest, demonstrate formal techniques (Kata) refereeing and corner judging. Your instructor will have clearly identified what is required of you prior to taking part in a grading.

Attitude is taken in to account when being considered for grading. Perhaps this can best be defined as the way in which you conduct yourself both on and off of the Tatami. It can also include self respect, consideration for others, bravery or fighting spirit and determination.

Attitude is such an important factor that no grade will be awarded if the judoka does not conduct themselves in the spirit of martial arts.

At the end of the grading a certificate and grade will be awarded in front of the other candidates who have taken part in the grading. The membership book will have been signed off to the relevant level and returned to you at this point.

The important thing to remember is that attending a grading is not a guarantee of passing, however if you have been prepared and recommended by your instructor a grading will be a real chance to show off your skills and be rewarded accordingly.

The level attained a grading is signified by coloured belts.

• White (6th Kyu)
• Yellow (5th Kyu)
• Orange (4th Kyu)
• Green (3rd Kyu)
• Blue (2nd Kyu)
• Brown (1st Kyu)
• Black (1st Dan) (Please also refer to Dan Grade Syllabus)

For Juniors (students aged 8–15 years) In between each belt colour is a series of three Mon to reward smaller increases in ability.


At age 16 a student will begin their transition to Senior grades and automatically their grade will be reduced by three levels. E.g. a 1st Kyu (Brown) would revert to 4th Kyu (Orange). This would be subject to a maximum reversion to 6th Kyu (White). He or she is referred to at this stage as an “Intermediate”.

The intermediate will follow the same grading system as a Senior. This is the colour system as above but without additional Mon. It is aimed as being an introduction to life as a senior; training with and being compared to students of a greater age and maturity.

At age 18, the intermediate will be reassessed to ensure that they are able to continue to wear the grade they have been awarded.