Gradings are belt level examinations which are conducted at regular intervals in which the student progresses and attains various colours of belt until they reach black belt. At black belt they then progress through further levels of rank although the belt colour will no longer change. There are 2 levels for each of the colour belts below black belt, these are referred to as Kup or Geup ranks which start at 10th and progress through to 1st. Black belt levels are referred to as Dan ranks and start at 1st and progress to 9th.
The belt levels are as follows:
White belt 10th – 9th Kup
Yellow belt 8th – 7th Kup
Green belt 6th – 5th Kup
Blue belt 4th – 3rd Kup
Red belt 2nd – 1st Kup
A student which trains well for 2 sessions per week should be able to test on average every 3 months and a student that trains once a week can test every 6 months.
A grading will normally consist of the candidate demonstrating to the examiner a series of basic blocks, kicks and punches. There will also be some controlled pre-arranged defence and attack techniques with a partner and with medium level students some controlled free sparring. The candidate will also have to perform a series of set movements known as Poomsae; there is a different poomsae for each belt level. Depending on age and ability some breaking techniques may also be included.
Most students get a great deal of satisfaction and a feeling of achievement when they get to wear their next colour belt and move closer to attaining a black belt.
When testing candidates the examiner will score up to 100 marks and look for the following:
Evaluation of Poomsae (patterns)
- Perfection – 50
- Skill level – 40
- Dignity – 10
Dignity encompasses the following elements:
- Etiquette – correct manners and protocol
- Behaviour – showing pride and dignity in themselves and their performance
- Dobok – That candidate is wearing their uniform correctly, the uniform is clean and ironed, correct length of the belt, and the uniform is not covered in badges.
- Degree of completion
- Skill level
- Concentration of energy
Evaluation of Kyorugi (sparring)
- Attack – 30
- Variety of skills – 40
- Defence – 30
- Looking at the opponent
- shouting when attacking
- Control of speed
- Control of power
- Control of distance
- Variety of techniques used