Taekwondo Gradings

What is a grading?

A grading is the practical exam you take to move through the belts in Taekwondo. For each grade there is a minimum time period you are required to have trained and a list of techniques and translations you will be tested on. These are set out in your syllabus.

Although your instructor will work with you and guide you, it is your responsibility to know and practice your grading requirements. Once you have trained the required time period, please advise your instructor who will then include you in the next pre grading assessment and let you know if you are ready to grade.

What happens on the grading day?

Once you have been asked to grade by your instructor you will be told the date, time and venue of your grading. On the day of your grading you should turn up in a clean and ironed uniform with your completed grading form (downloadable from our website). You will line up just like in a normal class and the examiners will introduce themselves and explain the order of the day.

Usually you will be asked to sit at the back of the hall and will be called up in grade groups to take your exam. The exam will go through the techniques listed on your syllabus which cover basics, routines, sparring, breaking (if you are over 16) and theory which you will be called to the table and tested on. (It is all in your syllabus, so study that and you will have the answer to all the questions)

Who are the Examiners?

The examiners will be a top table of your instructors who will mark your grading sheet as you are asked to go through your grading requirements. The grading will be very similar to what is listed in your syllabus so providing you have practiced, you should be confident in everything that is asked of you.

When will I get my results?

Your grading results will usually be given out in normal lessons in the following week. If you have passed you will receive your new grade certificate along with your new belt or tags.

What results can I get?

The standard results are pass or fail. If you have failed, your instructor will explain why and work with you as you prepare to try again next time. Sometimes you may be borderline and your instructor may decide to pass you with an extended time period before you can take your next grading. If you have done particularly well on your grading you may receive an “A pass”. This means that, should you be ready, you are allowed to take your next grading after only one month. These results are hard to achieve and require high marks in all areas of your grading.

Advice: If you practice and study your syllabus, you will do well. If you have any concerns regarding your grading, please ask your instructor who will be happy to help.

Time Requirements & Grades

The standard expected at each grade gets progressively higher with blue belt and black belt being considered as the two major milestone grades where a substantial step up in standard is expected.

The time requirements between each grading are detailed in your syllabus and have been summarised below. These times should be considered a minimum only as it is your instructor who holds the final decision whether or not to recommend you for grading.

  • Start as: White Belt (10th Kup)
  • 3 months training & 20 lessons minimum
  • Grade for: White Belt, Yellow Tag (9th Kup)
  • 3 months training & 20 lessons minimum
  • Grade for: Yellow Belt (8th Kup)
  • 3 months training & 20 lessons minimum
  • Grade for: Yellow Belt, Green Tag (7th Kup)
  • 3 months training & 30 lessons minimum
  • Grade for: Green Belt (6th Kup)
  • 3 months training & 30 lessons minimum
  • Grade for: Green Belt, Blue Tag (5th Kup)
  • 3 months training & 40 lessons minimum
  • Grade for: Blue Belt (4th Kup)
  • 6 months training & 60 lessons minimum
  • Grade for: Blue Belt , Red Tag (3rd Kup)
  • 6 months training & 70 lessons minimum
  • Grade for: Red Belt (2nd Kup)
  • 6 months training & 70 lessons minimum
  • Grade for: Red Belt, Black Tag (1st Kup)
  • 6 months training & 80 lessons minimum
  • Grade for: Black Belt (1st Dan)
  • This is only the beginning. There is plenty more to come as you continue to work through your Dan grades and other Taekwondo qualifications. 

Name & Grade Announcement

At the start of a grading your name will be called and you will be pointed to your position which will be marked on the floor with an “X”. When you hear your name called you should reply with “Yes Sir”, run to your spot, stand in attention stance, raise your right hand and state your name and grade e.g. “Peter Smith, 10th Kup Sir”. You then bow, take up ready position and wait for instructions from the examiner.

This is the official start of your grading. It is also important that your uniform is clean, ironed and your belt is tied correctly.


The translations included in your syllabus should be learnt as you move through the grades. This list is a guide only and
you may be tested on any translation your instructor feels you should know. It is assumed that you will know all translations for your grade and all previous grades.

These translations are the Korean terms used in Taekwondo. The actual written Korean language uses phonetic symbols and the Korean spellings included in this syllabus are interpreted phonetic spellings and may vary from country to country or even club to club.


Breaking or demolition is a requirement for students over 16 years of age. Each grade is given set techniques to attempt to break wood, breaking boards, tiles or bricks. You will be assessed on your technique, accuracy, power and ability to complete the break.
In general you will be asked to measure up once by demonstrating the technique slowly and only touching the target. This will allow the examiner to assess that your technique is correct and that you understand the safest way of striking. You will then be given a few attempts to break.

Advice: Make sure you have practiced the technique at full speed before attending the grading. Aim for the middle of the target and try to strike through the target and not just at it. Confidence is key when breaking so breath deep and try not to hesitate.

Partner Work

Some techniques like sparring and self defence will be demonstrated with a partner. This partner will be selected for you by the examiners during the grading and will usually be another student attempting the same or similar grade.

It is important to remember that you are being assessed on your own technique but also on your respect and control when working with a partner. You may be asked to change partners during a grading to give the examiners a chance to see how you respond against different people who may present different challenges by their level of skill or simply their size in comparison to you.

Before starting any activity you will be given clear instructions from the examiners and will likely be called to attention and bow before beginning اضغط على هذا الرابط.

Advice: Be a good partner who works hard with flowing and clean exchanges that allow both people to demonstrate their techniques properly. Do not try to correct or instruct you partner. Concentrate on your grading and remember your partner etiquette such as bowing and turning away if you need to tidy your uniform.