Elite Martial Arts Grading System

Many years ago, Jigaro Kano, a Japanese Instructor of Judo invented the system of using ‘colored belts’ to show the level / rank of a student as they progressed during their martial arts training. This proved to be practical and very popular and was soon adopted by many other schools and styles. Belts were commonly worn by people of the various countries of Asia such as Thailand, China, Korea and Japan to keep the clothing jackets fastened together. Using colored belts was a simple idea that came about as should someone have a uniform and a belt that they wore during their training, over several years that belt would become darker and darker through wear and tear. Hence a beginner wearing a brand-new uniform would wear a new ‘White belt’ and a senior student with many years of experience would wear an old ‘Black belt’. Today the coveted BLACK BELT is a world renown martial arts qualification in many different styles such as Judo, Karate, Ju-Jitsu, Taekwondo and Kickboxing. A goal to aim for, and an achievement to accomplish. Note: In Thailand most  Thai-Kickboxing camps do not have any form of grading system at all as Muay thai is taught specifically as a ‘Combat-Sport’ for professional fighters. Those schools that do actually have a grading system generally do so because they also teach traditional Muay-Boran techniques as a  ‘Martial arts’ system for self-defense. Depending on the individual school that teaches Muay-Boran, a Grade ( rank ) maybe shown via colored Head-Bands (Monkol) or colored Arm-Bands (Prajeet) or colored Belt-Sash (Paa Kamaa), Team Elite uses colored anklets and belts. ‘Muay-Boran’ is the collective name for the traditional martial art systems of Thailand, that lead to the development of the combat sport known worldwide as Thai-Kickboxing (Muaythai). Notice that both ‘Muay-Boran’ stylists are wearing the Headbands, Armbands and Belt-Sash. Elite Martial Arts continues with the tradition of wearing a Belt-Sash as part of its uniform and uses colored belts & anklets to show a student’s rank as they progress through the Elite Gym’s grading syllabus. The Elite Martial Arts -Gym conducts four grading examinations for juniors & seniors each year on a three-monthly basis. These are held at the last Saturday of March, June, September, and the first Saturday of December for those that are eligible to grade. During these exams students demonstrate their technique skills, Sparring skills, fitness, and knowledge to a pre-set level according to rank. This then gets increasingly harder as the grades are progressed through. Regular grading promotion tests, help to vastly improve a student’s skills, knowledge and confidence as well as highlighting any areas requiring specific improvement. Most members upon starting at the Elite Studio, never intend to Grade, or to compete. Only to find having a training goal helps them progress much quicker than they would do otherwise. All the Students that do successfully Grade at the Elite Martial Arts Studio receive a Certificate and a Colored Belt or anklet depending on the discipline practiced, to show their rank and level of personal achievement.   The grading syllabus at the Elite Martial Arts Gym is a very well-structured training program. This guarantees that a Student, over their training career, will learn all aspects of Kickboxing as both a Martial Art system for Self-Defense applications and as a Combat Sport for Ring Competition under either Boxing, Thai-Kickboxing (Muaythai Rules), MMA or Japanese Kickboxing (K-1 Rules). Across all the martial arts systems, no matter the style studied, the students that take regular assessments through gradings tests are always much more skilled than those who do not!

Grading System for Children

Juniors under the age of 13 grade up to Junior Black Belt via an awards system. However when they progress from the Junior-Classes, (ages 6 to 13), and move into the Senior-Classes, ( ages 13 to Adult), they need to complete the Adult syllabus for complete certification. Juniors advancing into the Senior-Class that have been awarded Belts to a specific colour, keep their belt colour, however this Belt will have a White Tag added to it. They will then need to complete the Adult syllabus. As they pass each exam, the colour of the added Tag will change colour according to the Adult certification passed. This is known as a TRANSITION grade. EXAMPLE OF HOW TRANSITION (TAG) GRADES WORK: A student that has been awarded a Junior GREEN Belt in the Junior-School-Classes and then joins the High-School-Class, will be given a GREEN Belt with a White Tag. The TAG represents a student with a Transition Grade. The student will remain a GREEN Belt, but will have to pass the Yellow Belt exam, the Orange Belt exam and the Green Belt exam before they can test for their Blue Belt. As they pass the exams, the TAGS will change colour, from White to Yellow to Orange to Green. Passing the GREEN belt exam will result in a full GREEN belt, as the student is no longer going through the transition from Junior Gradings to Adult Gradings. The GREEN Belt students next grade will then be for BLUE belt, as per the standard Adult syllabus.


Shodan literally means ‘First Level’. While ‘Kyu’ means ‘step’. A student progresses through ‘steps’ towards the first level Black belt or Shodan. When a person becomes a Shodan, they are still required to train just as regularly and as hard as they did when they were a Kyu grade, as holding a Shodan (First Level) is only the start of greater learning. Some Martial Arts Centre’s quickly grade students to black belt simply, for the financial gain – charging upwards of $300.00 per Black belt exam. This is not true of the Elite Martial Arts Studio. A student will be invited to take their Black Belt test once they are ready, and not for financial gain.