Warrior Taekwon-Do hosts three colour belt gradings per year. Colour belt gradings are very formal events, where candidates have the opportunity to grade for an internationally recognised rank in ITF Taekwon-Do. That means if you move to another area in New Zealand or another country and continue training under the same international organisation, the rank that you gain with us will be recognised here and overseas.
The examiners for a colour belt grading are always 4th degree black belts or higher and must be a qualified ITF International Instructor. Then they must complete and pass an ITKD Examiners Course and undergo 12 months of examiner mentoring by senior examiners.
Students who wish to grade are expected to start putting work in well before the grading date - it is not good enough to ramp your training into high gear two weeks before a grading date and expect to grade. All the techniques you will be tested on are in your small blue Techniques Handbook, and you will be tested on the syllabus at your current level and as well as all the syllabus for all the previous grades. This means there is more to learn and have mastered at every grading, so it means you may not be grading every time as more work is needed to reach the required standard each time - particular in the senior colour belt levels.
If you are keen to grade:
The two-three weeks before a grading are known as the pre-grading period. During that time instructors are assessing to see whether your are ready to grade and will give important feedback to you on what to improve. You need to show you are ready during this period - this isn't the time to start trying to be ready! Remember also, that your instructors will not be able to pre-grade you if you are not there, so make sure you let your instructor know if you have a good reason to miss a session in advance. Factors taken into consideration in deciding whether to put a student forward for grading include attendance and conduct, as well as your Taekwon-Do techniques.
If you are not approved to grade, don't be disheartened. It is not a race to get through the grades. Use the tenet of perseverance and stay focused on your goals, and you will achieve them.
If you're approved to grade you will receive a slip confirming you have been approved to grade, and an email within 2 working days linking you to the registration form. Once you have your form, you (and/or your parent/guardian) will need to:
At The Grading
You will need to make sure you have a clean dobok, your belt and all jewellery removed. If you are wearing a t-shirt underneath your dobok it must be white. You will need to conduct yourself in the most exemplary manner during the grading, staying quiet, sitting properly and staying until the end. Sometimes examiners may let juniors or children leave early, however until that happens they should remain to support the grading.
The dojang will be set up with an examination table and marshals at the front who help you find your place on the mats and demonstrate the techniques you will be asked. Sometimes there will be other clubs with grading candidates as well as members from Warrior. Everyone will form up and be taken through some warm ups, there will be a short introduction and then candidates will be called up in groups according to rank to be tested. Sometimes candidates may be asked to come up more than once.
Warrior Taekwon-Do will receive the results normally within 2 days of the grading, and results and new belts and stripes will be presented in class. As the certificates are sent to us by our national organisation, International Taekwon-Do, it can be a few months before we receive them.
There are some great tips for beginners for creating a training schedule in Master McPhail's book 'Taekwon-Do Beginners' Training Manual'. This book is available at the Warrior office.
Here are some tips for parents and kids that will be especially useful for those preparing for their first ever Mini Kids Grading!
At Warrior Taekwon-Do we hold three Mini Kids gradings each year. Your very first Mini Kids Grading will be from white belt (no stripes) to First Green (a green stripe on one side of your white belt).
You have two books to help prepare for your grading. The Mini Kids Handbook (pictured above) has all the techniques and theory you will be tested on are in the White to First Green page in your Mini Kids Handbook and the homework page that needs to be signed off off by your instructor in advance of the grading. You will learn all the techniques in class.
Your TKD Skills Book for Mini Kids (pictured left) contains the skills and standards related to each technique that the examiners are looking for at each level.
Use the book when you practice and to monitor your own progress. The "Sometimes", "Mostly" and "Always" boxes are for you to use so you can track how you are progressing.
Your instructor will give you feedback through the term on where you are doing well and where to improve.
Homework and Theory
In the lead up to a grading you will need to do the following:
The two-three weeks before a grading are known as the pre-grading period. During that time instructors are assessing to see whether your are ready to grade and will give important feedback to you on what to improve. Factors taken into consideration in deciding whether to put a student forward for grading include attendance and behaviour in class over the whole term, as well as your Taekwon-Do techniques.
If you are not approved to grade, don't be disheartened. It is not a race to get through the stripes and it is important to be comfortable with your current level before progressing to the next. We always encourage our members to use the Taekwon-Do tenet of perseverance - keep at it and you will achieve your goals.
If you're approved to grade you will receive a slip confirming you have been approved to grade, and an email within 2 working days linking you to the registration form. You will then need to:
At The Grading
The grading is a formal event, with the dojang setup with an examination table and marshals at the front who help you find your place on the mats and demonstrate the techniques you will be asked. The examiners are almost always senior black belts from our club, and they will call the kids up in groups and ask them to go through their techniques and answer some oral theory questions. They will be asking the grading applicants what they know - they won't be trying to "catch you out".
At the end of the grading the kids are presented with their grading certificates and stripes representing their new rank and we have a group photo.
Click here to view a video of all the techniques required at white belt to first green and some clips from a Warrior grading
Remember that gradings are just one part of Taekwon-Do. We encourage you to get involved in other events that will help you to grow and develop in Taekwon-Do and as a person throughout the year besides gradings including pee wee tournaments, club events, special training and kids camps.