Grading is the process we use in Martial Arts to assess and promote students to the next level. Our system is divided into Belt Levels to effectively allow us to allocate appropriate techniques and principles for our students to focus on as they make their way on their Black Belt Journey and Beyond Black Belt Journey.

Each program and belt has specific requirements tailored to suit the age/level of the student participating. Students are recommended for Grading based on several factors, including attendance, skill level, behaviour, etiquette and syllabus mastery.

A grading period begins after the last grading. As such, a students entire effort from beginning to end of the period is considered (including regular attendance). Grading is an IMPORTANT part of your journey, not only providing you with the next rank but also experience in confidence and performing under pressure, both life skills that are very important to develop!

TKD Minis and Kids

TKD Kids follow a specific TKD Kids Belt System. Students begin with a White Belt and work their way towards Junior Black Belt. When a TKD Kid moves to the Junior Program with their belt, they are an ADVANCED WHITE BELT and will continue through the Junior Belt System.

The Taekwondo Kids follow a modified Taekwondo Syllabus suitable to the ages of three to six years. Due to their age, Gradings are about encouragement and acknowledging the hard work they have done rather than testing. Students perform their techniques for their parents and demonstrate their spirit and improvement.


TKD Kids are issued with a Grading Recommendation based on their effort and attendance. These need to be completed and returned to the front desk by the Friday prior to Grading Week.

Gup Gradings

We use a Belt Ranking system to reflect a student's experience and training level. Grading Week is usually held three times per year. Every effort is made to release the dates and times as early as possible to assist with scheduling.

All programs follow the same level system known as the Gup System. After White Belt, this begins with 9th Gup and students rise through the ranks towards 1st Gup, Provisional Black Belt and Black Belt. This system is represented slightly differently between the Junior, Youth and Teen Programs and the Adult Program.

In our Adult Taekwondo and Hapkido Programs, students are recommended on syllabus mastery, attendance and attitude in class. Belt levels are indicated by Colour (White, Yellow, Blue, Red and Black) as well as Stripes (Up to three depending on level). After the first Grading, Students receive a new belt every third Grading until Cho-Dan-Bo (Provisional Black Belt).

In our Junior, Youth and Teen Programs, students receive a new belt each Grading, and a Stripe System is used to keep track of progress throughout the Grading period.

1st Stripe – Technical Skill

2nd Stripe – Breaking Technique

3rd Stripe – Poomsae

4th Stripe – Recommendation

Black Belt Gradings

Earning your Black Belt is a great achievement. Most people begin Martial Arts with the goal of reaching their Black Belt, and it is one of the most identifiable aspects of Martial Arts training. However, BLACK BELT IS NOT THE END! While it is a huge milestone, earning your Black Belt shows that you are now an ADVANCED BEGINNER, with all the tools necessary to start honing your skills and building your ability towards Mastery!

Black Belt Ranks

Once you reach Black Belt, you are known as either a 1st Dan or 1st Poom. Poom is the Junior Rank for students under the age of 15yrs, Dan is the Senior Rank for students 15yrs and over. This is your first step towards your journey BEYOND BLACK BELT.


At Hills District Martial Arts we also include Bo Dan ranks. Full Black Belt ranks can sometimes have a number of years between them as a minimum requirement. Our Bo Dan System helps keep our students sharp between their next Dan/Poom by providing a provisional grading. Bo Dan ranks can be tested for after a MINIMUM of half your total required time has passed for your full rank. Students must be the appropriate Bo Dan prior to testing for their full Dan/Poom level.

Poom or Dan ranks are signified with a gold stripe on the belt. Bo Dan ranks are signified with a white stripe.

There are many more skills to learn, and your previous skills have not yet reached their full potential. Remember that Martial Arts is a lifelong journey, and after you achieve your Black Belt, it's time to look to the future!


Black Belt Gradings are serious events full of very skilled Martial Artists from all ages of the club. Grading at Black Belt level is strictly by recommendation only. Instructors will approach members when a Grading is approaching and the student is deemed to be ready. There are some important etiquette points to consider as a student for Black Belt Grading.


  • Students should not ask Instructors to be recommended. Instructors will approach students when they are seen to be ready.
  • Students should be attending regular classes. Dedication is a MUST.
  • Minimum time is only one requirement. Students should not assume they are DUE for a Grading just because their certificate date is approaching.
  • Attitude in class and daily life is one of the most important prerequisites.