Black Belt Examinations

The rank of Black Belt has a very special significance in the martial arts, and whilst it is by no means the ‘end’, it is more like the completion of your apprenticeship, it is often likened to gaining an Academic degree.

As it has such significance in the wider world we take the process very seriously.

All black belt candidates should take the time to study the black belt handbook carefully, and if there is anything at all you are unsure of you should ASK rather than make assumptions..

Above all else, you must take ownership of the process and be very pro-active in your approach. One of the highest qualities of the Black Belt rank is your ability to lead by example, and this must be very clear in your preparation for the Black Belt examination.

Important reminder – Black Belt Applications

This is relevant to ALL students approaching black belt grades, including current 1st Kup (Red/Black) students grading to black belt candidate status..

Black Belt Candidates

Please ensure you read the ‘notes for black belt candidates’ document on the website thoroughly as there is an additional requirement of a pre-grading essay which must accompany your grading application.   If you need any help coming up with a topic for this, please speak to Master Olpin or Mrs Williamson ASAP

Initial Black Belt Applications

Please remember that the application process involves several key stages, and that the initial application requires certain aspects, such as personal goals, to be discussed and agreed in advance with an instructor, so you cannot simply leave it to the last moment and put a form in.

Applications will not be accepted unless you have discussed and agreed all aspects in advance of the application.

You must include ALL the following with your application form:

  • Completed application form
  • Written outline of all agreed goals (including how you plan to track/measure them)
  • Title and brief outline of your Thesis / Project topic
  • nitial Training plans to cover both the monthly outline and first month’s weekly plans
  • Your training journal should be set up with an initial post detailing all the above *agreed* information.

It is highly recommended that you don’t leave applications until the last moment in case of issues!

Final Black Belt Submissions

Your final submission will be handed in at the end of the month, prior to the grading examination, typically about three weeks in advance of the exam. This is to give the grading panel time to fully review all applications.

The final submission deadline for black belt applications is an absolute deadline. This is non-negotiable, applications will not be accepted after this date.

Deferred applications

If for any reason you do not feel you will be able to meet the examination requirements at this time, you may request to defer your application to a later examination, however this must be agreed with your instructor in advance of the application deadline, and you must confirm this in writing with an outline of your reasons for doing so.


Before your submit your final application, please ensure you have re-read the Black Belt requirements booklet carefully to ensure you have included everything and that you are quite clear on the requirements of the examination process.  Your signed application confirms that you have done this.

Your submission must be complete with all of the following items:

[parentheses refer to pages in the Black Belt handbook]

  • Final Application Form
  • Completed Thesis / Project [p43-45]
  • Written Examination [p52]
  • Summary on each of your defined goals (complete with any supporting evidence). [p29-26]
  • Pattern Analysis (Adults Only) [p47-49]
  • Printed copy of your training plans [p27-33] and weekly journal entries  [34-40]
  • Description / plan of your personal demonstration [p53-55]
  • Current valid membership which extends at least 12 months past the grading date. [p8]
  • Any further supporting documentation which you wish to submit in support of your application.

The Academy will keep an electronic copy of all submissions and the printed copies will be returned to successful candidates after the end of your probationary period following your first black belt review.

If you have any final questions please don’t wait until the deadline, ASK NOW!


Grading Examination 17th December 2023

*Note this is an exception to our usual March/September schedule

Initial Applications*Pre-grading AssessmentFinal Submission Deadline
JUNIORS30/8/23Sept-Nov 202330/11/23

Grading Examination 26th March 2024

Initial Applications*Pre-grading AssessmentFinal Submission Deadline
ADULTS30/8/23Sept 2023-Feb 202428/02/24
JUNIORS30/11/24Nov 2024-Feb 202428/02/24

Grading Examination 24th September 2024

Initial Applications*Pre-grading AssessmentFinal Submission Deadline
ADULTS28/02/24March – August 202431/08/24
JUNIORS30/05/24June – August 202431/08/24