Grading Expectations


If you have any questions about the grading process, please don’t make assumptions – ASK! You can ask any Leadership Team member in class, or email or phone Master Olpin at any time using the details on the Contact Page.

Firstly, yes gradings are a very important part of your training, but they shouldn’t be something you worry about. We’re not trying to give anyone a hard time or to catch you out. It’s just an opportunity to review what we’ve been working on in class and to see where individuals strengths and weaknesses lie. All we’re looking to see is the same syllabus you’ve worked on in class all quarter performed to a reasonable standard.

The role of the grading examiner is to assess that a students has a good command of the techniques appropriate to their current rank and that they are ready to move up a level.

We don’t expect miracles!

On the floor there will be a wide range of experience and in the juniors quite range of ages too.  Yes, the students are all performing the same techniques but obviously each is assessed based on their own merit based on their age and present rank. For example, if we’ve been working on quite an advanced form which in a traditional TKD school would be required for red belt students.  Clearly for a junior that’s only just moved up from the beginners that’s a massive leap up to something like Toi Gye but that’s ok – I’m well aware of that and so of course I’m only looking to see that they’ve got an rough idea of the basics and maybe can manage a part of the form. For a student at a higher rank then of course I’d expect them to be able to complete the form and to demonstrate a reasonable standard on each movement.  The most senior grades would be expected to demonstrate the form with full speed and power and to be able to explain the purpose of each movement etc.

The most important thing you can do in a grading is to simply make your very best effort to do what you can do. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, just show what you know.  You should always make your moves big and strong, 100% effort at all times, big stances, proper start positions, big full range of motion with a nice snap on the end.  Eyes should be focused on the front and above all it should be really clear that the candidate is making a real effort to do their best.

Effort is everything.
Over the past few years there have been very few occasions when a student has been penalised purely for poor technique. Nearly every time we’ve marked a student down or they’ve not been promoted it’s been because they weren’t making the effort.  When you’re out there you need to prove that you’re taking it seriously and you’re ready for promotion.  If we feel a student isn’t giving their best effort and taking it seriously then they absolutely don’t deserve to be promoted.

When you’re showing your basics, remember the most important things that we need to see:
  • Big, clear stances
  • Proper start position
  • Big range of motion
  • Consistent focus ‘on target’
  • Striking tools right for the technique, keep your fists tight unless they’re in a knife-hand or palm strike.
  • Finish each move strongly and hold it briefly before moving onto the next.

Grading results

When the results are published, we have a few little ‘extras’ you may see tagged on the results list, so I’d like to take a moment to just clarify what these things mean:

‘A’ PassAwarded to students who demonstrate an exceptional attitude or good example to their peers in the grading. Think ‘A for attitude’
‘+’ PassIndicates a well above average technical standard

‘*’ Promoted additional full belt rank for outstanding technical standard, example to others and/or significantly above average attendance.
‘L’ Low PassIndicating that one or more areas require significant work.  

May be a significant issue in one or more technical requirements, or given as a ‘warning’ for a lack of effort or poor attitude in the grading.  

This is a ‘shot across the bows’ and will be noted in the students grading record. They will be expected to demonstrate a significant improvement in this area to be promoted in the next grading.

It is expected they’ll demonstrate a consistent effort to improve this in class, not just a ‘one-off’ at the grading.

‘Ret’ – retained.Current belt retained.

The student is not considered ready for promotion at this time.

‘DNS’Indicates the student was eligible but did not attend the grading examination.