Associated Members Dan Grading and Technical Standards


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Karate Wales Ltd. recognises that many associations and clubs have existing policies and practices regarding Dan grading and technical standards which may have worked for them over many years.

Karate Wales Ltd. accepts that associations and clubs should continue with their current practice and procedures but recommends that whatever method is used there are clearly defined procedures setting out progression routes at all Dan grade levels.

There are four areas in which Karate Wales Ltd. makes general recommendations:

  1. The Dan grading examination

  2. The candidate’s length of time in grade

  3. The candidate’s age

  4. The composition of the Dan grade panel

  1. The Dan Grading Examination

There is a wide range of karate associations and clubs within Karate Wales Ltd. member organisations. Karate Wales Ltd. agrees that it cannot recommend what should or should not be the specific content of a Dan grading examination.

However, where candidates are required to attend an examination at which they must demonstrate attitude, skills and knowledge to a grading panel, Karate Wales Ltd. does recommend that the three k’s – kihon, kumite and kata should form part of that examination

Many associations and clubs test Dan grades attempting fourth Dan (yondan) and above in different ways. Some test by technical examination, others by considering the candidate’s contribution to the development of karate in general.  

Where consideration is given to the award of a Dan grade which does not require the candidate’s attendance at an examination, this will include: -

• Details of the individuals karate history

• Their contribution to karate

• Their age and seniority

• Any other contributory factor

Any confirmation or consideration should not be unreasonably withheld.

  1. Length Of Time In Grade

The following table sets out the minimum requirements for progression within the Dan grade structure.  This structure should apply to all karate training and Karate Wales Ltd. recommends that this timescale is adopted by Karate Wales Ltd. associations clubs.

1st Dan (shodan) Minimum 15 years of age Minimum 3 years of continuous regular training

2nd Dan (nidan) Minimum 17 years of age Minimum 2 years continuous regular training since 1st Dan

3rd Dan (sandan) Minimum 20 years of age Minimum 3 years continuous regular training since 2nd Dan

4th Dan (yondan) Minimum 24 years of age Minimum 4 years continuous regular training since 3rd Dan

5th Dan (godan) Minimum 29 years of age Minimum 5 years continuous regular training since 4th Dan

6th Dan (rokudan) Minimum 35 years of age Minimum 6 years continuous regular training since 5th Dan

7th Dan (nanadan) Minimum 42 years of age Minimum 7 years continuous regular training since 6th Dan

8th Dan (hachidan) Minimum 50 years of age Minimum 8 years continuous regular training since 7th Dan

9th Dan (kyudan) Awarded for exceptional lifetime achievement for karate

10th Dan (judan) Awarded for exceptional lifetime achievement for karate

It is not possible to apply any catch up or aggregate time when considering eligibility for grade examinations. For the avoidance of doubt, a yondan practitioner who had been a sandan for eight years could not be considered for godan a year after achieving yondan. The time restrictions apply to each grade from the date of the award.

  1. The Candidate’s Age

Karate Wales Ltd. accepts that associations and clubs may wish to promote young people under the age of 15 years to Dan grade status. Within reason, Karate Wales Ltd. does not see this as a barrier. Karate Wales Ltd. agrees that associations and clubs may therefore maintain their own structures for Dan grade promotion up to and include second Dan (nidan) provided that they can provide robust evidence for justifying such promotions.

The minimum age for promotion to third Dan (sandan) should be twenty years of age.
Other Dan grades age criteria see chart section 2 above.

  1. The Dan Grading Panel

Karate Wales Ltd. accepts that there will be differences in the composition of such panels.  Some associations and clubs may wish to establish a panel composed of more than one person while others rely on the Chief Instructor as the single examiner.

Karate Wales Ltd. recommends that where candidates are required to attend a Dan grading examination then the panel should be led by an examiner who holds a grade at least two, if not three, grades higher than the candidate being examined. This person should hold that grade in the style being examined.

Where consideration is for a karateka to be awarded a Dan grade which is not tested by a physical grading examination it should be awarded after consideration by a panel of senior karateka or a high grade Chief Instructor (normally sixth Dan (rokudan) and above) within individual associations and clubs.  

Associations Seeking Promotion of Chief Instructors and Above Godan Recognition by Karate Wales.

An association should arrange consultation of other more senior ranking grades from other associations and of the same style of karate. This is to gain the approval prior to a formal request to the management support committee who will debate and take into account all factors before bringing the request to the management committee.  

Karate Wales Ltd. reserve the right promote one of its members should it deem that member has made a significant contribution to Karate through longevity, personal development, the advancement of Karate Wales Ltd. or other factors which may be taken into consideration.

This procedure also applies to associations seeking recognition by Karate Wales for grades above 5th Dan.

Karate Wales Ltd. – Governing Body

January 2015



Karate Wales Ltd.  

Registered in England and Wales Karate Wales Ltd. Company No. 09718948.  

Registered Office: 

Gwenhafdre, St Mary Church, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, CF71 7LT

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