Black belt is possibly one of the most important examinations you will undertake in Taekwon-do. Not only does it represent the acquisition of required basic knowledge, but an understanding that you are crossing the threshold of martial arts training and as such a black belt attitude and mindset are vitally important.

Being a good black belt is more than simply knowing your techniques! Refining and understanding what you know is imperative, the correct attitude towards training, teaching and behavior are very important. Black belt represents a lot, especially a black belt graded at this Academy

Black belt gradings at Rayners Lane Taekwon-do Academy are tough.. period. We are not in the business of making black belts, we have no "black belt clubs", all dan grades awarded here are earned through hard work, sweat and sometimes a little blood.. check the videos at the bottom of this page if you dont believe me! At the Academy, Dan gradings really are a "Rite of Passage". Students are invited to take their dan grading by their instructor, when it is felt they are ready, no student can ask to take a Dan grading.

Black belt gradings last between 3 to 8 hours (depending on numbers), are very physically and mentally intensive. They are designed not only to test knowledge, but spirit and fortitude also. They are usually small and focused on just a few candidates and all students are graded in front of a board of examiners which consist of many outside examiners, as well as Mr Anslow himself; usually between 4 and 6 examiners will be present. They do not run in order ie. patterns, sparring, breaking etc. things swap and change quickly to keep the students on the edge and test their knowledge, as opposed to just their memory!

Prior to the grading, each student will under-go a 3 to 4 hour pre-grading and a 2 to 3 hour written theory paper. A couple of weeks later the actual grading will take place. A student ready to take a grading will usually have trained consistently for 5 to 6 years.

All gradings take in the 5 main elements of Taekwon-do: Theory, Patterns, Sparring, Self Defence and Destruction.

All sections are marked individually as well as collectively to form the final mark. Should a student be successful there are three levels of pass mark that can be achieved: Pass, Pass with Merit and Pass with Discinction. A 'Pass with Distinction' means the student has achieved 80% or higher overall 80% with a minimum of 70% in each section. A 'Pass with Merit' means the student has achieved 70% - 79% overall, with a minimum of 60% in each section. A 'Pass' means the student has achieved between 60% - 69% overall, with a minimum of 50% in each area.
A pass will not be allowed if any ONE out of the FIVE disciplines is under 50%.

The physical components of a 1st kup to 1st degree exam breaks down like this:

Theory: A 2-3 Hour written theory exam

Patterns: Saju Makgi, Saju Jirugi, Chon-Ji tul, Dan-Gun tul, Do-San tul, Won-Hyo tul, Yul-Gok tul, Joong-Gun tul, Toi-Gye tul, Hwa-Rang tul, Choong-Moo tul

Sparring and Self Defence: 3 Step Sparring, 2 Step Sparring, 1 Step Sparring (Traditional), 1 Step Sparring (Advanced), Relaxed 1 Step with knife (2 rounds), Hosinsul with frontal attacks (2 rounds), Hosinsul with rear attacks (2 rounds), Unpadded Free Sparring, Padded 'Competition Style' Free Sparring, Traditional Sparring** (2 rounds), Free Sparring with knife (2 rounds), Idale Matsogi (2 v 1 Sparring x 2 rounds), Choke Sparring.
All sparring & hosinsul demonstrated over a minimum of 2 rounds each, against fellow gradees of 1st kup level and black belts

Destruction: Twio Yop Cha Jirugi (2 boards/both legs), Fore Fist Punch (2 boards), Hand technique (weak side - 1 board)***, Non-measured break**** x 2, Technical Break Demonstration

Notes: * chosen by examiners / ** meaning they can kick, strike, sweep, take down and throw / *** 2 boards is 1 black board and 1 cream board, whilst single board breaks are required through a black board / **** no measuring or distance taking, the student simply walks up to the holder and strikes, with a basic kicking technique chosen at random for each leg. 1 board for 1st kups, 2 boards for 1st dans.

The Academy's Dan gradings are also open for students not from the Academy, as well as its own and examiners students to test at. However, all testing students will be expected to furfil the criteria listed above to a high level & are welcome to train at the Academy prior to any tests.

Click here for all the videos from every Dan Grading ever held at the Academy.

For actual Dan Grading Results, please click here
To view all Academy Black Belts, please click here