Gradings &
Belt rankings

Martial Artists should not be defined by the colour of their belt. There are many fantastic Martial Artists in the world who have no belts or ranks at all, and many more ‘high ranking’ and highly decorated Martial Artists who are less than fantastic.

The colour of your belt is not as important as your spirit, determination, knowledge, ability and commitment.

Our philosophy is less about chasing the next belt and instead focusing on the lessons learned, the skills developed and the knowledge acquired.

Its not what you get, but what you gain.

However we recognise its important to have a sense of achievement and have something to show for your hard work.

Our belt system is designed to develop you over time as a martial artist. Each ‘rank’ is less about earning a belt and more about symbolic recognition of your progress through the system.

Earning a new belt is a major milestone and a physical representation of your transition from novice to intermediate, on to advanced and expert until eventually ‘Master’.

Learning to be effective as a Martial Artist is like learning to  write.

First you learn the letters.

Then you learn to write words.

Then eventually you learn to write sentences and paragraphs.

The more advanced you become, the more eloquent your writing becomes.

Our curriculum is structured a bit like that…

Novice, Yellow Sash 1-3

The Yellow Sash grades are the novice grades. Here you learn the basic mechanics, movements and concepts. The core focus is on the first of the Five Rings – Earth. Here you are learning to develop yourself physically, with base conditioning and flexibility, as well as learning the core movement patterns and committing them to ‘muscle memory’.

Intermediate, Red Sash Sash 1-3

The Red Sash stage is intended to build on your physical foundations, moving you in to the second ring – Water. Here there is greater focus on sensitivity, trapping and energy drills to develop your skill and reactiveness while maintaining structure and form.

Advanced, Blue Sash Sash 1-3

The Blue Sash levels are designed to push you further in to the third ring of the system – Fire. Here the focus becomes less on fixed ‘techniques’ and more on concepts, while developing your combative abilities against ‘live’ opponents with heavier focus on sparring, free-fighting and multiple opponents, as well as greater emphasis on weapons training to improve the empty hand.

Expert Level, Black Sash 1st Degree

The Black Sash is designed to be a culmination of all your training and a true test of your combative abilities. As well as having a high level of technical prowess, the Black Sash is designed to test your stamina and your spirit.

The Black Sash symbolises that you have mastered the basics and developed an excellent foundation as a martial artist, but it is not the end of the journey.

Reaching Black Sash means that you are ready to start learning the higher level concepts of the system and start the path to Mastery!

Approximate Timelines for Grades

There is no set timeframe for gradings, it is very much an individual journey based on the commitment and development of the student.

Some students need more time than others. It’s not a race. There are no set grading sessions. 

Students will be invited to  grade when the Instructor feels they are ready to progress to the next level.

The following is an approximate guide only:

Yellow Sash stage – Approx 1 to 1.5 years

Red Sash stage – Approx 1 – 2 years

Blue Sash stage – Approx 2 – 2.5 years

Black Sash – Minimum of 1 year after reaching Blue Sash III