The question that comes up all the time from parents with their child’s first karate grading (belt exam) is – Are they ready?

In Short, if you receive a grading form then Yes.

If you don’t and you are unsure please come and talk to us, but usually its because they haven’t done enough classes in preparation. If in doubt – ask.

At Kansai Karate we run age specific classes for four different age groups with expectations and training programs tailored to suit the specific abilities of those groups. We even have different belts for each of these groups to visually demonstrate these differences. Check out the Kansai Karate Belts here.

For our students their first grading from their White Belt is a recognition of starting their karate journey. We don’t expect karate masters, or fully coordinated kids after a few lessons. The biggest goal for us is getting involved, feeling a sense of achievement and building confidence. Karate can be a life long journey of continual development and improvement, but first we have to start.

As we have gradings set at regular 3 month intervals we allow students to grade with a certain number of classes, with our expectations for regular training for the full length of time between gradings after their first.
Our expectations are different for each of our classes; Cubs (3-4 years), Little Lions (5 – 7 years), Juniors (8-12 years, and Teens & Adults (13 years +).

In all cases, what we look for the most is a student that is enthusiastic to learn, shows a willingness to accept help and correct themselves when given feedback and a determination to never give up.


For our 3 – 4 year olds, the first grading is about participation, copying the skills demonstrated, listening and working with parents. Coordination, knowing the techniques outside of class, and even getting the correct legs and hand is not expected. This is all part of typical childhood development.

Little Lions

For our 5 – 7 year olds, the first grading is participation, enthusiasm, demonstrating the techniques practiced in class, including pad work, and kata. The children may not remember everything, and getting hands and legs correct is not required. Instructors will provide feedback during the class. The students practicing before hand is not required, but if students are interested we would encourage this to help build their sense of achievement.


For our 8 – 12 years olds, the first grading is participation, enthusiasm, demonstrating the techniques practiced in class, including pad work, and kata. Much like the Little Lions, the students may not remember everything, but being confident to do the techniques we demonstrate and a familiarity with all of the content is good start. Karate is not like a lot of other physical activities and so kids looking uncoordinated is not uncommon, and part of their karate journey is learning new movements, and developing this skills relating to understand where your body is can take time to develop. Just ask any of the parents that have started karate after watching their kids for years. It looks easy until you do it yourself.

Teens & Adults

For your 13 year olds and above, participation, determination and spirit is a big factor. We expect our teens and adults to have a level of maturity to practice and learn their techniques, but at the beginning its still about getting in there and having a go, making mistakes and pushing through. For this group, its about experiencing a karate exam for the first time, getting past nerves and feeling that sense of accomplishing the first of many goals and milestones.

Everyone makes mistakes, as long as we listen and learn form there you will have no problems at Kansai Karate.

We encourage Parents to come and discuss any concerns with us about their students training and participation.
We don’t like having students miss gradings if we can help it. Students that miss them tend to get discouraged when they see their peers receive new belts and they miss out. This becomes a reluctances to attend karate and wanting to quit. They may not say this is the cause, but it does happen a lot.

Please talk with us and help you and your child achieve your goals.

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