Kyū Grades

What does Kyū (級) mean?

It is a level or grade. The Kyū levels are numbered 5-1, and each level has its own color obi (belt).

Some kyū levels are divided into junior and youth requirements. Others have levels (like green belt).

To be a blackbelt,
show up and practice.


5 – Yellow Belt

Juniors (6-9)

  • Unsoku Dosa (footwork): all 8 directions
  • Ukemi (falling): forward and backward
  • Tai Sabaki (body movement): avoid a basic attack

Youth/Adult (10 and up)

In addition to the junior requirements:

  • Ukemi: side falls, forward and backward rolls
  • Tegatana Dosa: 12 hand movements
  • Atemi Waza: 5 techniques, right-handed only

Junior Red Belt

For children under the age of 10, there is an intermediate red belt between yellow and orange. Students must complete the yellow belt “Youth/Adult Requirements” to receive their junior red belt.

4 – Orange Belt

A minimum of 3 months of training after yellow belt. Junior/youth will receive green stripes on their belt.

Juniors (6-9)

  • All the requirements of yellow belt.
  • Ukemi: fall forward/back and side, both sides; roll forward, back and side
  • Unsoku Dosa: move smoothly through 8 directions
  • Tegatana Dosa: demonstrate understanding of all 12 hand techniques
  • Atemi Waza (5): all techniques left and right handed
  • Hiji Waza (5): perform right handed
  • Suwari Waza: 1 and 2, front side

Youth/Adult (10 and up)

In addition to the junior requirements:

  • All requirements for the juniors,
  • Shikkō (knee-walking)
  • Suwari Waza: 3 and 4, front side


Some students may be unable to perform suwari waza (kneeling techniques). The instructor may, at his discretion, substitute a demonstration of the 5 basic grips.

3 – Green Belt


For students under 13 years of age, the green belt has three stage, marked with stripes. A minimum of four months after orange belt. Movement through stripes is at the instructor’s discretion. This is the hardest level. Adults and youth ages 14 and up must perform all requirements to be promoted to green belt.

White Stripe

  • All requirements of orange belt
  • Atemi Waza (5): both sides, and from knife attack
  • Hiji Waza (5): both sides, with pins
  • Tekubi Waza (4): both sides
  • Suwari Waza (4): both front and back
  • 21 Jo Kata

Black Stripe

  • All requirements of white stripe
  • Kihon Nage Waza (7): basic understanding
  • Ura Waza: beginner’s understanding of 1-4
  • Be able to teach Unsoku and Tegatana Dosa


  • All requirements of white and black stripe
  • Tobi Ukemi: flying breakfalls
  • Kihon Nage Waza (7): good understanding
  • Ura Nage Waza (7): basic understanding
  • Be able to teach Atemi, Hiji and Tekubi Waza to younger students

2 – Blue Belt

Candidates must be at least 12 years of age and have completed 4 months of training after green belt.

  • All requirements of solid green belt
  • Nage Waza, Ura and Omote (14)
  • Suwari Waza: complete and able to teach
  • Nigiri Gaeshi: grip reversals (4)
  • Uki Waza (3): both sides
  • Randori no Kata: Demonstration level performance against the knife

1 – Brown Belt

Candidates must be 14 years of age and have completed 6 months of training after blue belt.

  • Demonstrate the technical requirements of any preceding belt on demand.
  • Randori no Kata (17), Nage Kate (14) complete
  • 21 Jo Kata
  • Basic bokken (wooden sword) knowledge: positions, stances
  • Chūshin Tandoku Undo: unique solo practices involving posture, breathing and movement
  • Perform three (3) matches of randori, as tanto and toshu.

To be a black belt, be ready to work.

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