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Belts / Ranks

In class, students are divided into groups according to their experience, each group identified by the wearing of different coloured belts. Brand new students wear a white belt before progressing to yellow, orange, blue, then green, brown and finally black.

Gradings are held to give students the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned at class and to progress to the next level. It is important for students to experience a feeling of "elevation" and a sense of achievement. These are held at regular intervals throughout the year. Students attempt a grading when they and their instructor believe they are ready to progress to the next level, working their way through the levels at their own pace.

After successfully completing a grading students receive the next level belt and a certificate of achievement. Most clubs hold two gradings a year and then they all come together once a year for coloured belt gradings and more senior black belt gradings. This is done to ensure ongoing standards and consistencies.

When grading, the essence is in competing against yourself...that is, to better your last performance, to overcome fear, apprehension and indecision and to display commitment and effort. It is because of these elements that students ultimately reach their goals.

Zen Do Kai Belt Ranking System Coloured Belts

"the first step on the journey of a thousand miles seemingly the hardest step"

"the first sign of strength, it is considered a great loss of face to lag behind the pace"

"Set yourself apart, you are now at the intermediate stage"

Conceive, Believe and Achieve

"when you see a worthy person endeavour to emulate them...when you see an unworthy person then examine your inner self"

"A true Black Belt following the path of the Warrior unwittingly changes their way of life, for they can never be the same person again"

"The first full step on the journey of the Warrior"

"The Martial Arts Marathon"

"Mirror reflection of Self through students"

"Lower Masters Level”

"Upper Masters Level"

"Lower Wizard Level" “ARA – (MI) - TAMA”

"Middle Wizard Level" “NIGI – (MI) – TAMA”

"Upper Wizard Level” “SAKI – (MI) – TAMA”


"Professor and Chief Grand Professor Levels" “KUSH – (MI) – TAMA”

Rank Title Gi Belt Change Description
Sho Dan Ho (Probationary 1st)     Black  
Sho Dan
(Full 1st Degree)
Sempai Red stripe around collar of top and down both sides of pants   25mm red stripe down outside seam of pants, red stripe around entire collar of top
Ni Dan Ho
(Prob. 2nd Degree)
Ni Dan
(Full 2nd Degree)
Dai Sempai Red sleeves and two red stripes down side of pants Red embroidered writing on Belt Reading in Chinese on one end "Red Dragon System" the other end reading in Japanese students name
San Dan Ho
(Prob. 3rd Degree)
San Dan
(Full 3rd Degree)
Sensei Full red top and three red stripes down side of pants    
Yon Dan Ho
(Prob. 4th Degree)
Yon Dan
(Full 4th Degree)

White top with red sleeves, black pants with 2inch white stripes and thinner red stripes either side.
Full white Gi for official ceremonys

Outside of belt half covered in White the other half in Red Worn with the white upper most. Embroidered writing stays
Go Dan Ho
(Prob. 5th Degree)
Go Dan
(Full 5th Degree)
Shihan Red top with white sleeves, black pants with 2inch red stripes and thinner white stripes either side. Outside of belt half covered in white the other half in red Worn with the red uppermost (belt turned around from 4th Dan). Embroidered writing stays
5th Dan is the last of the physical gradings. After this point all gradings are decided by the Chief
Roku Dan
(Prob. 6th Degree)
Roku Dan
(Full 6th Degree)
Kyoshi   10mm Red stripe centred around outside of Belt  
Sichi Dan Ho
(Prob. 7th Degree)
Sichi Dan
(Full 7th Degree)
    15mm Red stripe centred around outside of Belt  
Hachi Dan Ho
(Prob. 8th Degree)
Hachi Dan
(Full 8th Degree)
    20mm Red stripe centred around outside of Belt  
Ku Dan Ho
(Prob. 9th Degree)
Ku Dan Ho
(Full 9th Degree)
    Red Belt with 20mm Black stripe centred around outside of Belt  
Ju Dan Ho
(Prob.10th Degree)
Ju Dan
(Full 10th Degree)
    Solid Red Belt