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The JKA Grading and License Qualification System

Dan Grading Criteria & Syllabus

There are 10 Kyu and 10 Dan in JKA karate. To obtain certification for each rank, you must fulfill the certification requirements and complete the testing procedure. Testing—or grading—is carried out by a panel of instructors authorized as JKA technical examiners.

In order to be eligible for testing, you must first have gained the appropriate amount of continuous experience at your current rank. Then, depending on the level of Dan you are being graded for, you may have to take the test outside New Zealand (at the higher Dan ranks, only Tokyo JKA HQ is authorized to evaluate, grade and issue certification).

These details are summarized in the following chart.

10th Kyu

【Kihon】In place basics in Shizen Tai

  1. Chuudan Chokuzuki

  2. Joudan Ageuke

  3. Chuudan Sotouke

  4. Gedan Barai

  5. Maegeri (Heisoku Dachi, Gedan Kakiwake)

* “Gorei” command (from right side in turn for each waza)

9th Kyu

【Kihon】In place basics in Shizen Tai to Zenkutsu Dachi and back to Shizen Tai

  1. Chuudan Junzuki

  2. Joudan Ageuke

  3. Chuudan Sotouke

  4. Maegeri (Zenkutsu Dachi, Gedan Kakiwake)

* “Gorei” command (from right side in turn for each waza)

8th Kyu

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Chuudan Junzuki (step in)

  2. Joudan Ageuke (step in)

  3. Chuudan Sotouke (step in)

  4. Gedan Barai (step in)

  5. Kokutsu Shutou Uke (step in)

  6. Maegeri (Gedan Kakiwake, stepping in)

  7. Yokogeri Keage (in Heisoku Dachi, right and left 2 times each)

【Kata】 Taikyoku Shoudan

【Kumite】 Gohon Kumite

 

  1. Joudan Junzuki

  2. Chuudan Junzuki

7th Kyu

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Chuudan Junzuki (step in)

  2. Joudan Ageuke (step back)

  3. Chuudan Sotouke (step in)

  4. Chuudan Uchiuke (step back)

  5. Kokutsu Shutou Uke (step in)

  6. Maegeri (Gedan Kakiwake, stepping in)

  7. Yokogeri Keage (in Kiba Dachi, stepping in, right and left)

【Kata】 Heian Shodan

【Kumite】 Gohon Kumite

 

  1. Joudan Junzuki

  2. Chuudan Junzuki

6th Kyu

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Chuudan Junzuki (step in)

  2. Joudan Ageuke (step back)

  3. Chuudan Sotouke (step in)

  4. Chuudan Uchiuke (step back)

  5. Kokutsu Shutou Uke (step in)

  6. Maegeri (Gedan Kakiwake, stepping in)

  7. Yokogeri Keage (in Kiba Dachi, stepping in, right and left)

  8. Yokogeri Kekomi (in Kiba Dachi, stepping in, right and left)

【Kata】 Heian Nidan

【Kumite】 Kihon Ippon Kumite

 

  1. Joudan Junzuki - right and left

  2. Chuudan Junzuki - right and left

5th Kyu

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Chuudan Junzuki (step in)

  2. Joudan Ageuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  3. Chuudan Sotouke, Gyaku Zuki (step in)

  4. Chuudan Uchiuke, Chuudan Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  5. Kokutsu Shutou Uke (step in)

  6. Maegeri (Gedan Kakiwake, stepping in)

  7. Yokogeri Keage (in Kiba Dachi, stepping in, right and left)

  8. Yokogeri Kekomi (in Kiba Dachi, stepping in, right and left)

【Kata】 Heian Sandan

【Kumite】 Kihon Ippon Kumite

 

  1. Joudan Junzuki - right and left

  2. Chuudan Junzuki - right and left

  3. Chuudan Maegiri - Gedan Kakiwake, right and left

4th Kyu

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Chuudan Junzuki (step in)

  2. Joudan Ageuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  3. Chuudan Sotouke, Gyaku Zuki (step in)

  4. Chuudan Uchiuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  5. Kokutsu Shutou Uke, Zenkutsu Nukite (step in)

  6. Maegeri (Gedan Kakiwake, stepping in)

  7. Yokogeri Keage (in Kiba Dachi, stepping in, right and left)

  8. Yokogeri Kekomi (in Kiba Dachi, stepping in, right and left)

【Kata】 Heian Yondan

【Kumite】 Kihon Ippon Kumite

 

  1. Joudan Junzuki - right and left

  2. Chuudan Junzuki - right and left

  3. Chuudan Maegiri - Gedan Kakiwake, right and left

  4. Chuudan Yokogeri Kekomi - right and left

3rd Kyu

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Chuudan Junzuki (step in)

  2. Joudan Ageuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  3. Chuudan Sotouke, Gyaku Zuki (step in)

  4. Chuudan Uchiuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  5. Kokutsu Shutou Uke, Zenkutsu Nukite (step in)

  6. Maegeri (Gedan Kakiwake, stepping in)

  7. Rengeri (Gedan Kakiwake, Chuudan, Joudan, stepping in)

  8. Mawashigeri (step in)

  9. Yokogeri Keage (in Kiba Dachi, stepping in, right and left)

  10. Yokogeri Kekomi (in Kiba Dachi, stepping in, right and left)

【Kata】 Heian Godan

【Kumite】 Kihon Ippon Kumite

 

  1. Joudan Junzuki - right and left

  2. Chuudan Junzuki - right and left

  3. Chuudan Maegiri - Gedan Kakiwake, right and left

  4. Chuudan Yokogeri Kekomi - right and left

2nd Kyu

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Chuudan Junzuki (step in)

  2. Joudan Ageuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  3. Chuudan Sotouke in Zenkutsu Dachi, changing stance to Kiba Dachi, Yoko Enpi, Yoko Uraken Uchi (step in)

  4. Chuudan Uchiuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  5. Kokutsu Shutou Uke, Zenkutsu Nukite (step in)

  6. Maegeri (Gedan Kakiwake, stepping in)

  7. Rengeri (Gedan Kakiwake, Chuudan, Joudan, stepping in)

  8. Mawashigeri (step in)

  9. Yokogeri Keage (in Kiba Dachi, stepping in, right and left)

  10. Yokogeri Kekomi (in Kiba Dachi, stepping in, right and left)

【Kata】 Tekki Shodan

【Kumite】 Jiyuu Ippon Kumite

  1. Joudan Junzuki

  2. Chuudan Junzuki

  3. Chuudan Maegiri

  4. Chuudan Yokogeri Kekomi

1st Kyu

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Chuudan Junzuki (step in)

  2. Sanbon Renzuki (step in)

  3. Joudan Ageuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  4. Chuudan Sotouke in Zenkutsu Dachi, changing stance to Kiba Dachi, Yoko Enpi, Yoko Uraken Uchi (step in)

  5. Chuudan Uchiuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  6. Kokutsu Shutou Uke, Zenkutsu Nukite (step in)

  7. Maegeri (Gedan Kakiwake, stepping in)

  8. Rengeri (Gedan Kakiwake, Chuudan, Joudan, stepping in)

  9. Mawashigeri (step in)

  10. Yokogeri Keage (in Kiba Dachi, stepping in, right and left)

  11. Yokogeri Kekomi (in Zenkutsu Dachi, stepping in)

【Kata】 Bassai Dai, Kanku Dai, Enpi or Jion (your choice)

【Kumite】 Jiyuu Ippon Kumite

  1. Joudan Junzuki

  2. Chuudan Junzuki

  3. Chuudan Maegiri

  4. Chuudan Yokogeri Kekomi

  5. Mawashigeri - inform your choice of Joudan or Chuudan

1st Dan

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Chuudan Junzuki (step in)

  2. Sanbon Renzuki (step in)

  3. Joudan Ageuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  4. Chuudan Sotouke, Yoko Enpi, Yoko Uraken Uchi, Gyaku Zuki (Zenkutsu Dachi changing stance to Kiba Dachi  changing stance to Zenkutsu Dachi, stepping in)

  5. Chuudan Uchiuke, Kizami Zuki, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  6. Kokutsu Shutou Uke, Zenkutsu Nukite (step in)

  7. Maegeri (Gedan Kakiwake, stepping in)

  8. Rengeri (Gedan Kakiwake, Chuudan, Joudan, stepping in)

  9. Mawashigeri (step in)

  10. Yokogeri Keage (in Kiba Dachi, stepping in, right and left)

  11. Yokogeri Kekomi (in Zenkutsu Dachi, stepping in)

【Kata】 Bassai Dai, Kanku Dai, Enpi or Jion (your choice)

【Kumite】 Jiyuu Ippon Kumite

  1. Joudan Junzuki

  2. Chuudan Junzuki

  3. Chuudan Maegiri

  4. Chuudan Yokogeri Kekomi

  5. Mawashigeri - inform your choice of Joudan or Chuudan (one side only)

2nd Dan

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Chuudan Junzuki (step in)

  2. Sanbon Renzuki (step in)

  3. Ageuke, Sotouke (with same arm), Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  4. Uchiuke, Kizami Zuki, Gyaku Zuki (Koukutsu Dachi to Zenkutsu Dachi, stepping in)

  5. Koukutsu Shutouke, Kizami Maegeri, Zenkutsu Nukite (stepping back)

  6. Rengeri (Gedan Kakiwake, Chuudan, Joudan, stepping in)

  7. Yokogeri Keage, Yokogeri Kekomi (Kiba Dachi, alternate feet)

  8. Yokogeri Kekomi (in Zenkutsu Dachi, stepping in)

  9. Mawashigeri (step in)

  10. Ageuke (step back), Mawashigeri, Yoko Uraken Uchi, Chuudan Junzuki (stepping in)

【Kata】 Student's favourite Kata (tokui kata)

【Kumite】 Jiyu Kumite

3rd Dan

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Joudan Kizami Zuki, Joudan Junzuki, Chuudan Gyakuzuki (free kamae, stepping in)

  2. Joudan Ageuke, Chuudan Sotouke (with same arm), Gyakuzuki (step back)

  3. Chuudan Uchiuke, Kizami Zuki, Gyaku Zuki (Kokutsu Dachi to Zenkutsu Dachi, stepping in)

  4. Koukutsu Shutou Uke, Kizami Maegeri, Zenkutsu Nukite (step back)

  5. Ageuke (step back), Mawashigeri, Yoko Uraken Uchi, Chuudan Junzuki (step in)

  6. Maegeri, Gyaku Zuki, Yokogeri Kekomi, Gyakuzuki, Mawashigeri, Gyakuzuki (alternate feet, stepping in)

【Kata】 Student's favourite Kata (tokui kata)

【Kumite】 Jiyu Kumite

4th Dan

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Sanbon Renzuki (step in)

  2. Ageuke, Sotouke (with same arm), Gyakuzuki (step back)

  3. Chuudan Uchiuke, Kizamizuki, Gyakuzuki (Kokutsu Dachi, Zenkutsu Dachi, stepping in)

  4. Shutouuke, Kizami Maegeri, Zenkutsu Nukite (step back)

  5. Maegeri, Junzuki (step in)

  6. Maegeri, Gyakuzuki (step in)

  7. Yokogeri Kekomi, Gyakuzuki (step in)

  8. Mawashigeri, Gyakuzuki (step in)

  9. Maegeri, Yokogeri Kekomi, Ushirogeri (Zenkutsu Dachi same feet right and left)

【Kata】 from Heian Shodan to Tekki Nidan specified by Examiner, Student's favourite Kata (tokui kata)

【Kumite】 Jiyu Kumite

5th Dan

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Sanbon Renzuki (step in)

  2. Ageuke, Sotouke (with same arm), Gyakuzuki (step back)

  3. Chuudan Uchiuke, Kizamizuki, Gyakuzuki (Kokutsu Dachi, Zenkutsu Dachi, stepping in)

  4. Shutouuke, Kizami Maegeri, Zenkutsu Nukite (step back)

  5. Maegeri, Joudan Junzuki, Chuudan Gyakuzukii (step in)

  6. Yokogeri Kekomi, Gyakuzuki (step in)

  7. Mawashigeri, Gyakuzuki (step in)

  8. Maegeri, Yokogeri Kekomi, Mawashigeri, Gyakuzuki (alternate feet, stepping in)

  9. Maegeri, Yokogeri Kekomi, Ushirogeri (Zenkutsu Dachi, same feet right and left)

【Kata】 from Heian Shodan to Tekki Sandan specified by Examiner, Q&A session on student's favourite kata

【Kumite】 Jiyu Kumite

6th Dan

【Kihon】Specified by examiner

【Kata】 Bassai Dai, Kanku Dai, Enpi, or Jion - specified by Examiner, Q&A session on student's favourite kata

【Kumite】 Jiyu Kumite

  1. Question and answer session on technique

  2. Submit a report on technique on the same day

7th Dan

【Kihon】Specified by examiner

【Kata】 Q&A session on student's favourite kata

【Kumite】 Jiyu Kumite

  1. Question and answer session on technique

  2. Submit a report on technique on the same day

8th Dan

Recommendation by Shihankai

9th Dan

Recommendation by Shihankai

10th Dan

Recommendation by Shihankai

License Qualification Criteria

The JKA offers three basic kinds of qualifications: authorized Instructor qualifications (for teaching karate); authorized Judge qualifications (for judging and refereeing at tournaments); and authorized Examiner qualifications (for testing and evaluating Dan, instructors and other types of qualification). Typically, it is only those who are already qualified instructors who are eligible for the other two types.

For each type of official qualification, there are four classes: D through A. Each subsequent class authorizes the instructor to carry out an increasingly broad spectrum of activities appropriate to the individual’s experience—with Instructors and Judges outside Japan also carrying out their activites according to the rules for their country. Class A is the highest rank offered in the JKA.

To advance from one class to the next, the instructor must fulfill the certification requirements and successfully complete the formal testing procedure. Testing cannot take place until a minimum of three months after the candidate has attained the Dan and completed the other qualifications required for that class.

Testing for these various classes of qualification are carried out by authorized and certified Examiners specified by the Chief Instructor or by the Technical Committee. Overseas Examiners who have been given special Examiner’s authorization by JKA headquarters carry out their duties in their country based upon the authority given to them.

Generally, qualifications are renewed every three years, and require a training session before the renewal can be validated.

These details are summarized in the following charts:

Authorized Instructor Certification

Authorized Judge Certification

Authorized Examiner Certification