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.

Kyu and Dan Grading Prerequisites.JPG

10th Kyu

【Kihon】In place basics in HACHIJI DACHI

  1. Chuudan Chokuzuki

  2. Joudan Ageuke

  3. Chuudan Sotouke

  4. 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. Kokutsu Shutou Uke

  5. Maegeri (Heisoku 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)

【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 Heisoku Dachi, right and left alternating)

  8. Yokogeri Kekomi (in Heisoku Dachi, right and left alternating)

【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. Sanbon Renzuki (step in)

  3. Joudan Ageuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  4. Chuudan Sotouke, Gyaku Zuki (step in)

  5. Chuudan Uchiuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

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

  7. Maegeri (Gedan Kakiwake, stepping in)

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

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

【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. Sanbon Renzuki (step in)

  3. Joudan Ageuke, Gyaku Zuki (step in)

  4. Chuudan Sotouke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  5. Chuudan Uchiuke, Gyaku Zuki (in Koukutsu Dachi, step in)

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

  7. Maegeri (Gedan Kakiwake, stepping in)

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

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

【Kata】 Heian Godan

【Kumite】 Jiyuu Ippon Kumite

 

  1. Joudan Junzuki - right and left

  2. Chuudan Junzuki - right and left

  3. Chuudan Maegiri - right and left

2nd Kyu

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Joudan Junzuki, Chuudan Gyakuzuki (step in)

  2. Joudan Ageuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

  3. Chuudan Sotouke, Gyakuzuki (step in)

  4. Chuudan Uchiuke, Gyakuzuki (step back)

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

  6. Maegeri (Gedan Kakiwake, stepping in)

  7. Mawashigeri (step in)

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

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

【Kata】 Tekki Shodan

【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 Kyu

【Kihon】Ido Kihon Moving Basics

  1. Joudan Junzuki, Chuudan Gyakuzuki (step in)

  2. Joudan Ageuke, Gyakuzuki (step back)

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

  4. Chuudan Uchiuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

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

  6. Maegeri (on the spot), Maegeri (step in)

  7. Mawashigeri (step in)

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

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

【Kata】 Bassai Dai

【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. Sanbon Renzuki (step in)

  2. Joudan Ageuke, Gyaku Zuki (step back)

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

  4. Chuudan Uchiuke, Kizami Zuki, Gyaku Zuki (Koukutsu Dachi to Zenkutsu Dachi, step back)

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

  6. Maegeri (on the spot), Maegeri (step 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 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. Joudan Junzuki, Chuudan Gyakuzuki (step in)

  3. Sanbon Renzuki (step in)

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

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

  6. Koukutsu Shutouke, Zenkutsu Nukite (stepping back)

  7. Maegeri (on the spot), Maegeri (step in)

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

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

  10. Mawashigeri, Yoko Uraken Uchi, Chuudan Gyakuzuki (step in)

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

【Kumite】 Jiyu Kumite

3rd Dan

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics in free kamae

  1. Kizami Zuki, Joudan Junzuki, Chuudan Gyakuzuki (step in)

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

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

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

  5. Maegeri, Gyaku Zuki, Yokogeri Kekomi, Gyakuzuki, Mawashigeri, Gyakuzuki (step in)

  6. Ushirogeri (step in)

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

【Kata】 Student's favourite Kata (tokui kata) - Question and Answer Session

【Kumite】 Jiyu Kumite

4th Dan

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics in free kamae

  1. Kizamizuki, Sanbon Renzuki (step in)

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

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

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

  5. Maegeri, Junzuki Gyakuzuki (step in)

  6. Kizami Mawashigeri, Yokogeri Kekomi, Gyakuzuki (step in)

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

【Kata】Student's favourite Kata (tokui kata) - Question and Answer Session

【Kumite】 Jiyu Kumite

5th Dan

【Kihon】Idou Kihon Moving Basics in freee kamae

  1. Kizamizuki, Sanbon Renzuki (step in)

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

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

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

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

  6. Yokogeri Kekomi, Gyakuzuki (step in)

  7. Mawashigeri, Gyakuzuki (step in)

  8. Maegeri, Yokogeri Kekomi, Mawashigeri, Gyakuzuki (step in)

【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】

  1. from HEIAN SHODAN to TEKKI SANDAN BASSAIDAI, KANKUUDAI, ENPI, or JION specified by examiner (Question and Answer Session)

  2. Student’s favorite KATA (Question and Answer Session)

【Kumite】 Jiyu Kumite

  1. Question and answer session on technique

  2. Submit a report on technique on the same day (Submitted one week in advance)

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

(Note)<from 2nd Dan to 7th Dan>
General KUMITE for men / women the age of 60 and above are required JIYUU KUMITE or JIYUU IPPON KUMITE (JODAN JUNZUKI, CHUDAN JUNZUKI, CHUDAN MAEGERI, CHUDAN YOKOGERI KEKOMI, MAWASHIGERI) right
※Inform JOUDAN or CHUDAN as for MAWASHIGERI

NOTE: Effective from 1st April, 2022 

To progress to the next Kyu or Dan, JKA students must demonstrate exceptional skill and near flawless execution of a prescribed set of techniques and kata. Our specially-trained instructors and examiners carefully study and evaluate each student based on the criteria shown by clicking on any rank on the chart above.

How to convert Dan taken from other Karate organization

General Condition

1. Join Japan Karate Association or an organization under the JKA WF
2. Provide the certificate issued by your former organization
(Dan grade and the date of promotion should be displayed on that)
3. Your years of experience will be counted from the date of your last Dan examination in the former organization in the case of your testing for a higher JKA Dan than you currently have.
4. The examination date of JKA Dan should be the acquisition date of your JKA Dan.ex.) If you pass JKA 5th Dan exam on April 1, 2020 with 5th Dan from another organization, your acquisition date of 5th Dan is April 1, 2020.
5. When you take the test for the next Dan, the training years will be counted from the acquisition date of JKA Dan.ex.) If you pass JKA 5th Dan exam on April 1, 2020, your exam of 6th Dan should be after 6 years from April 1, 2020.

Outside of Japan

1. You have to take exam for whichever Dan you apply. At the exam, submit a copy of the Dan certificate issued by your former organization.
2. Up to 3rd Dan can be tested by the Special Dan right holder in each country. 4th and 5th Dans are tested by HQ instructors in each region. 6th Dan and above are tested for only at HQ.
The registration fee of the converted Dan is required. Addtionally, the conversion fee of all preveious Dan is also required.

Conversion Process

1. Join an organization under the JKA WF
2. Prepare a copy of the Dan certificate issued by your former organization.
3. Take the JKA Dan examination (Based on the JKA examination rules and regulations)
*You can take the exam for higher Dan than you have.
*You may not take the exam for a dan for which you do not have the required experience.
4. Examiner gives the JKA Dan which matches your ability
*There is possibility of being given lower level of Dan than you held in your former organization.
5. Register JKA Dan
*The registration fee of the Dan you converted and conversion fee up to the acquired Dan will be required.
ex.) If you have passed and held the 4th Dan of another organization for more than 4 years, you can take JKA 5th Dan exam. In case you pass 5th Dan, you have to pay registration fee for 5th Dan and conversion fee of 1, 2, 3, 4 Dan. In case you get 3rd Dan, you have to pay registration fee for 3rd Dan and conversion fee of 1st and 2nd Dan.

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

Instructors Class D.jpg
Instructors Class C.jpg
Instructors Class B.jpg
Instructors Class A.jpg

Authorized Judge Certification

Judge Class D.jpg
Judge Class C.jpg
Judge Class B.jpg
Judge Class A.jpg
Judge Class International.jpg

Authorized Examiner Certification

Examiner Class D.jpg
Examiner Class C.jpg
Examiner Class B.jpg
Examiner Class A.jpg