As an indication of how a student is becoming increasingly competent in Karate they attend regular examinations, called 'gradings'. Each has a syllabus which is unique to it, which gets more technical and endurance heavy as the student progresses.

The basic grades are called kyu grades, which range from 10th kyu, or white belt (for a beginner), advancing to the intermediate level of 1st kyu, which is denoted by a brown and white belt. Note: the beginner does not sit a grading for the 10th kyu and the white belt always comes with a new karate suit (gi).

The next level up from 1st kyu is Black Belt or Shodan (1st Dan). This signifies that the student has learned all the fundamentals of Karate and is now practicing them with much more effectiveness and diligence. Training does not stop when you reach 1st Dan though as this is only the first of many Dan grades.