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gazrichards's picture
Grading for 5th Dan


This is my first post. You seem like a fairly knowledgeable bunch (Ive been a silent observer for a while) and I was looking for some advice or just some answers.

Firstly.......What did/do you have to do as your 5th Dan sylabus (obviously only for those that have done it-and shotokan specifically)

The reason I ask is that I am due for my 5th dan (been yondan for 5 years) but a year ago I parted ways with my instructor of many years and left his association and took my clubs and students with me (also 3 other instructors came with me and may other black belts-about half the association in all-a quite obvious sign that many people were unhappy with some goings on).

All the local-ish senior grades to me will not let me train with them and will certainly not grade me unless I join there association and register all my students with them (thus giving them a large windfall of membership subs!)

Every "NGB" I speak to (feko, nakmas etc) will happily accept my clubs and me and will grade me-for a price. and the grading is either done by a commitee panel (of guys that will never have seen me in a gi!) or can not tell me what the price or syllabus will be.

Since me and my friends left our former instructor we have gone from strength to strvength, my motivation for karate has flourished, my students are working harder than ever and the numbers in our classes has grown. We are fully insured, first aid trained etc and confident we are doing things the right way. I am regularly training with anyone I wish (something we were not allowed to do before) but they all hold lower grades than me (other 4th, 3rd and 2nd dans) and therefore cannot grade me.

I did physical gradings for all my grades, even 4th dan (when I know for a fact my instructor did not do a 4th dan grading-it was awarded by a panel) and am happy to do another for 5th (I am in my early 30s so more than capable) but I can not seem to find anyone that will grade me without some sort of condition attached (usually involving my students)

Apologies for the long post and thanks in advance for your advice.

Paul Anderson
Paul Anderson's picture


Where are you from?



gazrichards's picture

If you geographically, I am near milton keynes (bedfordshire/buckinghamshire borders)

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Hi Gaz,

That situation is pretty common and I maybe able to point you in the right direction there. There are groups that accept individual memberships (i.e. no need to join up all your students too) and that can arrange gradings with wide recognition to demanding and appropriate syllabuses. I’ll send you a private message as talking through the details here would amount to a private discussion and hence be against forum rules.

All the best,