Black Belt School of Excellence
Established 1994

Kickboxing Belt Gradings

Home Page
Our Kickboxing System
Instructors - Okami Dojo
Champions - Wolf Gym
Black Belts - Okami Dojo
Kickboxing -
For Weight Loss & Fitness
Kickboxing -
Self Defence Applications
Belt Grading - Information
Competition - Amateur
- - - - - - - - - - - Professional
Our Black Belt
Advanced Training Program
Children -
Seperate Classes

View the Studio Facilities

History and Development
of Kickboxing

Gallery -
The Wolfpack Team In Action!

Location & Contact Information

Questions & Answers
Instructor Background Checks
Timetable - Classes / 1-2-1's

Free Trial - Register Here

Latest News - Wolf Gym
Next Event

Latest News - World-Wide

Neil Holden


Telephone / Text:

School Director:
Neil Holden

Trainer of Several National,
two European and two
World Amateur Champions.

Certified Muaythai
( Thai-Kickboxing )
by Grand Master Sken
( Thailand ).

Certified 6th Dan Black Belt
Japanese Kickboxing
( Shihan - Master Grade ).

Training in the Martial Arts
Over 30 years.

Professional Instructor
Over 20 Years.


Pict: a 'K-1' ( Japanese Kickboxing ) match. Delivering a "Hiza-Geri" Knee-Kick, the Kickboxer in the white shorts is a high ranking black belt..

Many years ago Jogaro Kano, a Japanese Instructor of Judo invented the system of using 'coloured belts' to show the level / rank of a student as they progressed during their martial arts training. This proved to be a very practical method of showing a students progress and was later adopted by many other Martial Art Acadamies and Martial Art Styles.

Belts were commonly worn by people of the various countries of Asia such as Thailand, China, Korea and Japan to keep the clothing jackets fastened together.

Using the colour of a belt to show rank was a practical idea that came about as should someone have a uniform and a belt that they wore during their Martial Arts training, over several years that belt would become darker and darker through wear and tear. Hence a beginner wearing a brand new uniform would wear a new 'White belt' and a senior student with many years
of experience would train while wearing an old 'Black belt'.

Today the coveted BLACK BELT is a world renown Martial Arts qualification in many different styles such as Judo, Karate, Ju-Jitsu, Taekwondo and Kickboxing.

A training goal to aim for, and a long time achievement to accomplish.

Note :

In Thailand most Thai-Kickboxing
( Muay-Thai ) camps do not have any form of grading system at all as Muaythai is taught specifically as a 'Combat-Sport' for professional fighters.

Those Academies in Thailand that do actually have a grading system generally do so because they also teach traditional Muay-Boran techniques as a 'Martial arts' system for self-defence.

Depending on the individual Academy that teaches Muay-Boran, a Grade ( rank ) maybe shown via

coloured Head-Bands ( Monkol )
coloured Arm-Bands ( Prajeet )
coloured Belt-Sash ( Paa Kamaa ),

as seen on this photo.


Pict: 'Muay-Boran' is the collective name for the traditional martial art systems of Thailand, that lead to the development of the combat sport known worldwide as
Thai-Kickboxing ( Muaythai )

Notice, that both 'Muay-Boran' stylists are wearing the Headbands, Armbands and Belt-Sash.


Warrington Kickboxing continues with the tradition of wearing a Belt-Sash as part of its Kickboxing uniform and uses coloured belts to show a students rank as they progress through the Wolf Gym's grading syllabus.

The Wolf-Gym conducts six grading examinations for adults each year on a bi-monthly basis.

These 'Pressure-Tests' are held at the last Saturday of February, April, June, August, October and December - but only for those that are eligable to grade.

During these exams students demonstrate their Techique skills, Sparring skills, fitness, and knowledge to a pre-set level according to rank. This then gets increasingly harder as the grades are progressed through.


Pict: Grand-Master Sken, Neil Holden's Muaythai and Muay-Boran teacher,
wearing the traditional Muay-Boran uniform which consists of Headband ( Monkol ), Armbands ( Prajeet ) and Belt-Sash ( Paa Kamaa).

Regular Pressure-Testing ( Grading exams ), help to vastly improve a students skills, knowledge and confidence as well as highlighting any areas requiring specific improvement.

Most members upon starting at Warrington Kickboxing, never intend to Grade, or to compete. Only to find that having a training goal, such as the Wolf-Gym's Black belt programme helps them progress much quicker than they would do otherwise.


Pict: Grand-Master Sken, Neil Holden's Muaythai and Muay-Boran teacher,
wearing the traditional Muay-Boran uniform which consists of Headband ( Monkol ), Armbands ( Prajeet ) and Belt-Sash ( Paa Kamaa).

All the Students that do successfully Grade at Warrington Kickboxing Studio receive a Certificate and a Coloured Belt,
to show their rank and level of personal achievement.

Pict: Nick Griffiths, ( Black Belt )

2011 --I.K.F. --British
Amateur Welterweight Champion
K-1 rules.

2013--I.K.F. --Commonwealth
Amateur Welterweight Champion
K-1 rules.


The grading syllabus at the Wolf Gym is a very structured training program. This guarantees that a Student, over their training career, will learn all aspects of
Kickboxing as both a Martial Art system for Self-Defence and as a Combat Sport for Competition.

The Wolf-Gym's syllabus covers Japanese Kickboxing ( K-1 Rules ), Thai-Kickboxing ( Muaythai Rules ) and Cage-Kickboxing ( M.M.A. Striking ).

Across all the martial arts systems, no matter the style studied, the students that take regular pressure-tests / grading assesments are always much more skilled than those who do not!

Grade Ranking Colour System : White to Black.

In many Martial Art Academies, a RED BAND is the Insignia used to denote the rank of INSTRUCTOR.

This system is also used by the Wolf Gym, you will see this Instructor Insignia, (
RED BAND ), worn across one end of the Black Belt of the trainers.

The system then follows that...

A Level One Instructor, has one Red Band on their belt.

A Level Two Instructor has two Red Bands on their Belt.

A Level Three Instructor has three Red Bands on their belt, etc...

To better understand the belt ranking system, please refer to the following charts.


Juniors aged 6 to 11 are promoted through grades via an awards system. However when they progress from the Junior-School-Classes, ( ages 6 to 11 ), and move into the High-School-Classes, ( ages 11 to 16 ), they need to complete the Adult syllabus for complete certification.

Youths aged 11 onwards, but under the age of 18, cannot test for an Adult Black belt, due to the Sparring requirements of that test.

Youths in the Teenager classes may test for a 'Cadet' Black Belt, with modifications to the Sparring, and then at the age of 18 they may complete the Adult Sparring test to receive their Black Belt Level 1 ( 1st Dan ) as an Adult.

Wolf-Gym / Warrington Kickboxing does not promote children as if they were Adult level Black Belts. Any Martial Arts Academy that does this, especially with young children, cannot have a reputable syllabus and should be avoided.

A Small fee is charged when Students Pressure-Test for their Belt Grade, with the exception of the Black Belt grade - which is £Free.

No Instructor benefits financially from the Gradings, as any money raised is ring-fenced and spent specifically on the Academies facilities. This ensures that the Academy has the highest standard of equipment for its members.

Some Martial Arts Centres quickly grade students to Black Belt simply, for the financial gain - charging upwards of £ 300.00 per Black belt exam.

This is not true of Warrington Kickboxing Studio, as we do not, and have never charged a fee for the Black belt exam.

A member of Warrington Kickboxing Studio will only be invited to take their Black Belt test once they are ready, and not for financial gain. These practises ensure the intergrity of the Acadamy, the integrity of the Grading Syllabus and the standard of the Black Belts that are certified.




A senior student of any Martial Arts style can achieve through examination a Black belt. However at the Warrington Kickboxing Studio, as indeed it should be with other Martial Arts Centres, this alone does not automatically qualify someone to teach!

Our belief is that an Instructor does not learn the required teaching skills purely through academic exams, but also through experience via time served apprecticeship.

Many of the worlds leading craftsmen learned their skills through working apprenticeship rather than only in the class room. When a person passes a driving test, they cannot then suddenly become a driving Instructor - and so it should be the same with the Martial Arts.

A 1st Dan Black Belt member at Warrington Kickboxing Studio wishing to become an Instructor, must pass a probation period succesfully as an Apprentice Instructor, attached to a Senior Instructor ( Level 5 / 5th Dan ) or Higher.

During this time they may help to teach classes, whilst under strict guidance and supervision of a Senior Instructor. Should they show adequate teaching skills over a course of two years then they will be promoted to Instructor Level 2, ( 2nd Dan ).

A Level 1 Instructor is an Assistant Instructor. A Level 2 Instructor is a Fully qualified Instructor, who can now teach classes independently.

With 3 years training to be promoted to 1st Dan Black Belt, and a further 2 years training as an Assistant Instructor it takes approximately 5 years to become a fully qualified Kickboxing Instructor from any reputable Academy.

It is extremely uncommon to find Instructors of such high ranks as those of 8th or 9th or 10th dan in any martial arts system as many are either no longer involved in the Martial arts or they have unfortunately passed away. The youngest an 8th Dan can be is 53. The youngest a 9th Dan can be is 62. The youngest a 10th Dan can be is 72.

People claiming the ranks of 8th, 9th, 10th Dan are generally referred to as being Grand Masters or Professors in their Martial science such is their knowledge and experience.

All of our Instructors are registered with the Amateur Kickboxing Association of England / International Kickboxing Federation. Please check the following link.

Click here - Kickboxing Instructor Black Belt Ranks