Black Belt Grading Results

Senior Dan Grading Requirements 2023-2024


*Changes for the 2024 grading in red

On-Line Applications MUST BE STARTED 6 months prior to the grading. This is so we can do an initial check our your credit points and certifications to avoid disappointment closer to the grading date. Please enter all the information you have 6 months prior to the grading.

Senior dan gradings can now include those grading for 7th and 8th degree black belt. Those testing for Master will follow the requirements set down by the ITF. They are not required to do the 6 months of fitness tests.

Please also read the ITF By-laws for ITF waiting time, IIC requirements and ITF teaching license requirements

Maintaining the highest of standards is our top priority, and all candidates must be up to the required standard in all areas.

It is important to take such a senior grading very seriously, and be prepared to dedicate at least 6 months towards achieving your potential. All senior dans should be good role models to our other members in terms of dedication to training, physical condition, technical knowledge, technical competency and moral culture.

We have placed a large emphasis on the build up to this grading. The idea is that all the hard work is to be done before the day – proving you have the dedication and will-power to achieve the goal of a senior dan in our organisation. With the help of your “Supervisor” you will have some direction in the 6 months ahead, and you will be able to improve your overall standard.


All candidates must come under the guidance of a Supervisor leading up to the grading. We will be asking to see a brief monthly assessment from your Supervisor providing results and comments on your technical ability.

From 2023, the supervisor role is extended to include 1) ongoing feedback to the candidate of their progression in terms of (a) fitness, (b) technical competency (including technical & syllabus knowledge) and (c) performance,  and 2) give an unbiased recommendation to the candidate on whether they are ready to grade or not at least 1 month prior to the grading date.  The supervisor would therefore need to be senior in rank to the candidate to be qualified to give such recommendation.

Your Supervisor should be someone senior in rank to you. Once you have decided who you would like as your Supervisor, please carry out the following procedure:

  • Invite the person of your choice to be your Supervisor, explaining that it will require a monthly assessment as well as their technical advice and guidance. They may or may not require payment for their time, that is up to them, but please offer.

  • Once you have someone agreeing to be your Supervisor send us their name for our approval.

  • Once confirmed as suitable, you can begin your training with your Supervisor.

    Ask your supervisor to create an account at http://seniordan.memberme.co.nz/ and begin recording your monthly assessments.

Monthly Assessment

All candidates must complete a monthly assessment with your Supervisor. We are interested in your work and progress over the 6 month time period. We recommend the assessment be carried out around the first week of each month, beginning 6 months prior.

Below are the tests required and information that your Supervisor will need to provide. Assessment results must be uploaded by the supervisor by the 3rd of each month.

Mr Craig Hannah has built an on-line system for entering the monthly fitness scores and technical comments, so Supervisors need to create an account to enter the test results. Any technical issues relating to the recording of the results should be directed to Mr Hannah.
Note with Mr Hannah's system:
  • Students can see their own tests if they are signed in.
  • Supervisors can see the tests they have supervised for students, if they are signed in.



Monthly Assessment

Technical Assessment

Your Supervisor is required to give a brief update on your technical ability. This may be achieved by watching you perform patterns or other physical aspect of the syllabus, and providing you with feedback. The purpose of this is mainly for your benefit, and also so that we have an idea of how your technical level is progressing.

Fitness Assessment

  • Core Strength Test
    Record how long you can stay in the Front to Side Plank Position

    Aim is to hold the plank as long as you can, alternating between the front plank (2 minutes) followed immediately by side planks (30 seconds on each side). Repeat and continue for as long as you can and record in minutes / seconds. NB If you can't hold a 2 minute plank to begin with, start with one minute followed by 20 seconds each side.

  • Strength-Endurance Test*
    Record how many of each exercise you can correctly complete with good form without pausing for longer than one second. No time limit, ie to failure. There is a one minute rest between exercises. Complete the exercises in the following order each month.

Exercise 1: Hand Release Press-ups
Keep the knees and hips off the floor at all times.
Record the number of fully completed press-ups without pausing for longer than one second.

Exercise 2: Squat Kicks
Make sure the hips are lower than the knees on each squat. Stand up completely upright and perform a front snap kick (alternate feet with each squat) at the top of each squat.
Record the number of fully completed Squat kicks without pausing for longer than one second.

Exercise 3: Chin-ups
Perform with the hands facing you at one shoulder width apart.
Record the number of fully completed chin-ups without pausing for longer than one second.

Exercise 4: Pad work.
Perform pad work delivering full power kicks for as long as you can maintain full power. The kicks you use is up to you, as long as it is consistent each month.
Record the number of minutes / sec completed at full power, without pausing for longer that 1 second.

*The Strength Endurance Test is optional for candidates over 60 years of age.
*There are scaling options for anyone who can not complete the exercises prescribed. Please check with Grand Master McPhail for details in these cases. For example: See band assisted Chin-up option and training advice » Or consider the Ring Row or inverted Row if you are unable to do Chin-Ups. For press ups of the hand release method causes strain on the shoulders then revert to the normal press up technique.

In consultation with the supervisor, a candidate may replace a specific exercise as per the listed requirements if he/she is unable to perform the exercise due to a preexisting condition/injury or limitation. This must be approved prior to the first assessment. The supervisor will need to contact Mr. Hannah to make the necessary change so it can be recorded.


The results of your monthly assessment plays an important part of your grading result. If due to injury or medical condition you are unable to complete some of the tests, please provide a medical certificate or adequate information about your condition.


Candidates testing for 4th dan are required to produce a thesis as per our requirements. Those testing for 5th and 6th dan must write an essay on the following topic:

  • Topic for 2023-24: How do you see our organisation currently, and are we moving in the right direction?

Length for the essay is at least 1000 words. This can be submitted at any time up to one month before the grading.


Those wishing to test for 4th dan and above must have a character reference from two key people within your own region, e.g Regional Director or senior Instructor. The reference must be in support of your application to grade. This reference must be supplied at the time you begin your grading application and should be completed by the referee using this form. It is up to the candidate to request the reference completed at least 6 months prior to the grading.

Syllabus Notes

Please see the Dan Handbook for the current syllabus. Other points to note:

  • Those testing for 5th and 6th dan are required to do the same breaking as those testing for 4th dan (as per handbook).

  • Self Defence for those testing to 4th dan is per the handbook: Multiple attackers, non-pre-arranged.
    Although the handbook says pre-arranged partners are allowed, but we will be just using each other for this, so no special partners will be allowed. Self Defence for 5th and 6th dan will be the same - multiple attackers, no weapons and no pre-arranged partners.

  • No specific partners are required for this grading. All sparring and self defence will be carried out with the other grading candidates.

  • There will be an exam at the grading based on the theory syllabus in the handbooks, plus some general knowledge Taekwon-Do questions. You should be familiar with the structure and personnel of our organisation in New Zealand and the ITF.

  • Candidates will need to bring a laptop, tablet or smart phone to the grading. See here for more information. There is Wifi available but suggest you have your own data as back up.

  • Oral Exam
    Candidates testing for 4th dan and above will be required to speak on their essay or thesis and answer questions from the other candidates and the examiners. All candidates are also required to answer technical questions, testing their knowledge of information contained in the Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do.

Other Requirements

Please check the handbook to make sure you comply with requirements such as time period, umpiring, IIC attendance, ITF Teaching Licence and credits. e.g. Being a qualified umpire means you must have attended an umpires course within the last 3 years - check you are on the list. If you are an instructor, have all your certifications up to date (First Aid, Instructors Update Course or IIC within your waiting period).

The ITF database will not accept applications if the time period and IIC requirements are not met, so please don't ask to grade if you have not met these requirements.


The On-Line application must be started 6 months prior to the grading and must be fully completed (including thesis, references etc) one month prior with the fee paid in full. To start your application. Sign In to the website then click on Black Belt Grading Applications. Then click the grading date. This will automatically save your application for that grading.

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