Gradings engender an effluence of emotions and gratitude. It is during a grading at KB Fitness that the spiritual KB connection is most palpable. Aside from the final calls of each grading level, a traditional silence encapsulates the emotion brewing within. The only outlet for all that is being experienced, is the ki-ai.

The students can often roar from a newfound depth, exposing how deeply they are digging to excel. So few words, yet such a heightened sensory, unifying experience. No wonder the gushing commences once officialdom and traditionalism depart, enabling all that needs to surface to erupt.

It is said that belts within the martial arts were originally in existence to hold up clothing. 

That it was only in the 1880s, that a grading system was introduced by a Japanese martial artist, Dr Jigoro Kano. 


Not until the 1930s / 1940s, were colours introduced, in Europe. Contrarily, some martial art schools prefer to cite the suspected myth that in the past, you could only become a Black Belt once your White Belt was sufficiently soiled and darkened from years of dedicated training. To this day, some schools advise against washing the belt to uphold this aspect of perceived history.  

Ryan, who achieved black belt standard through his Kickboxing classes in London at the last grading expresses it all very well:

“Thank you for setting this goal and thank you for getting me there. It was so amazing, and I’m so pleased and proud of how much we all achieved. That grading was such an intense emotional experience followed up such an amazing high – I don’t think it can be compared to anything else in life, thank you for making it possible it’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. I love training in our Kickboxing classes in London”

Much like many people strive to progress within their career, true martial artists endeavour to advance from one coloured belt to the next. At KB Fitness, the students are allowed to decide whether they prefer to grade in KB Kickboxing or not – in many schools it is compulsory. 

Kelly KB, our Chief Instructor, expresses her feelings about grading her students for over 23 years:

“As humans, we can be quite predictable. For example, if ever the fact that I am a Black Belt has come up, the first thing somebody says, is, “Oh, I better not mess with you.” Grading isn’t purely about becoming a force to be reckoned with though. Actually, the further we progress, the less confrontational and more humble we become. The grading process instils an unrivalled inner confidence and calm.

If nobody chose to grade, I wouldn’t be teaching martial arts in London. For me, witnessing my students’ progression and sharing the grading highs with whichever generation of students is present on any given grading day, is an integral source of my enjoyment. Ever since I started running my own classes in Borehamwood in 1998, I have graded my students, believing wholeheartedly in this measured, rewarding process.”

Are you keen to experience the high and start your martial arts journey with us? If so… 




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