Different coloured belts are used to indicate level of expertise. A white or coloured belt is called a "Kyu" grade, of which there are nine. A black belt is called a "Dan" grade. It takes a minimum of three months training between each Kyu grade and a minimum of six months between 1st Kyu and 1st Dan. It is possible to become a black belt within 3 years. You will be encouraged to reach your potential but are free to take gradings at your own pace.
The examination is made up of three parts: Kihon, Kata and Kumite. A display of the basic techniques taught in class, followed by the Kata appropriate to the student's level of skill, and finally a sparring exercise which again depends on the student's level of skill. All three parts become more complex as the grading gets higher.
The grades and coloured belts are as follows:
Beginner: White belt
9th Kyu: Orange belt
8th Kyu: Red belt
7th Kyu: Yellow belt
6th Kyu: Green belt
5th Kyu: Purple belt
4th Kyu: Purple belt with white stripe
3rd Kyu: Brown belt
2nd Kyu: Brown belt with white stripe
1st Kyu: Brown belt with two white stripes
All Dan Grades: Black belt