BT NATIONAL DAN GRADING – Improved marking criteria

As we approach BT’s first National Black Belt grading for a long while, our Martial Arts Department are pleased to announce the new Dan grade syllabus assessment criteria.

We have gone to great lengths to include and listen to senior British Taekwondo test examiners and instructors, to better incorporate current best practices, while also moving to a more open and transparent assessment & marking process that removes as much subjectivity as possible from promotion tests, and shift to a more objectivity based process.

For the first time we are publishing this assessment marking criteria, and will be using this at the first National grading this December.

The Martial Arts department will also host technical seminars and examiner education events throughout 2022. More details on this to follow.

We have developed some helpful information and infographics below, to demonstrate how an assessment is conducted during a promotion test, and give confidence to candidates and instructors alike that assessments are extremely fair, thorough and earned on merit alone.

We have published the Dan promotion syllabus for each grade up to 5th Dan within the National Dan Grading application pack. You can download this here

National Dan grading Dec 2021 – final

There is a clear list of the things that candidates will be tested on and importantly, the assessment criteria (ie: what it is that the grading panel is looking for and marking candidates on)

As a part of the process, we have Identified the following common five things that examiners are looking for in a candidate.

  • Meeting the test requirement
  • Technique
  • Accuracy
  • Fluency of Movement
  • Posture and Breathing

These are measured in each of the following testing requirements.

  • Poomsae
  • Self Defence
  • Knife and Baton Defence (4/5th Dan/Poome test)
  • Step Sparring
  • Sparring 1-1 Kicking
  • Free Sparring
  • Destruction


In Diagram 1 we show the flow of testing criteria and how it builds into the testing decisions from the examiners.  In this you can see how the criteria are filtered into the main 5 testing decisions.

In Diagram 2 you can see how the examiner is looking at the candidate and making a decision on whether they have seen enough evidence of the testing criteria to pass or fail that section, and as with Kukkiwon testing, a mark of over 60 percent is required to pass a section.

This is repeated for all examiners at the same time and collated into an overall score. The average is taken across all the examiners and the final mark is determined. If the candidate is over the 60% mark – then they are promoted!

We have taken this approach to also enable much better transparency and to provide clear feedback to the candidates to help improve their Taekwondo.

This robust methodology will be explained further at the Technical seminar taking place on 14th November in Manchester and with a follow up zoom workshop led by our Martial Art department ahead of the National Dan grading in December.

Look out for more details of this exciting development.

In the meantime, if any instructors have any questions, feel free to drop an email to