British Shintaido

The grading system

Shintaido has a grading system, from Beginner to Master. It uses the kyu grade (10-1 kyu) and dan grade (1-5 dan) system. However, it does not use coloured belts, but practitioners at dan-grade level commonly wear the traditional Japanese hakama or divided skirt.

Shintaido practitioners who have achieved those at 1 kyu are called Assistants; 1st dan grade are known as Graduates; above this they are known as Instructors. Separate gradings are available in bohjutsu and Shintaido karate. Thus many practitioners have three gradings.


Many people like to take exams to challenge a new level of technique and understanding, but there is no necessity to do so and others may practise for years without taking exams.

Examinations are held formally, and regulations dictate the time between exams. At least four years’ practice is required to achieve Instructor level.

Examinations up to 3 kyu (Koto-ka or advanced level) can be hosted by a local group. Examinations up to 1 kyu (Joshu or Assistant level) are hosted by British Shintaido. Above this , exams are run by ESC (European Shintaido College) or, for 3rd dan, (sei-shihan or Senior Instructor) and above, by the ISC (International Shintaido College).

Exam application form

Use this form to apply to take an exam at the next BS exam session. If your application is accepted you will receive payment instructions and other details by email.

    Your Name *

    Your Email *


    I am applying to take an exam in the following subject(s)

    Grade I wish to challenge in each subject selected

    Date of last exam and current level in each subject selected

    Shintaido exam levels

    Shintaido Karate & Bojutsu
    Master Instructor 5-dan
    General Instructor 4-dan
    Senior Instructor 3-dan
    Instructor 2-dan
    Graduate 1-dan
    Assistant 1 kyu
    2 kyu
    Advanced 3-4 kyu
    Intermediate 5-6 kyu
    Elementary 7-8 kyu
    Introductory 9-10 kyu

    Exam curriculum

    The Shintaido exam curriculum can be downloaded as PDF here:

    Where can I take these exams?

    • Up to 3 kyu, or Koto-ka (advanced level). These exams can be hosted by your local group.
    • Up to 1 kyu, or Joshu (assistant level). These exams need to be hosted by a suitable national organisation (eg: British Shintaido) affiliated to the ESC.
    • Shodan & Nidan, or jun-shidoin (graduate) and sei-shidoin (instructor) exams. These exams need to be taken at the annual ESC Forum event, which takes place in a different European Country each year.
    • Sandan, or sei-shihan (senior instructor) and above. These exams need to be taken at a Shintaido International event. These events take place every 4 years at different locations around the world.


    To take any exam, you need to be a member of the organisation hosting the exams, or of an equivalent organisation elsewhere. Thus you can visit a group to take exams if you are a member of either British Shintaido or another local Shintaido group. Similarly, members of other national Shintaido organisations may take exams at British Shintaido events.

    Further details of the ESC Exam Regulations for running exams can be downloaded.



    British Shintaido runs many events which are open to anybody to attend and suitable for those seeking an introduction to Shintaido.
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    British Shintaido

    British Shintaido

    British Shintaido is the organisation that supports and develops Shintaido practice in Britain. It runs regular workshops and residential events.
    Find out more >



    A collection of links to European and worldwide Shintaido organisations, along with other related sites, articles and information.
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