Vocational Black Belt Gradings

There are many reasons people turn to the BMABA for vocational black belt gradings.

Politics, geographical location or the lack of a senior graded instructor are just three popular motivations towards this modern method of grading.

We were the first martial arts Association in the UK to offer this professional service and our black belt certification is recognised by many insurers, organisations and individuals around the world. Since beginning this service in 2012 many other organisations have attempted to replicate the service however we continue to set some of the highest standards anywhere in the industry.

Our vocational grades aren’t just a rubber stamp and a quick fee – they are specifically designed to offer a genuinely challenging alternative to traditional gradings. In some cases vocational (video) gradings can be more difficult that traditional gradings as our panel of experts are able to assess and then re-assess aspects of our grading via video – something that simply isn’t possible in traditional gradings.

Our vocational video gradings are a modern answer to some very old issues and has empowered senior martial artists from across the country the opportunity to progress to the realm of teaching or dan grades with a fair, tough and meaningful grading.

Please don’t rush into a vocational grading – our standards are some of the toughest in the industry and we really want you to be sure it’s the absolute right choice for you before committing.



BMABA Vocational Gradings Cost Just £100 All-In And
Include Free Unlimited Resits And One Year’s
Free Full BMABA Membership On Completion  




Why Sit A BMABA Vocational Grading
Instead Of A Traditional Grading?

There are many reasons somebody might choose to sit a BMABA vocational grading instead of a more traditional martial arts black belt grading.

Most commonly, we receive requests for a vocational grading because of geographical restrictions, politics within current (or old) associations, a lack of opportunity to grade at a current club or the inability to find a local club practising the same specific style as previous learnt.

With a BMABA vocational grading you can be sure of one thing – the achievement of an awarded grade. We do not issue certification in exchange for payment and guarantee nobody a successful grading. For this reason, the strict standards we expect from applicants means any grades issued by our committee are considered as a highly respectable martial arts grade qualification.

We can offer gradings in a number of different traditional and oriental disciplines and as you might expect from a vocational grading through our respected association, beautiful certification and a worthwhile grade await you.


It’s important to remember that our vocational gradings are NOT a shortcut to obtaining a dan grade without the necessary training or competencies. Our gradings are fully assessed on strict standards that are often above that of a more traditional grading, as we are able to assess your martial arts background in advance and critique your grading and techniques multiple times, even in slow motion – something that can’t be done on the day. Please do not request a vocational grading unless you’re being honest about your level of experience.


Looking For A Route
Into Teaching?

Whether you’re looking to progress to 3rd and 4th dan or obtain your first official grade as a 1st Dan and open your own club, BMABA vocational grades offer a strict and professional structured opportunity to gain internationally recognised and checkable certification worth the paper it’s printed on.

Every grading includes unlimited free re-sits at future intervals so you can keep working on your technique and have the continued opportunity to regrade when you’re up to speed.

Once successful, you can enjoy one year’s BMABA membership as part of the price so you can look forwards to progressing your professional teaching capacity with a range of professional services like DBS checks, instructor insurance, instructor’s licenses, a free club website and so much more.

As Seen In Martial Arts Illustrated


How Does A Vocational
Martial Arts Grading Work

Our association was the first to offer a professional vocational dan grading and accordingly, we’ve worked out what we believe to be the best way to manage the process from start to finish. That means you can relax in the safe hands of an association that has forged a steadfast reputation for being of an exclusive quality through and through.

Here’s how one of our gradings works…

Register An Interest And Start A Dialogue With Us

The first thing you’ll want to do is start a dialogue with our office, using the interest form at the bottom of this page, or by contacting our office. We know you’ll probably have lots of questions and feel the best way to be sure a vocational grading is the right choice for you is to discuss it – via e-mail or by phone – and see if it’s right for you.

Decide On A Syllabus

If you think it’s the right way to go and we feel it’s a good fit the next step will be to decide upon a grading syllabus. This needs to be something you feel is reflective of your level of competency but also something we feel is accepting of the award in question (be that first dan, second dan and so on). We have some widely available syllabuses we can discuss, alongside some other accepted syllabuses for more traditional styles. If we can’t find a fitting syllabus we will offer you the opportunity to present one to your disposal, but it will need to be checked for competency first.

Get Started In Your Own Time 

If we find a syllabus that’s right for you and us we will invite you to get started on your vocational grading. Payment still isn’t due until submission, so you can take your time and get started filming. There are some conditions to the way in which a vocational grading must be filmed, but the quality required means often a smartphone is sufficient.


Make Payment & Submit For Review

When you’re ready to submit your grading we will require payment of £100 (or the applicable rate as discussed). You may then upload your video directly to our server or share a private (or indeed public) link from any number of video sharing sites, such as Youtube or Vimeo. You can also send it to us via post or link to it from your Dropbox or Google Drive – whatever works for you.

At this point it will go to our assessing panel and committee for review.


Verdict & Feedback 

Within approximately 1-3 working weeks (3-14 working days) we will have a verdict for you. If it’s not a pass we will offer all of the required feedback to help you get it right next time and invite you to re-submit after a further 3 months without charge. Provided you’re not of a severely poor standard and haven’t misled our panel there’s no charge for re-sitting as many times as may be reasonably required to pass.

If you’re successful with your grading we will issue you with our coveted BMABA dan grade certification and you’ll be able to claim one year’s BMABA membership completely free of charge so you can get started with your professional eligibility to start teaching.


How Is My Grading Reviewed & Assessed?


It’s first of all assessed by our in-house experts. These may or may not be style specific experts who will review your submission for technical accuracy and syllabus based evidence. Their result – pass or fail – is recorded privately and the grading is then passed onto our committee.


After our in-house team has assessed the video and issued a pass or fail it’s then handed to our committee. They won’t be told whether or not it passed or failed in the previous step. The committee will then perform an individual & collective review of the entire grading and issue a collective vote of pass or fail, based on a majority voting system.


After both our in-house team and committee have reviewed the submission, where possible, it’s then passed onto a style specific assessor. This could be any nominated member whom is at least two dans above the gradee in question. They will review it for style specific technicalities and issue a pass or fail.

The three votes from our in-house team, the committee and (where available) the style specific expert are then combined.

All three must vote in favour of a pass for the grading to be successful. As you can no doubt tell, this creates a rigorous and tough grading process that ensures an exclusive quality to all BMABA black belts.

Included as standard as part of the £100 vocational grading fee;

  • No commitment or obligation to continue. Payment is only required when you’re ready to submit your grading.
  • Unlimited free, confidential, expert support from our team.
  • A year’s full BMABA membership upon successful completion of your grade.
  • Printed and digital grading certification, as well as digital records.

Ready To Take The Next Step?

Start a dialogue with our team today, and we can discuss if it’s the right option for you. No pressure, and no obligation.

Get Started