Frequently asked questions

ATMA Students…Frequently Asked Questions

 We hope that the following answers many of the questions regularly asked by our students. If not, please ask your instructor, or ask by way of an email, text or phone call. We are always happy to help.

Do I need to get a suit and membership straight away?

No. In order to avoid investing in suits and memberships and then deciding that you don’t want to continue, we suggest that you give yourself 4 weeks to just train and see if Tang Soo Do is for you. Then, if you decide you’d like to commit, please get a Membership Form from the Student Resources section of the website. Complete it and hand it to your instructor. The current Annual Membership is £25. Suits are £20 for children and £25 for adults. The suits can have a green or red trim at the appropriate grading level and these can be added at a cost of £5.

How does the Grading System work?

We have a three monthly grading system.  The gradings run on a regional level-one north and one south, set to a fixed 3 monthly pattern - March, June, September and December. On rare occasions, we may have to shift the date by one week – in the event of a tournament, for example, but you will be given plenty of notice. Always remember to check the website and our Facebook pages regularly as well as listening out in class for any changes. 



Points to note about gradings:

  • Parents are allowed to watch the gradings. Obviously, they must be quiet and not interfere at all – if your child doesn’t want you to watch, then that’s their choice!
  • Gup Gradings cost £20 and run over the course of 3 hours on a Saturday, from 10am until 1pm in Coventry and 3pm until 6pm in Redditch.
  • Students are graded in their own grade groups - Beginner (White, yellow tag, yellow belt) Intermediate (orange, orange green tag, green belt) Advanced (green red tag, green 2 red tag and red belts)



Belts and certificates are presented on the day. 

Black Belt gradings (Dan gradings) are held twice a year, in July and December. We hold them separately from the Gups in order to make them a special event for the candidate. These gradings cost £100, but include the suit and belt.

How do the Belt Colours work?

We conform to the traditional Tang Soo Do belt colour system, trim and all and this helps to identify us correctly when working with other traditional Tang Soo Do groups – for example, at the traditional tournaments.

The system runs as follows:


New Colour


White, yellow tag






Orange,1 tag


Green (+green trim)


Green, 1 tag (+green trim)


Green, 2 tag (+green trim)


Red (+red trim)


Red, 1 tag (+ red trim)


Red, 2 tag (+ red trim)


You will notice that our Dan Grade belts are not black – they are Midnight Blue. This is traditional in Tang Soo Do as black is considered to be a finite colour – nothing darker than black – so our blue belts signify that we never stop never becomes finite. Dan grades may have gold bars on their belts – one for each Dan grade – and at 4th Dan, the belt changes to carry a red stripe through the centre.

What do I need to do in order to grade?

 We constantly strive to make our gradings easy to understand. Major points as follows:

  • All junior grades  (5th Gup and below) have only single technique basics, so that, by the time they reach the final portion of the grading system, their basics will be of a high enough standard that combinations are easier to grasp. For higher grades, as well as their set combinations, we ask for basics from the lower grades syllabus. As you will see in the manual, all basics and combinations for each grade are set, so you will know exactly what is expected of you, so no excuses!
  • We have a scoring system to make the marking at gradings clearer. The scores run from E for excellen…being ‘above expectation’, G for Good...being ‘as expected’ and W for Weak...being ‘below expectation – improvement required’. Pass criteria is that 70% of the areas score E or G. Candidates will be able to see these scores to gain better knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses. Please pay attention to the advce given on reports.

What standard do you expect to see at each level?



10th, 9th and 8th

At this level, mistakes are expected. More important is effort and enthusiasm. Make the candidate aware of their mistakes, but it is not yet a fail worthy offence.

7th, 6th and 5th

Mistakes such as poor stance, poor kicks, lack of effort, poor fist chambering, incorrect fists etc will be pointed out to the candidate. The candidate may be warned up to three times before the offence warrants a fail.

4th and above

Candidate will be warned once about any major errors. Any further errors lead to an immediate fail.


  • In order to maintain standards, students are required to complete a minimum number of 1 hour sessions before they are eligible for grading.

10th, 9th, 8th Gup

Minimum 12 sessions

7th , 6th, 5th Gup

Minimum 18 sessions

4th Gup and above

Minimum 24 sessions

 (Training hours are logged on a monthly register by your instructor.)

  • At 1st Gup level, candidates begin Dan Grade assessments.  Assessment takes place every six months. Candidates are tagged for each assessment until such time as they are ready for the actual test.

How will I know if I’m ready to grade?

The Student Manual details what will be expected of you at each level. Please remember that this is a cumulative knowledge base – you may be asked to perform anything from your previous grades in addition to the requirements of the grade that you are testing for.

You should ensure that you understand the requirements – if you are at all unsure, please talk to your instructor and get their advice. Sometimes the instructor will already have told you if you are ready or not. Please remember that it is not a race to Dan grade – enjoy the journey!

How quickly can I expect to progess?

You get out of training what you put in. Regular, consistent training is the key to steady progress. You will notice that the minimum number of sessions between gradings increases as you go through the grades – this is because there is more to work on at each level and you will need more time. We will not ‘double grade’ you or rush you through the grades – it is essential that you feel that you have earned your belts and that you can stand with anyone of your same grade with confidence…no matter where.

What do you expect of your Instructors and Dan Grades?

If the standards are always to be raised and more expected of our Gup grades, then we must obviously expect more of ourselves. We ask for as much support from Dan Grades as possible and the full support of each and every instructor.

How do we know how to behave in class?

Please make sure that you have a copy of the Student Manual which is available free through the Student Resources section of the website. Have a read through and you will find that this book will answer many of your questions.

How do I get involved in tournaments?

The ATMA likes to provide students with as many training experiences as possible and an important one of these is the provision of opportunities to compete. We understand that it’s not for everyone, but if you are interested, we will give you every support. We hold regular Squad training sessions and have an Squad who take part in tournaments for martial arts other than Tang Soo Do. If you think you’d like to take a look at the tournament circuit, please speak to your instructor and watch the website for tournament news.

 Tang Soo!

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Chris O'Sullivan | Reply 05.05.2018 09.57

Thank you for your reply, how much is each adult class?

Jacqui Fisher 05.05.2018 17.29

Hi. Classes are £5, on a pay per class basis.

Chris O'Sullivan | Reply 04.05.2018 17.09

Good afternoon, my 13 year old son is interested in coming along to your Redditch Oakhill class, at his age would be come along to the children's or adult class

Jacqui Fisher 05.05.2018 08.02

Hi Chris. Thank you for your enquiry. I think he'd enjoy the adult class more - there are plenty of teenagers in there!

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Latest comments

21.11 | 11:56

First class is free, then it's £5 per class, pay as you go.

29.08 | 12:11

Ma’am this is Nukohma from Bromsgrove school, Is it possible I can still do karate in senior school?

24.05 | 07:18

Hello, I am running a Cub camp June 23rd arnd looking for someone to do some demo sessions for the kids between 10am and 2pm.Do you have anyone available pleas?

05.04 | 19:45

Hi. Apologies for the delay. Classes are £5 and we run through half term and all school holidays.

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