BSKF is not a convenient amalgamation of different styles of martial practice. Each of its branches traces an unbroken lineage to the founder, Doshin So. Whilst individual branch masters may have had previous martial arts experience, they have all advanced through the BSKF grades from beginner onwards.
Regardless of previous experience, the minimum requirements for advancement are the same for each individual member. Advancement is therefore based entirely on the individual's understanding and experience and is not in any way accelerated by the acquisition of rank in other schools of practice.
The minimum requirements and standards for advancement are set by the Chief Instructor and his advisory group. The qualifying requirements for examinations include the amount of time served at the current rank and the amount of training sessions completed. The assessment of the qualifying technical standard rests with the individual's branch master.
In addition to technical standards, grading examinations include an assessment of the student's understanding of the theoretical and philosophical teachings. This is based on written contributions in the form of homework and/or essays on the day of the examination. Individuals cannot progress through the grades on the basis of technical ability alone.
Grading examinations are organised by the Branchmaster's Council. They are held at a variety of locations quarterly throughout the year and at a number of other annual events.