Kendo, like other Japanese martial arts, uses a Dan based grading system. This system is popularly recognized as "belt rankings", however in Kendo no explicit indication of rank is worn.
Kendo ranks are broken into two main groupings: kyu rankings, also known as "mudansha", and dan raknings or "yudansha". Dan ranks are more commonly known, from other martial arts, as "black belt" ranks. This essentially equates 1st kyu with "brown belt" and 1st dan with "first degree black belt".
In Canada, kyu rankings begin at 6th kyu and advance to 1st kyu, however younger children are often started at 10th kyu. Dan raknings begin at 1st dan and advance up to 8th dan.
The final rank, 8th dan, is considered one of, if not the most difficult exam in the world, having approxiamtely a 0.3% - 0.5% pass rate!