Adult Black Belt (dan) Ranks
Like many of you, I have seen the 6 year old black belt and met the 24 year old who boasts of being a 5th degree black belt. Both of course I think are ridiculous. In the January issue I discussed why maturity needs to be considered when awarding ranks (color belts) to kids up to black belt [click here to read the article]. In that article I discuss why the physical and mental developments of a young practitioner were necessary to reach the qualified rank of junior black belt. In this month's article I want to show why maturity also needs to be considered when awarding black belt ranks to adults, especially the upper ranks.
The following argument is based on the practitioner who starts training early and receives an adult black belt rank around 18 years of age and then continues to the advanced age of 70 plus. I use 9th dan as the highest rank simply for argument sake. Below is a broad overview of what the considerations should be when awarding advanced ranks to adults.
The question is what should be the considerations when awarding black belt ranks 1 through 9 to adult practitioners. I'm proceeding under the understanding that 1st degree is awarded to a qualified practitioner at the beginning of adulthood (18 yrs.) and then under the assumption the highest rank (9 dan) should only be awarded to the oldest (70 yrs. +) and longest training practitioner (50 yrs.+) with the highest level of knowledge. Most of us agree that technical knowledge and skill are extremely important with the addition of training time and age of the practitioner. One area that has been understood in the traditional community but lost in the eclectic arts is maturity. In other words the wisdom gained from age and experience. It is this category that many schools have missed the point.
There are many schools that believe that the years trained as children justify giving higher ranks to very young adults. No doubt that early training will positively affect technical skill and athleticism in the older years, but this physical development has little effect on knowledge developed from age maturity.
It is generally accepted that athletic development peaks around the mid-30s, if not earlier. From that point, though skills continue to marginally improve and a deeper understanding of technique grows, it is maturity that starts to play a more important role in the growth of a martial artist. It is this growing understanding of the human condition that needs to be added into the consideration process when awarding higher ranks of 5th dan and up.
The majority of senior martial artists I respect tend to feel that 5th degree is the transition rank that moves from the technical ranks (1 through 4) to the combination ranks of technique, experience, and wisdom. This rank and transition should happen when the practitioner is in their 40's or early 50's, in other words middle age. From this point to 9th degree the understanding of technique deepens and worldly knowledge increases by each decade.
The black belt ranks from 1st degree to ninth needs to follow the natural physical development and maturity growth of the adult human being.
The twenties is basically the honorary adult age. The individual is an adult with practically no life experience but is peaking at physical development. The ranks of shodan (1) and nidan (2) should be awarded during this period of time. The 30's is where confidence starts to take hold as life experiences increase. It is easy at this stage to be judgmental and feel you know more than you really do. The athletic development is still growing so the rank of sandan (3), maybe yondan (4) should be awarded during this decade. The 40's start the questioning stages. Though confidence is still growing with the continuing gathering of experience, one starts questioning past decisions and if they're on the right path in life. Because this period starts the deep develop of insights into the human condition, leadership skills improve and philosophical understanding grows. This is the age godan (5) should be awarded. The 5o's is when mortality takes hold for the first time and the individual starts to change their priorities. These insights start to have a profound effect in what they believe is real or not, both in one's mind and in their surrounding environment. This understanding greatly vaults the comprehension of the human condition. This understanding helps in the development of a better teacher. This is the age the ranks of 6th dan and maybe 7th should be awarded. The 60's is where legacy starts to become important. This is the ultimate reality check of life. Ego should be almost completely gone by this time which makes the teacher extremely effective in both physical instruction but more importantly philosophical teaching. This is the age for the ranks of 7th and 8th dans. 70's should be the ultimate in wisdom. Nothing more needs to be said. The highest rank should be here.
Of course not all people develop exactly along this time line and not all people grow to be wise. But these levels of understandings and experiences change the insights of the practitioner. Priorities change and these insights give the instructor more understandings of the human development in their students. This wisdom is what separates the advanced ranks. It is this reason why the upper level ranks should be associated with the upper ages of the practitioners.
Welcome to the world of "Wado"and other Martial Art Information
Dear Wado Enthusiast and other karate practitioners;
This newsletter is to help keep Wado enthusiasts and others informed of activities in Wado Ryu, Wado Kai, Wado Kokusai, and independent Wado groups in the United States and abroad. Please send your Wado event or activity with a photo of the instructor and/or event organizer by the 20th of the preceding month to get your information in this newsletter. Please send your text in a Word document and pictures in small jpeg files, thank you.
we will publish editorials, articles, or any other important information that may be of interest to Wado or other karate enthusiast. Please send a photo of the author with the article.
Instructors, please forward to a Wado enthusiast or other karate practitioners, thank you.
Volunteer Wado Staff
View other Newsletters
One of the most difficult areas that this newsletter has to deal with is the use of instructor titles. We are very sensitive to this issue and do not want to offend or insult anyone. To simplify this daunting problem we will use the following guidelines with the use of instructor titles:
a. The correct title of the instructor(s) must be in the article or seminar information submitted by the author or event organizer.
b. All captions that we place under photos will be:
1. Japanese instructors: Last name followed by the title Sensei.
2. Non-Japanese instructors: The title Sensei followed by the last name of the instructor.
c. Any title and name that is placed in this newsletter by newsletter staff will use the title of Sensei.
We consider the title "Sensei" a very prestigious title
Wado Books & Information
Editor's note: There are many Wado practitioners in the world that do not have access to Wado books and literature for one reason or another. In this section we will publish key parts of Wado books and direct the reader to where they can be purchased. We will publish the author's introductions and philosophies but not the technical components of the book.
We are continuing with another writing from Master Otsuka's book Wado Ryu Karate, published by Masters Publication. This book can be purchased at Amazon.com.
The Origin of Martial Arts
by Master Otsuka
I do not possess very specific knowledge of history - thus, I cannot accurately state the historical origin of the martial arts. However, I believe that the following may be possible. Almost all animals possess some sort of ability or thing with which to protect themselves from external harm. These include camouflage, poison, accurate vision, fangs, claws, horns, swift movement and agility, flight and others, to name a few. Each also has their own, particular method with which to fight.
Humans, also, have this ability to fight although this ability varies greatly from person to person. Methods for punching, kicking and throwing exist as habits for some individuals.
Human beings may have incorporated this natural ability to hunt for food, or to protect themselves from their prey. Then this ability to fight was used by the strong to control the weak, leading to the establishment of organized groups and associations. In order to not only maintain the unity and stability of this group, power was required in order to maintain the group's authority over others.
Along with the development of society, weapons and arms were created along with their methods of usage and born was the sword, the bow and arrow and the gun. Also, methods of fighting that did not incorporate weapons such as sumo, jiu-jitsu and karate developed further. Scientific progress now reached points where the hydrogen bomb and nuclear missiles were easily produced.
For as long as humans possessed greed and desire, this conclusion was inevitable. Needless to say, in prehistoric times, this was not the case - it was more peaceful. The irony in scientific progress is that by making people's lives easier to live, it has disrupted the order and peace that previously existed in society. There is no end to scientific progress. Weapons development will eventually, if it has not already, reach a point where weapons will only serve to destroy ourselves. This then, would make humans no different from primitive beasts. Hence, the establishment of martial arts begins to serve its purpose.
The Daily Grind
by Doug Jepperson
KAIZEN, I am sure you have heard the word. A lot of martial artists use this word to encourage their students to train more frequently and focus on gradual improvement. This word was used in manufacturing originally but today has morphed into a lot of different meanings. I found some people have named their school Kaizen Karate, others have used it to describe their style, while a few have used this word to identify the cereal they should eat in the morning, (just checking to see if you are paying attention).
I hope I am not about to destroy any mythological interpretations but the word came into common usage right after World War II. Edward Deming conducted a series of lectures and seminars for the Japanese manufacturers who were attempting to rebuild their industrial complex that was destroyed during the war. Deming used this word to describe his prescription of change in manufacturing using statistical process control. I will save you the boredom of reading what SPC is but it is about small stuff and everyday vigilance looking at small stuff.
To read the rest of this article click HERE.
Park City Karate
This is the third article of brief overviews on the more popular karate styles
My Bunny's Karate
Over the past 50 or so years, (That long? We are getting old.) fortune has provided me an opportunity know several karate styles "from the inside". That is to say, I had the chance to get beat on by punches and kicks delivered in a variety of ways. I started in Shotokan, then Wado during the years I lived in Pennsylvania, beginning in 1964. Upon moving to Arizona in the mid-seventies, I started over in Shi-To with Fumio Demura and Dan Ivan who had a sort of hybrid style due to Mr. Ivan's years in Shotokan and Mr. Demura's in Shi-To Ryu. Because Goju is half of Shi-To, I was introduced to that. Not content with an introduction, I took some pains to dig deeper into Goju.
That leads to here...to one more conversation on style.
Of the styles into which I have delved, Shi-To Ryu has served me the highest purpose. Not "best". Best is subjective. Just useful for my goal, which was to learn as much as I could about Okinawa and karate, in general.
To read the rest of this article click HERE
Sensei Hunt holds Dan ranks in Wado Ryu, Shito Ryu and Shotokan.
Robert Hunt is the author of the book "The Art and the Way". Click the title to get information about this book. To order the book click HERE.
You can contact Sensei Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org
道Dō(Way or Path)
by Sensei Kaichō Rivera
|Sensei Kaicho Rivera|The Do is know as the Way or Path for one, especially in the Martial Arts, but it is not limited to this: i.e., one's Way or Path is something that one transcends in one's life and is hitherto and appropriately so, referred to as one's Do. One's Do is imperative for one, because it demonstrates balance or the Middle Way, which refers to one being without Ego or the satiation of one's Ego. So, it is about one being true to oneself and following one's Path or Road of one's True/Buddha Nature or Original Face, an tribute of Zen.RiveraSensei@genjokoankarate.org
To read the rest of this article click HERE.
To get more information on Sensei Rivera or to contact him:
MARTIAL ARTS HUMOR
A priest was in charge of the garden
within a famous Zen temple. He had been given the job because he loved the flowers, shrubs, and trees. Next to the temple there was another, smaller temple where there lived a very old Zen master. One day, when the priest was expecting some special guests, he took extra care in tending to the garden. He pulled the weeds, trimmed the shrubs, combed the moss, and spent a long time meticulously raking up and carefully arranging all the dry autumn leaves. As he worked, the old master watched him with interest from across the wall that separated the temples.
When he had finished, the priest stood back to admire his work. "Isn't it beautiful," he called out to the old master. "Yes," replied the old man, "but there is something missing. Help me over this wall and I'll put it right for you."
After hesitating, the priest lifted the old fellow over and set him down. Slowly, the master walked to the tree near the center of the garden, grabbed it by the trunk, and shook it. Leaves showered down all over the garden. "There," said the old man, "you can put me back now."
We all need a little Zen in our Lives. If you have a story, please send it in.
WIKF Wado Karate Seminars
Sensei Jon Wicks
WIKF World Chief Instructor
Arizona Karate Championship & USA Karate National Qualifier
|Grand Canyon University Arena|
Sunday March 3, 2013
Grand Canyon University Arena
3300 W. Camelback Rd.
go to karateTmaster.com
USA Karate Referee Seminar
with Sensei Madani
Saturday, March 2, 2013
10am to 4pm
For additional information
Happy 80th Birthday Sensei Merriman
Join Sensei for his birthday celebration and annual Gasshuku
March 8-10, 2013
|Sensei Chuck Merriman|
Enjoy morning and afternoon training sessions, reception and a full buffet dinner. Train with some truly gifted instructors and socialize with friends and peers.
for additional information
|USA Wado-Ryu Karate-Do Remnei Championships
Hosted by Nishimura Sensei
March 24, 2013
Tesor High School
1 Tesoro Creek Rd.
Los Flores, CA. 92688
For additional information (949)233-2691
|43rd Anniversary |
Wa no Kizuna Invitational
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Jefferson High School
2305 Pierce St.
For more information
deadline April 13, 2013
USA-NKF National Qualifier & Tennessee State Championships
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Volunteer State Community College
Pickel Field House
1480 Nashville Pike, Gallatin TN 37066
for more information
Tournament Flier click HERE
Divisions & Itinerary click HERE
Tournament Letter click HERE
Utah State Championships
and USA Karate National Qualifier
Park City, Utah USA
June 1, 2013
May 31, 2013
May 31, 2013
Register on line click HERE
For additional tournament and seminar information click
Tournament SponsorPark City Karate
Sensei Doug Jepperson
International Wado Summer Karate Open Course 2013
Instructor - Yoshihiko Iwasaki Shihan
Venue; Gyomaendrod, Hungary
Date; Sunday 4th - Friday 9th August 2013
Events will be included as below
Traditional Wado Karata inc Kumite, Kata and Ohyo Waza (Application arts), Refree course, Kumite Competition and Dan grading,
Early morning training 6.30am includes Taichi (Ki exercise)
For additional information:
Additional Information and Application click HERE
Bespoke Karate figurines
Handmade in the U.K. by Karateka
THE FIGURE SHOWN IS CAST IN WHITE RESIN, IT IS AVAILABLE IN A WIDE RANGE OF FINISHES AND COLOURS, THE SIZE OF THE FIGURINE IS 6 ½ INCHES (165MM) LONG,BY 4
¾ HIGH (120 MM ), INDIVIDUALLY PRICED
£25 ($40 us)
plus P&P £15 ($24us)
These prices are for figurines on a unadorned base.
Wado base £10 ($16us)
figurines are available on Ebay U.K
wado specific figurine for use as a trophy ,award or as you wish,made in the U.K.by martial artists
For additional information contact Paul David Hammond