Years ago, I was a regular on the Budoseek BBS. Good people, good knowledge, but when I was in Iraq I found I didn't have time for on-line forums, and when I got home I found I didn't miss them. Signal-to-noise ratio and time investment...
I wrote this there years ago:
I've already made my
feelings pretty clear about people awarding themselves incredible rank and
starting their own style. In general I consider it an ego trip- someone who
can't be the big fish creating his own puddle. I was challenged recently to
describe what would convince me that a self-awarded rank was legitimate. Here
are my initial thoughts.
1) If your style has any tournament component you should have been and/or
trained at least one national champion. More, if the tournament circle is
2) If it is called a combat style, it must be tested, and that is hard. Perhaps
100+ uses of unnassisted, weaponless uses of force as either a cop, corrections
officer or bouncer. Alternatively, a history of cops, etc who have previous
experience with martial arts seeking you out and staying with you for more than
one year. Many people hold seminars for LEO's then claim that they teach DT's
while the officers that attended the class under orders feel nothing but
3)Designate and document all the skills your students must master from the
lowest rank to the highest. If any of the high ranks are honorary, award
yourself the highest real rank. If your style is worthwhile, as students mature
and take over the ryu they will vote you the honorary rank, just like Kano.
4)Figure out how long it would take for a good student to achieve the rank you
award yourself and be sure you have studied at least twice that long. If it
would take a student longer to get to where you are than it took you, the style
stunts students, it does not teach them.
5)Obviously, the art must have significant, preferably profound differences
from all other arts you have studied.
6)If you are breaking off from another organization you must maintain loyalty
to those that taught you- you owe them much. If that is impossible your maturity
level may be too low for instructor status, much less master. At the very least
7)If you are breaking away you must be better at both the art and teaching than
anyone else in the old organization, especially if the technical differences
8)Please, if you choose to use a foreign language to describe or rank your art
at least make the effort to use a real word and translate it correctly. Then
live up to the terms you use. For instance, if you choose to call yourself an
ancestral style at least have one parent to child transmission of leadership in
It's been years, but I think the sentiment holds up.
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