Understanding Rank In The Martial Arts Explained

T. and I were having a conversation with one of the senior students after class, asking questions about techniques that we needed to know before out next rank.

Ever patient with us, he was trying to get across that rank is not about techniques, it is about a certain level and maturity in movement- the *techniques* that one needs to demonstrate are a vehicle for the movement, a way to demonstrate it.

We just weren’t there yet.

When you enter the dojo you are a white belt, and wear the white belt. 

It’s natural to begin working towards that first rank of 9th kyu- green belt.

An admirable goal to strive towards, one of the meanings of rank- to give the student not only a clear path but something to work against and achieve. 

But don’t be in a rush.

Enjoy being a white belt, as soon enough the belt will change color, and colors after that, and while each rank brings new challenges, the memories of the previous rank, one can never go back. 


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Located in Westchester New York, the Bujinkan Shinmyoken Dojo is a martial arts training group founded in 2005 with the aim of coming together as martial arts friends to study the Japanese martial art of Masaaki Hatsumi through the lessons of the Bujinkan dojo.

As friends (buyu) we come together to grow, learn, and share our individual potential in this wonderful martial art.

Questions, comments, feedback, and inquiries may be emailed to the group here: BujinkanShinmyoken@gmail.com.