About the ceremony of rank changes in different martial art styles

Discussion in 'Japanese Martial Arts - General' started by Nightmare, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. Nightmare

    Nightmare White Belt

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    Hi, Greetings.

    I have a question about the ceremony of rank changes in different martial art styles, mostly I'm interested on knowing what the Sensei tell the student that is promoted at the time when the Sensei tie the belt over the student waist, for example my Jujutsu Sensei says this sentence in spanish:

    "Let this change of rank helps you to improve your personality"

    Something like that, maybe the translation isn't that perfect, but I wanna know if this sentence is also used on other styles or arts, has anybody heard it?

    And what other kind of sentence you know, or maybe the full ceremony if possible.

    Please comment, thanks.:)

    Regards
     
  2. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hi,

    I'd say that that phrase is particular to your instructor, perhaps it was used by theirs, but apart from that, I wouldn't expect to hear of anyone else using it. Really, there is no specific "ceremony" used by all martial arts or systems, and even in the systems that do use them, it varies from rank to rank. For example, Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu has a very particular ceremony for transmitting the Sokeship, and is detailed on this page: http://www.hyoho.com/inuag.html

    Other Ryu will have ceremonies for entrance into the Ryu (Kirigami, or Keppan, depending on the Ryu). Then there may or may not be a ceremony involved at new ranks, typically there may be a private ceremony involving the presentation of a new licence/certificate, or scroll of kata/history/teachings.

    For us, the Kyu grades are done publicly in a regular class, with the successful students typically called up at the end of class. Reasons for success are highlighted (This student has worked very hard on this aspect, I'm very pleased with such progress... etc), and the grade is awarded. As you hit the Dan ranks, it actually becomes less formal, with my instructor being awarded his fourth dan over the phone, and my third being given with my Chief Instructor in the front seat of a car and myself in the back. Very formal....
     
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  3. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    "You passed? Oh Ok, here's a beer". That's really about it. No pomp or ceremony at all.
     
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  4. Nightmare

    Nightmare White Belt

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    Hi, thanks.

    So that phrase isn’t used on other styles or martial arts, I thought maybe my Sensei took it from somewhere else, but I guess it may be his own invention after all.

    About that promotions of Kyu grades are more formal than Dan grades, despite the importance and sacrifice to get to Dan levels, I guess that responds to the importance that an instructor gives to the lower levels to give them motivation to continue training to get next level, so a nice ceremony is good motivational for them.

    Also it would be nice to receive some mementos in the ceremony, like a Bokken with the name of the person engraved or something like that, I think I read about it somewhere, also a photo of the student with a nice photo-frame and all, will be nice, so the student is more motivated to keep training.

    But words are more inspirational I guess, some people cry after getting the rank, It’s a important moment for them, so Sensei must give the importance and tell a few inspirational words while giving the certificate or belt and told to work even harder in order to live up to the new rank.

    Thanks,

    Regards.
     
  5. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Ours is somewhat formal. Following class, we line up kneeling, with kyu ranks on one side and dan ranks on the other. Sensei calls out the person or persons to be promoted and then rise, step back from their rank line, walk to the end of the line, bow to Sensei and the dan ranks, then kneel in front of Sensei (who also kneeling). Then Sensei says some nice things about the person(s) being promoted and tells them to remove their belt. Then Sensei places the new belt in front of the student(s) on the floor and tells them to pick it up and put it on. Then everyone does a za-rei, a formal bow from the kneeling position. Then the student(s) stand, bow, walk backwards to the spot they entered from (they do not turn their backs on the dan ranks or Sensei), bow again where they bowed in, then return to their spot in their kyu or dan rank line, and resume a kneeling position. Sensei says a few more words, we all do a za-rei to the shomen, a za-rei to Sensei and the dan ranks, and then we stand up, shake hands, offer congratulations. That's about it.
     
  6. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    We don't have a lot of formality in promotions. I've done formal tests and promotions for underbelts, and I've told 'em that they're not in proper uniform, and handed them the new belt. And probably everything in-between.

    Black belt testing is an annual event. There are two black belt promotion ceremonies. Since the association is only holding initiation ceremonies every 3 years -- each school does their own black belt promotion, as well, after the instructor is given word on whether the candidate passed. For our school, we've been doing this at an end-of-summer dinner/get together.
     
  7. Supra Vijai

    Supra Vijai Black Belt

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    Sorry coming into this thread a little late... I recently just graded for and attained my 4th kyu (first level brown belt for us). Everyone in the class that night was grading for their respective rank and there were 3 of us going for 4th Kyu. Sensei called out the names of the beginners (10th Kyu/Mu Kyu) first and congratulated them, then the 2 green belts in order of their rank and that all went very smoothly. When he got to us, he paused for a moment and said "hmmm this is a tough one..." before proceeding to tell each of us what we were lacking in and what we need to work on. I honestly expected to get told to practice more and try again in 3 months and was just coming to terms with that when he pointed to each of us and said "4th, 4th, 4th.. congratulations". Massive adrenaline dump! Hands were shaking, mind was racing and yet it was one of the best feelings in the world. I personally find that sort of experience a lot more rewarding than a physical memento of the event. Amongst students we'd get each other little congratulatory presents or whatever and have a little celebration dinner but the only real thing we want from the instructor is the advice and motivation he gives us verbally :)

    Oh and we got told from this point forward, it's going to be as much a mental challenge/journey as it is a physical one and we understood it as being a defining characteristic of being a "good" senior practitioner so really looking forward to it!
     
  8. Rayban

    Rayban Green Belt

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    There's nothing quite like being rendered speechless is there.

    Even with my casual approach to the gradings (i.e. not really seeking them out but just trying to give my all each class) I got that same dump.

    It's like being told to see the principal to be told you're a good student :p
     
  9. CTope

    CTope White Belt

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    Your sensei usually ties your belt for you. My sensei teaches the forever knot to his new BBs.
     
  10. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Well..... yours might. I've never felt the need to dress my students... they're all adults, after all...

    And that's the thing... this is all very much particular to the school/dojo/gym/style/instructor... there is no one thing that's done everywhere... so no, "your sensei" does not "usually tie your belt for you"... except in schools where they do.
     
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  11. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Capoeira was the most interesting for me. You get your rope thing and then spar the instructor who drops you on your bum in front of everyone.

    Probably some sort of lesson in that.
     
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  12. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    We don't tie the children's belts either, these days one has to be very careful so we present the belts, show the parents how to tie them and let them put them on the children.
     
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  13. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    For kyu ranks (I haven't earned dan rank in my current system)...

    We test during our regular class time; there's no special time set aside unlike me my previous organization where the dojo was closed for promotion testing. So in a regular class setting, we are kneeling in seiza as we do at the end of every class. The CI says a few things about the student.

    The CI asks the black belts to come up to the front of the dojo. The CI asks the student to take off his/her belt. The student, still in seiza, turns their back to the shinzen, takes off the belt, holds in the left hand and turns around, still in seiza. The student is called to the front (walks behind the line of students), the CI ties on the new belt, bows, and shakes hands with the CI. A congratulations or similar is said during the hand shake. The student bows and shakes hands with each black belt individually, then returns to his/her spot in line.

    Nothing mystical nor standardized is said.

    When I earned my shodan in my previous organization, it was basically the same thing at the end of the closed door test. The only ones in attendance were the CI and black belts who were helping run the test.
     
  14. JP3

    JP3 Master Black Belt

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    Here is my "Oh So Formal" rank/belt presentation to four of my students in August, 2013. The two ladies (sisters) achieved Shodan on the same day, along with my two guys going from Shodan to Nidan. Nick Lowry from Windsong Dojo in OKC visited us to observe the rank demos (and to back stage comment on what he saw for my own benefit in instructing them later over a gentleman's dinner of meat and mead().



    You will probably note a very intentional lack of pomp & formality. There is the cracking of jokes, and an air of relief and celebration.

    The one thing that I picked up from Ray, my first adult aikido teacher, was at a demo (as long as it was passing satisfactory) was to say something along the lines of, "Thank you, and well done. (and if it was) That was very well done, and I thank you for demonstrating it for us. As you no doubt know, ti was not perfect, but then as far as I know the Perfect Demonstration has yet to be performed. I am well pleased with your progress."

    And that is just about as formal as we get about it.
     
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  15. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    I've had different formalities over the years, dependant on the times, the school and the people. I've attended the promotions of students in other dojos/styles, sometimes sat in on a testing board, it's always been enjoyable for me.

    I believe the more difficult qualifications for promotions are, the more they mean to both the student, and, more importantly, to the Martial Arts in general.
     
  16. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    "Promotion to ---------- Belt/Sash/Prajioud [Person's Name]. Congratulations, Proud of your work, your effort, and attitude. Keep going and Never Give Up."

    Something along those lines. The rank/belt isn't very important...to us. It's your attitude, the amount of effort, and time you put in that we celebrate.
     
  17. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    Black belts line up.....Sensei calls student name....Sensei hands student their belt folded up....shakes their hand and tells them congratulations and then you bow to each other.

    Student then goes down the line shaking each black belts hand and being congratulated.

    Student takes old belt off...drapes it over his neck and shoulders and ties his new belt on.
     
  18. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Those grading kneel down with their head on the floor while the instructors decide. If you pass they out the belt in front of you. When you look up they give the general praise. You then take your old belt off and fold it and make the letter L shape with the 2 belts. Which stands for longevity In the art, love for your school and for your family and lie so if someone feels they don't deserve it they can put on their old belt again. The L represents the past, present and future. The old belt represents what you learnt before, new belt where you are now and the future is left open. You then put your head on the new belt symbolising how we use heads before our hands then put the new belt on
     
  19. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    So has anyone actually done the belt whipping thing. I never have.
     
  20. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    When I promote someone, we do it at the end of class when everyone is lined up ready to go. Then I'll say something like, "you're out of uniform" to the person getting promoted and they come up, get the badge, shake hands with me and my coinstructor, and that's it. Oh, and then it's beer.

    My judo club is pretty chill too. Usually at the end of class before bowing out. Get called up, bow etc.
     

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