The subject of credentialing (being able to prove you are capable of teaching what you say you are) has come up in several threads recently, such as: Ranks are meaningless I used to think ranks are meaningless, but now I need one for bureaucratic reasons and I'm lower rank than I need My master in (Art 2) promoted me in (Art 1) My art doesn't have ranks and I need a certificate in order to teach a class at a particular location Now, I don't want to have the discussion about how having a rank system in your art is meaningless/meaningful. I'm more curious about how a prospective student - especially an uninitiated student - would be able to assess the level of mastery an instructor has based on their credentials. For example, a black belt in Taekwondo is usually a 3-5 year process. It was 23 months for myself, but I was also on a special apprenticeship and spent 20+ hours a week at the dojang for those last 11 months, and I had around 4 years of training as a kid. So really, even though it took me 23 months to go white to black at my current school, it was about 6 years of training total, and if you assume 150 hours as a year's worth of training (3 classes a week for 50 weeks), I did the equivalent of probably 6 years worth of training during those 11 months. To be more specific, it usually takes a minimum of 2.5-3 years, and most people take around 4-5 years to get their black belt (not including McDojos). Now compare that to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. According to a brief internet search, it's a minimum of 5.5 years to get your black belt in BJJ, and usually around 10 years. Going back to Taekwondo, to go up a dan grade, you must do as many years as your current grade. So a 1st Dan takes a minimum of 1 year to get 2nd Dan, a 2nd Dan two years to get 3rd dan, etc. BJJ, on the other hand, it's the amount of years is equal to the rank you're going for (i.e. 2 years to get 2nd Dan, 3 years to get 3rd Dan). So a person who has been training Taekwondo for 15 years may be a 4th or 5th degree black belt, but someone who has been training BJJ for 15 years may only be a 2nd or 3rd degree black belt. Where I see this becoming an issue is if I'm a new student who knows nothing about martial arts, and I see that there's a Taekwondo School with a 5th degree instructor and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school with a 2nd degree instructor, which school do I think is more qualified to teach martial arts? Even though they may have around the same amount of training and (all other factors being equal) are likely just as competent as each other, the layman will see a big difference in training under a 5th degree than a 2nd degree. To expand on this, let's take an art that doesn't have belt ranks or even certificates. How do you advertise your proficiency as a martial artist or instructor to prospective students? How can they verify your claims? I'm just curious how arts that have a higher standard for black belt or who don't have ranks at all justify their seeming lack of credentials to the general public when advertising for classes. Please note that I'm not saying that these instructors are not qualified to teach. I'm talking about 3 martial artists who all have similar skill levels in their respective arts, but due to the way the art is set up, their ranks are different.