So, this type of conversation comes up a lot. We always participate in these discussions about who did what to earn what rank... but we always participate "knowing" that the way we did it was the "right" way and everyone doing it different is either "wrong" or just "no so much right." Have you ever turned the question around and asked: Why do I have the rank I have? Did I get this rank because I can go out into a street brawl and start kicking butt and taking names? Did I get this rank because I did well in full contact sport fighting? Did I get this rank because I did well in "adult tag" competition? Did I get this rank because I memorized an exact pattern and can repeat it, even if I may not understand it? Did I get this rank because I showed up every week and put in the time, and eventually got it for my effort? Did I get this rank because I understand what I am doing? Another fun question is: Okay, I have this certain rank... what are realistic expectations of my actual abilities in a home invasion? street fight? sporting competition? performance event? or teaching situation? After being honest with yourself about these questions... Do you make any changes? And what would those changes be? After making black belt, I looked at what I really did, what I was really capable of and found that what I thought I was... I wasn't. Now what? Do I abandon what I studied? How do I fix it? What exactly was wrong with my training? What are my expectations? Personally, I started training at a boxing gym, to learn how to punch and what is was like to be punched. I spent a couple years training BJJ and MMA to see where I stood and to get more experience. During all that... I continued training my first art. Through all this training and butt whooping (that would be my butt being whooped) I learned a lot. First I learned where my real martial abilities stood, and where my fitness was. After some time, I could see where my first art actually did have a lot of worth and did teach and prepare me better than I had originally thought, in many ways. I started adding things to my art... and sharing with my sensei... who was very patient, about showing me where those things were in my own art, and where I had over looked them. After all that... the most important thing I have is a realistic picture of my abilities in those different types of situations... as well as a decent idea of what it would take to improve in the areas I lack. I think you learn a lot of things, taking your first art and testing it out... with folks who have no problem whooping your butt. It doesn't mean your first art is bad.... it means you made erroneous assumptions about what your art was giving you and teaching you. To truly see how well a martial art does in a martial situation, you need to make sure you are testing the martial art and not your erroneous assumptions about what the art is.