Black Belt number system?

bluepanther

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I am only familiar with the Korean arts such as TKD and TSD. They number their belts as to seniority such as the Dan Bon system in Soo Bahk Do and the Kukkiwon. Is this a Korean thing or is it the same in Karate? Like if I get a Shodan from an organization or a school, is there a number associated with it?
 

Bill Mattocks

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I am only familiar with the Korean arts such as TKD and TSD. They number their belts as to seniority such as the Dan Bon system in Soo Bahk Do and the Kukkiwon. Is this a Korean thing or is it the same in Karate? Like if I get a Shodan from an organization or a school, is there a number associated with it?
There's not much uniformity in Karate styles, but black belts are somewhat the same.

Kuru Obi (Black Belt) is 1-10, with 1 being the lowest level of black belt. All black belts are Yudansha.

1st Dan - Shodan.
2nd Dan - Nidan.
3rd Dan - Sandan (I am a sandan, have held the rank for five years now). Sandan is often the first black belt rank considered to confer the title of 'Sensei' or teacher.
4th Dan - Yondan. Note that in Japanese, 4 can be 'shi' or 'yon'. We avoid the use of 'shi' when talking about people, because 'shi' also means death. Thus, no shidans.
5th Dan - Godan. Sometimes but not always, 5th dan and up begin to also have honorifics attached, such as 'renshi', 'kyoshi', and 'hanshi' - there are others as well. Not all organizations use them, they don't always mesh up with a given dan rank, and it's usually not automatic - a person can be a Godan and NOT a renshi, or they can be both. It depends.
6th Dan - Rokodan. In some systems, a Rododan is entitled to wear a different type of belt - such as a red-and-white panel belt.
7th Dan - Sichidan.
8th Dan - Hachidan. In some systems, a Hachidan is entitled to wear a solid red belt.
9th Dan - Kudan.
10th Dan - Judan. Often but not always head of system or organization.

Typically but not always, there will be only one 10th Dan in an organization. In modern times, this tends to be less true. There are a lot of Judans these days.

Other than belts being numbered 1-10, not everything is the same in every system, organization, or even between dojos. My training is in Isshinryu, and really can only be considered correct in my own organization, the WUIKA. Other Isshinryu organizations do things differently.

Typically, promotions are the number of your belt plus a year at that rank. So a Shodan would be considered eligible for Nidan in two years as a Shodan, or 1+1. A nidan would be eligible for sandan 3 years, or 2+1, and so on.

Black belts who are sensei can usually promote students up to one belt under their own rank, except for 10th dan. In the past, this has left organizations without a 10th dan, if theirs passes away or retires. Sometimes a system or organization has to step in to make a new 10th dan promotion to keep one at the head of the system. Some argue the legitimacy of promotions by committee, but it is what it is.
 
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bluepanther

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There's not much uniformity in Karate styles, but black belts are somewhat the same.

Kuru Obi (Black Belt) is 1-10, with 1 being the lowest level of black belt. All black belts are Yudansha.

1st Dan - Shodan.
2nd Dan - Nidan.
3rd Dan - Sandan (I am a sandan, have held the rank for five years now). Sandan is often the first black belt rank considered to confer the title of 'Sensei' or teacher.
4th Dan - Yondan. Note that in Japanese, 4 can be 'shi' or 'yon'. We avoid the use of 'shi' when talking about people, because 'shi' also means death. Thus, no shidans.
5th Dan - Godan. Sometimes but not always, 5th dan and up begin to also have honorifics attached, such as 'renshi', 'kyoshi', and 'hanshi' - there are others as well. Not all organizations use them, they don't always mesh up with a given dan rank, and it's usually not automatic - a person can be a Godan and NOT a renshi, or they can be both. It depends.
6th Dan - Rokodan. In some systems, a Rododan is entitled to wear a different type of belt - such as a red-and-white panel belt.
7th Dan - Sichidan.
8th Dan - Hachidan. In some systems, a Hachidan is entitled to wear a solid red belt.
9th Dan - Kudan.
10th Dan - Judan. Often but not always head of system or organization.

Typically but not always, there will be only one 10th Dan in an organization. In modern times, this tends to be less true. There are a lot of Judans these days.

Other than belts being numbered 1-10, not everything is the same in every system, organization, or even between dojos. My training is in Isshinryu, and really can only be considered correct in my own organization, the WUIKA. Other Isshinryu organizations do things differently.

Typically, promotions are the number of your belt plus a year at that rank. So a Shodan would be considered eligible for Nidan in two years as a Shodan, or 1+1. A nidan would be eligible for sandan 3 years, or 2+1, and so on.

Black belts who are sensei can usually promote students up to one belt under their own rank, except for 10th dan. In the past, this has left organizations without a 10th dan, if theirs passes away or retires. Sometimes a system or organization has to step in to make a new 10th dan promotion to keep one at the head of the system. Some argue the legitimacy of promotions by committee, but it is what it is.
This is very good information and useful. Thank you. What I specifically was talking about was for instance in Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan, when you obtain 1st Degree Black Belt you get a number that is unique to you. It is the order you received your Dan ranking. Like say 56,212. It means you are the 56,212th person to get a black belt in that art. The Dan number stays with you forever. Even when moving on to higher degree belts you are still Dan #56,212. So people with Dan #'s in the low hundreds received theirs many years ago.
 

BaehrTKD

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This is very good information and useful. Thank you. What I specifically was talking about was for instance in Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan, when you obtain 1st Degree Black Belt you get a number that is unique to you. It is the order you received your Dan ranking. Like say 56,212. It means you are the 56,212th person to get a black belt in that art. The Dan number stays with you forever. Even when moving on to higher degree belts you are still Dan #56,212. So people with Dan #'s in the low hundreds received theirs many years ago.

Not true.

You could have trained at a non-certified school and then had your certificates validated by the certifying authority at a much later date (like I did), in which case the numbers would not correspond to the date at which you actually got the credential.

EDIT: Opps, I just realized this isn't the Taekwondo section. :oops:
 

Bill Mattocks

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This is very good information and useful. Thank you. What I specifically was talking about was for instance in Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan, when you obtain 1st Degree Black Belt you get a number that is unique to you. It is the order you received your Dan ranking. Like say 56,212. It means you are the 56,212th person to get a black belt in that art. The Dan number stays with you forever. Even when moving on to higher degree belts you are still Dan #56,212. So people with Dan #'s in the low hundreds received theirs many years ago.
No such thing in karate, because so many styles, schools, organizations, etc. Your promotion cert might or might not have a number on it indicating the number of black belts your school has produced.
 

HighKick

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Not true.

You could have trained at a non-certified school and then had your certificates validated by the certifying authority at a much later date (like I did), in which case the numbers would not correspond to the date at which you actually got the credential.

EDIT: Opps, I just realized this isn't the Taekwondo section. :oops:
But by your own assertions, you didn't.
 

Gyakuto

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5th Dan - Godan. Sometimes but not always, 5th dan and up begin to also have honorifics attached, such as 'renshi', 'kyoshi', and 'hanshi' - there are others as well. Not all organizations use them, they don't always mesh up with a given dan rank, and it's usually not automatic - a person can be a Godan and NOT a renshi, or they can be both. It depends.
Traditional (Japanese) martial arts tend to award the shogo titles (renshi- polished or tempered person, kyoshi-teacher, hanshi - teacher of teachers) from 6th Dan which is considered the first senior grade and they can only receive renshi. Only an 8th Dan can be awarded hanshi. Shogo awards are given from governing bodies and not self-awarded. You do not call a person renshi/kyoshi/hanshi: it would be like referring to to someone as Smith PhD. Shogo are also written at the end of ones name (as should be Sensei) never at the beginning.
 

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No such thing in karate, because so many styles, schools, organizations, etc. Your promotion cert might or might not have a number on it indicating the number of black belts your school has produced.
Every Tom, Dick and Mohammed (including 3 year olds and 90 year old grannies) has a black belt so wed be in the hundreds of millions+
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Friendly reminder: when a thread gets locked, please don't bring arguments from that thread into another thread. It causes more effort for the mods who have to review all related threads, and increases your chance of getting a warning/points.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Traditional (Japanese) martial arts tend to award the shogo titles (renshi- polished or tempered person, kyoshi-teacher, hanshi - teacher of teachers) from 6th Dan which is considered the first senior grade and they can only receive renshi. Only an 8th Dan can be awarded hanshi. Shogo awards are given from governing bodies and not self-awarded. You do not call a person renshi/kyoshi/hanshi: it would be like referring to to someone as Smith PhD. Shogo are also written at the end of ones name (as should be Sensei) never at the beginning.
I should have mentioned that, sorry. In the USA at least, where there are so many organizations, some real and some phoney, requirements for the honorific titles vary. And I've seen quite a few unusual titles besides the most common ones. I recall Shihan as one, I think.
 

Gyakuto

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And I've seen quite a few unusual titles besides the most common ones. I recall Shihan as one, I think.
Oh, do share!

Shihan seems quite popular in the USA (the kanji characters for han and shi reversed), but I dont hear it very often in Europe and only occasionally in Japan. When Ive been in the company of two noted 8th Dan swordsmen (a Hanshi and a Kyoshi) Ive heard the kyoshi refer to the other as kancho (which Id only previously heard of in the context of that weird activity children and the immature get up to in Japan!). It seems, however, that Kancho means head of school (擗券).
 

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It seems, however, that Kancho means head of school (擗券).
"Most senior student" (guan chang). This is old Chinese for the most veteran fighter in a martial arts hall (guan/kwoon), usually the sifu.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Oh, do share!

Shihan seems quite popular in the USA (the kanji characters for han and shi reversed), but I dont hear it very often in Europe and only occasionally in Japan. When Ive been in the company of two noted 8th Dan swordsmen (a Hanshi and a Kyoshi) Ive heard the kyoshi refer to the other as kancho (which Id only previously heard of in the context of that weird activity children and the immature get up to in Japan!). It seems, however, that Kancho means head of school (擗券).
Kancho was the other one, I couldn't remember it. I've also heard English terms like master, grandmaster, greatgrandmaster, and chief greatgrandmaster. Whew.

My sensei is a kudan, hanshi. He prefers being called sensei. We're not too hung up on titles.
 

Gyakuto

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Kancho was the other one, I couldn't remember it. I've also heard English terms like master, grandmaster, greatgrandmaster, and chief greatgrandmaster. Whew.
Wouldnt you hate being referred to as master <cringe>
 

Oily Dragon

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Our senior student on the floor under black belt would be sempai, one who has gone before.
Student of the art, not the school itself. This is why CMA use family references rather than strict hierarchies.

In CMA, the master is also a student. Everyone is a student.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Student of the art, not the school itself. This is why CMA use family references rather than strict hierarchies.

In CMA, the master is also a student. Everyone is a student.
Yes, we are also all students in karate. After I teach kyu ranks, I'm the student in the yudansha class.
 

Oily Dragon

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Yes, we are also all students in karate. After I teach kyu ranks, I'm the student in the yudansha class.
There's a circular nature to the old style of martial teaching. Japan inherited it.

One of the words that works best in English is "venerated", being related to Venus, denotes the sort of devotional awe students have of their teachers.

It almost looks like a little chieftain.

1703599659864.png
 
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