GrandMaster Steve? Who qualifies as an authentic Grandmaster?

WaterGal

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I am not sure where the idea of creating different levels of black belt came from, although I am aware that Prof Jigoro Kano did promote some to 10th Dan grade in his life time. So, perhaps that also was an invention of Prof Kano. Any one know the true story behind Dan Grades?...

My understanding is that the 1st-10th dan rank system was borrowed from the game Go, which, much like chess, has a ranking system for players.
 

dvcochran

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My understanding is that the 1st-10th dan rank system was borrowed from the game Go, which, much like chess, has a ranking system for players.
Once again, a very good reason why this site needs to bring the informative button back. I have neither heard of the game Go or that it may be where the Dan belt system originated from.
 

john_newman

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Just to add to the argument, an experienced electrician who has been through the journeyman school is often referred to as a Master Electrician. This is a 10-12 year journey.
If a MA'ist has similar credentials (there are several metrics) and the salutation is, at the very least, proffered I see nothing wrong with it. Time is a Big factor to me.
Agree with you!!
 

clfsean

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In CMA ... Sifu/Shifu is top of the game. No need to blustered up nonsense from the Western mind & needs.

Even people I know here in Japan that have Shihan credentialing along with the extended designations like Renshi/Kyoshi/Hanshi ... they all just go by Sensei on the floor. That is volumes by itself.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Once again, a very good reason why this site needs to bring the informative button back. I have neither heard of the game Go or that it may be where the Dan belt system originated from.
It is a wonderful game, and the dan system is very useful for it. They've also got a kyu system, though I'm not 100% sure that's where judo got the kyu idea from (it makes sense that it would, i just have not heard people discuss those origins before).
 

seasoned

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In martial arts there are NO "masters", of anything, only students. Time spent and maturity with a huge dose of humility, will offer you the opportunity to teach other what you have learned and earned, through blood sweat and tears.....
Years ago as a white belt I asked my Sensei who would win in a real fight the boxer or the martial artist......he said "the humble one" because the other one is to busy talking....
 

Steve

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In martial arts there are NO "masters", of anything, only students. Time spent and maturity with a huge dose of humility, will offer you the opportunity to teach other what you have learned and earned, through blood sweat and tears.....
Years ago as a white belt I asked my Sensei who would win in a real fight the boxer or the martial artist......he said "the humble one" because the other one is to busy talking....
LOL. Tell that to Muhammed Ali. :D
 

Wing Woo Gar

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While many people referred to my sigung James Wing Woo as GM,(mostly a sect of kenpo/kempo) none of us that actually trained with him ever called him anything except Sifu Woo. He only referred to himself as Jim. I couldnt have more respect for him, and my Sifu, Paul Gale. Neither of them had any tolerance for bs titles. Sifu Woo would say always be a student, so that you keep learning. He would just say most of the masters arent really capable of doing anything anyway, and a belt is for holding up your pants.
 

lklawson

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In martial arts there are NO "masters", of anything, only students. Time spent and maturity with a huge dose of humility, will offer you the opportunity to teach other what you have learned and earned, through blood sweat and tears.....
Years ago as a white belt I asked my Sensei who would win in a real fight the boxer or the martial artist......he said "the humble one" because the other one is to busy talking....
I appreciate the sentiment. But I kinda don't agree. In the western tradition, the term is applied very much in the same way that "master" is applied in a Union. It represents a certain demonstrated skill, knowledge, and ability, documented by time, and skills tests & benchmarks. To say that there are no "masters" in martial arts might be akin to asserting that there is no such thing as a "Master Carpenter" or a "Master Electrician." I'm quite confident that the Carpenter's and Electrician's Unions would take exception to the notion. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Urban Trekker

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There's a taboo behind calling anyone "master" in the English language, for reasons we're all fully aware of.

I don't know of any arts that officially use such titles "master" and "grandmaster," but I'm sure they're exist. And I'm also sure that there are people who practice those very arts that will go around saying that "no one is a master."
 

Wing Woo Gar

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I appreciate the sentiment. But I kinda don't agree. In the western tradition, the term is applied very much in the same way that "master" is applied in a Union. It represents a certain demonstrated skill, knowledge, and ability, documented by time, and skills tests & benchmarks. To say that there are no "masters" in martial arts might be akin to asserting that there is no such thing as a "Master Carpenter" or a "Master Electrician." I'm quite confident that the Carpenter's and Electrician's Unions would take exception to the notion. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
I think it comes down to whether you have skill AND humility, or you just start calling yourself a title. When Sifu Woo passed away he had students that had been training with him for over 40 years. They continue to run his Kwoon 6 years later, none call themselves Sifu. Several are very skilled martial artists and quite competent teachers. Similarly, When my Sifu passed away, I and several other long term students took over running our school and teaching. I have been training almost 25 years, teaching for 7 years, and have yet to wear any title at all. I dont see any value in it. It doesnt mean anything at all necessarily. Call yourself captain or general or grand poobah for all I care.
 

dvcochran

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I appreciate the secntiment. But I kinda don't agree. In the western tradition, the term is applied very much in the same way that "master" is applied in a Union. It represents a certain demonstrated skill, knowledge, and ability, documented by time, and skills tests & benchmarks. To say that there are no "masters" in martial arts might be akin to asserting that there is no such thing as a "Master Carpenter" or a "Master Electrician." I'm quite confident that the Carpenter's and Electrician's Unions would take exception to the notion. :)

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
Fully agree but I believed @seasoned was saying it philosophically, which I also agree with. Once a person stops learning, or at least striving to learn they will regress.
 

lklawson

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There's a taboo behind calling anyone "master" in the English language, for reasons we're all fully aware of.

I don't know of any arts that officially use such titles "master" and "grandmaster," but I'm sure they're exist. And I'm also sure that there are people who practice those very arts that will go around saying that "no one is a master."
I am not sure that is as universal as is implied here. There are countless examples, in the English language, in the U.S., of people being referred to as "master," to represent an attained skill level or rank. This ranges from the common and utilitarian, such as "Master Sergeant," "Master Chief," "Master of Ceremonies," "Master at Arms," "Master Carpenter," and "Range Master," to the fictional, silly, and whimsical, such as when the Marvel MCU movies character Ancient One refers to various sorcerers as "Master [name]."

It's dead common and shows up in the English language all the time, even in martial arts.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

lklawson

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I think it comes down to whether you have skill AND humility, or you just start calling yourself a title. When Sifu Woo passed away he had students that had been training with him for over 40 years. They continue to run his Kwoon 6 years later, none call themselves Sifu. Several are very skilled martial artists and quite competent teachers. Similarly, When my Sifu passed away, I and several other long term students took over running our school and teaching. I have been training almost 25 years, teaching for 7 years, and have yet to wear any title at all. I dont see any value in it. It doesnt mean anything at all necessarily. Call yourself captain or general or grand poobah for all I care.
You don't have to be humble to be good at what you do, and that includes practicing and teaching martial arts. With utterances such as "I am the greatest!" and "Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee," Muhammad Ali wasn't particularly humble. The man had his own cartoon for cry'n out loud. But he was freaking good.

But being humble usually makes it nicer for the students.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Oily Dragon

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There's a taboo behind calling anyone "master" in the English language, for reasons we're all fully aware of.

I don't know of any arts that officially use such titles "master" and "grandmaster," but I'm sure they're exist. And I'm also sure that there are people who practice those very arts that will go around saying that "no one is a master."
It's for this reason I refer to none of my kung fu teachers as "master". I don't want to give them the wrong impression, like I want them to tie me up. Sifu/Sigung are fine and pleasantly traditional.

But in reality, it's not that difficult to master a skill. Time and effort and discipline. So everyone can be a master.

Whether or not you call yourself a master, or others do, is the key difference between true mastery of a subject and self-imagining as a master. People seek out masters all the time (like the master electrician or the master chef). But if you're gonna call yourself a master chef, you better be able to show off your cooking chops.

I don't ever want to be considered a master of kung fu. Too much burden, and far happier just being a disciple with more work to do.
 

Oily Dragon

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Case in point, Bruce Leroy.

He had the training, the skills, and by the end of the movie, he had the Glow.

But when Sho Nuff asks him "Who's the master" the final time, Bruce doesn't say "I am" because he just thinks that. He says it because his own sifu had told him that at the beginning. It took the whole movie for him to realize it.

When your teacher tells you you're a master, go with it. "When the student is ready, the master will appear".

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Steve

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But if you're gonna call yourself a master chef, you better be able to show off your cooking chops.
I don't know. If there was more of this in some martial arts styles, those styles would be better. When folks who have never been in a fight speak with authority about what a "real" fight entails, it would be nice for them to in some way back those statements up with more than arrogance.
 

Urban Trekker

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I am not sure that is as universal as is implied here. There are countless examples, in the English language, in the U.S., of people being referred to as "master," to represent an attained skill level or rank. This ranges from the common and utilitarian, such as "Master Sergeant," "Master Chief," "Master of Ceremonies," "Master at Arms," "Master Carpenter," and "Range Master," to the fictional, silly, and whimsical, such as when the Marvel MCU movies character Ancient One refers to various sorcerers as "Master [name]."

It's dead common and shows up in the English language all the time, even in martial arts.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
Understood, I but I said calling someone "master." As in using it as a term of address.

I've served in the Navy, but I'm retired Air Force. The rank of Master Chief you gave is a good example of what I'll talk about. The full name of that rank is "Master Chief Petty Officer." Notice how, as a form of address, it's shortened to "Master Chief" and not simply "Master."

You'll find this to be the case in all branches of the military, but there is a slight exception in the Air Force: in informal settings, the rank of Master Sergeant is sometimes referred to as "master" in casual discussion, but only when referring to it in the third person. For example "I know her. She got promoted to 'master' last week." But it's never used as a form of address. Either the full rank, or just "Sergeant." The Marine Corps, on the other hand, always requires the full rank.

Interesting thing about the Air Force: For Chief Master Sergeant, "Chief" has always been used for short. For Senior Master Sergeant, the Air Force recently started allowing "Senior" for short, since people were doing it anyway - even when they weren't supposed to.

Will the Air Force ever allow Master Sergeants to be addressed as simply "Master?" I seriously doubt it.
 

Oily Dragon

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I don't know. If there was more of this in some martial arts styles, those styles would be better. When folks who have never been in a fight speak with authority about what a "real" fight entails, it would be nice for them to in some way back those statements up with more than arrogance.
Could you imagine if the culinary world was full of self-reported "masters"? Or worse, the electrician world. Hiring a wiring guy would be like playing with TNT.

It's as if they figured out this problem long ago...with cookoffs and standards for excellence.

Martial artists who consider themselves above such things, I think we both know how little they contribute.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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You don't have to be humble to be good at what you do, and that includes practicing and teaching martial arts. With utterances such as "I am the greatest!" and "Float like a butterfly; sting like a bee," Muhammad Ali wasn't particularly humble. The man had his own cartoon for cry'n out loud. But he was freaking good.

But being humble usually makes it nicer for the students.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 
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