Transferring Grades Between Clubs

kiai

Yellow Belt
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
28
Reaction score
0
Hi guys,

A few years ago, I attained a brown belt in a particular karate style, at which point I soon after stopped (guess it was that age in my teens). Recently, I have taken up a different karate style, and started fresh from white belt. I didn't ask for any kind of grade transfer in my new club - I felt out of touch with my karate and felt I didn't deserve a high grade anyway (starting to get back in my stride though :)

I'm not completely sure on the competition prospects I'll have in this club (not sure of its organisational affiliations etc.) - say I was to get a black belt (or perhaps even just brown) in my new club, would it be likely possible for me to be able to transfer my grade to, say, a Shotokan style so I can compete in tournaments? (But not necessarily leave my club, I'm most interested in just having an opportunity to compete)

My only thought is that it would suck for me to start at white belt a 3rd time (well, 3rd as in when training seriously with a particular club) - I'm humble enough to accept a start from scratch right now, but there surely does come a point (3rd time?) that it just seems like I'm in a ridiculous cycle and getting nowhere. And it's not even that, it's that I might not necessarily want to train for years in a separate shotokan club just to be eligible to take part in particular tournaments

Cheers!
 

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
Well, for what it's worth. If you came to train with me I would expect you to start with a white belt while I assessed you. If you came from a similar style and had reasonable ability, and demonstrated that you were picking up the new style I might invite you to wear your belt from your previous school. You would then wear that belt for as long as it takes to be ready to grade in your new style. In the past I have allowed a 3rd dan Aikidoka to start with me, nominally as provisional Shodan Ho. He didn't stay long enough to grade but I felt that respected his past dedication to training.

However, if your style was different and you were struggling to keep up, I would start you as a white belt and grade you as you progressed, quite possibly at an accelerated rate.

Then again, when I started aikido, I wore a white belt and now, in my 5th year I still have the same white belt. Years ago I transferred to another Goju club that had broken away from my original style. Back to white belt again and normal progression.

So really, there is no simple answer. You accept the ruling of the club you transfer to.
 

harlan

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Messages
886
Reaction score
42
Location
Massachusetts
The way I look at it, it would depend on what style/club you were representing at a tourney. For example, old karate club and kata particular to it, I'd wear the previous rank. Current club and kata, current rank. (As for the current club not participating in tournaments, doesn't mean you can't go solo.)Joining a third club solely for tournament purposes, same there. If repping a style/club the rank should be consistent with the time studying there.

A goju BB performing Shotokan kata would look odd to the eye, and if teaching the third club, I'm not sure I'd support it. For example, I see a lot of BB's in empty hand styles performing kobudo with kyu understanding.
 

Grenadier

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2005
Messages
10,826
Reaction score
617
The ultimate determinant is what the school owner says. If he wants you to start over as a white belt, then that's what it must be. If he wants you to use your previous rank, then so be it.

For me, it depends on how close the systems are. If another Shotokan practitioner comes in, then I would expect him to wear the same ranking in my school, although he would still have to test for his current rank for it to be official with my school.

If a dan ranking holder from a style closely related, such as Wado Ryu, I'd invite him to unofficially use his brown belt, and then fast-track him to take the shodan exam.

If it's from a significantly different system, then I would ask him to start at white belt, with the realization that he's going to progress through the ranks much more quickly than someone who did not have experience. In the end, it could be that he'll attain the shodan ranking as quickly as the above fellow, depending on his dedication.
 

Blindside

Grandmaster
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2001
Messages
5,152
Reaction score
823
Location
Kennewick, WA
I'm not completely sure on the competition prospects I'll have in this club (not sure of its organisational affiliations etc.) - say I was to get a black belt (or perhaps even just brown) in my new club, would it be likely possible for me to be able to transfer my grade to, say, a Shotokan style so I can compete in tournaments? (But not necessarily leave my club, I'm most interested in just having an opportunity to compete)

With regard to how I recognize rank from outside the school I am pretty much on the same page as the previous posters.

With competition I would have you compete at the brown belt level, even if you were wearing a white belt in my class, you would wear your old one for competition. Anything less could give the impression that I am having students that are sandbagging the tournament.
 
OP
K

kiai

Yellow Belt
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
28
Reaction score
0
Thanks for the insights guys :)

Although I stopped attending the old club years ago, I do see the ethical issues regarding which division I should be entered into, being awared 3rd kyu in another style (albeit a few years ago). Funny actually, I feel at my new club that my knowledge/experience are consequently a little out of sync with my physical fitness (causing me to feel like death during a class, seeing as I'm giving the same power/effort I always used as 3rd kyu before, but lacking the stamina this time round..!) Starting to get back into the physical swing of things though, almost doing the splits again :)

In terms of accelerated grading, they're done every quarter, and most people in the club tend to be eligible for their next belt (at least in lower-mid grades) so I'm not sure how my progress could be accelerated without a double-grading. I'd like to ask the sensei what criteria I need to fulfill to double-grade in future, although I'm a little concerned with appearing disrespectful/big-headed.

Edit: Regarding tournaments by the way, harlan mentioned about being able to partake in tournaments solo - which respectable tournaments would this apply to? I would imagine many require being a member of a club in its associated organisation --- just spotted UK NAS (United Kingdom National All Styles), this looks like something I could enter! Anyone have any thoughts on NAS? (I have heard it is swamped with GKR karateka, I'm not sure whether that means anything for the organisation's credibility)
 
Last edited:

Sojobo

Green Belt
Joined
Sep 5, 2010
Messages
181
Reaction score
24
It is the school/group that issues the kyu/dan grades, not the martial art (or even style within a given martial art).

Put simply, if you can satisfy the technical pre-requisites of the school/group (as determined by the person(s) authorised to do so within said school/group), then you should be able to transfer your grade.

This process may involve a period of time for said person(s) to fully see your abilities and probably and examination, and given that expectations are different within schools may be hard.

Sojobo
 

harlan

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Messages
886
Reaction score
42
Location
Massachusetts
Sorry. The original post simply stated 'particular' tournaments. My mind...thought you were talking local stuff. No idea about 'respectable'. ;)

Regarding tournaments by the way, harlan mentioned about being able to partake in tournaments solo - which respectable tournaments would this apply to? I would imagine many require being a member of a club in its associated organisation --- just spotted UK NAS (United Kingdom National All Styles), this looks like something I could enter! Anyone have any thoughts on NAS? (I have heard it is swamped with GKR karateka, I'm not sure whether that means anything for the organisation's credibility)
 

Victor Smith

Blue Belt
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
254
Reaction score
23
Location
New Hampshire, USA
I'm not sure any tournaments are respectable, I have way too many stories.

Here in the states many of the open tournaments only want your money, and you don't have to have your school or instructor present to compete.

If you're in a new school, hopefully the instructor would rank you for competition appropriately.

If your competing on your own, it would be best to attend the tournament first to determine where you belong.

Way in the past some schools required 10 - 15 years to qualify for black belt. So they'd have green belts with 8 years training competing with people with 1 1/2 years. Guess who was likely to win? And that was respectable..... go figure.
 

SenseiMattKlein

White Belt
Joined
Nov 8, 2010
Messages
18
Reaction score
0
Location
Sydney, Australia
I only reluctantly accept students from other systems. Have had nothing but problems with this. Bad habits formed that are impossible to correct. Refusal to learn our way. Sense of entitlement about rank. Arrogant "my old sensei said this is the way to do that". Thinking they are better than my other students. Very few success stories from it, I don't recommend it.
 

Victor Smith

Blue Belt
Joined
Dec 22, 2006
Messages
254
Reaction score
23
Location
New Hampshire, USA
I've never turned down students with previous training and have accepted up to 3rd dans into my program.

First I clearly explain what I'm working towards, show how we do it, encourage them to do something else closer to what they had trained before, and if they join they understand it's not the belt, they only begin from the beginning. Even for other Isshinryu stylists. I only teach my way and while I encourage them to practice their previous art, just not in our class.

I've never had the arrogance issue because they can't do it our way no matter who they are, its not a kata but a specific underlying structure behind everything.

Those who find our approach interesting have stayed a long time.

It's not an issue so much of bad habits, just different training impressed on their nervous system which they can't delete. More work for them and never 100% mine but a working relationship still builds.

The other issues haven't occurred simply because they get no option to occur.

It is far more work for me but that's what I'm not paid for in the end.
 

SenseiMattKlein

White Belt
Joined
Nov 8, 2010
Messages
18
Reaction score
0
Location
Sydney, Australia
I've never turned down students with previous training and have accepted up to 3rd dans into my program.

First I clearly explain what I'm working towards, show how we do it, encourage them to do something else closer to what they had trained before, and if they join they understand it's not the belt, they only begin from the beginning. Even for other Isshinryu stylists. I only teach my way and while I encourage them to practice their previous art, just not in our class.

I've never had the arrogance issue because they can't do it our way no matter who they are, its not a kata but a specific underlying structure behind everything.

Those who find our approach interesting have stayed a long time.

It's not an issue so much of bad habits, just different training impressed on their nervous system which they can't delete. More work for them and never 100% mine but a working relationship still builds.

The other issues haven't occurred simply because they get no option to occur.

It is far more work for me but that's what I'm not paid for in the end.
Don't get me wrong, Victor. I usually accept them as I am known as a bit of a softy. And we have had some success stories, but it usually does not end well. Like you say, different training which they cannot delete. But in many cases, it is just plain wrong. When you want a side kick and they are doing crescent kicks, it is pretty obvious that what they were taught, or their interpretation of it, was incorrect. Some are able to correct it, some not. Many quit in frustration.
 

Never_A_Reflection

Blue Belt
Joined
Jun 13, 2007
Messages
229
Reaction score
29
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I was allowed to keep my rank from Shuri-Ryu (sankyu) when I joined my Shorin-Ryu dojo last year. The basic techniques have a few slight differences but are mostly the same, so I am just having to learn the curriculum of Shorin-Ryu (kata, bunkai, yakusoku kumite, etc.) until I am caught up to my Shuri-Ryu rank. My Sensei says he couldn't have put me with white belts because my technique and level of understanding was too high for a white belt, so he let me keep my brown belt.

As for tournaments, you can compete in tournaments regardless of your rank, so I don't think you have to wait. If you think that you compete at a brown belt level then you should ask your current Sensei if that would be okay for you to do. Just remember that when you compete people will be judging not only you, but your Sensei, so what you do should be representative of your level of training.
 

Gorilla

Master of Arts
Joined
Jul 29, 2009
Messages
1,759
Reaction score
44
Location
Las Vegas
My kids situation in even more complex. They started training in Shotokan about nine months ago. They are BB in Kukkiwon TKD and are highly involved WTF Sport TKD. They are also going to start a competition career in WKF/NKF Karate. They will compete nin both sports. Their Sensei gave them a 3 month rating period with another High Ranking Sensei also evaluated them after that period he advised them what belt to wear. As far as I can tell they have been accepted in the Dojo. This was a very good process. They will be fighting at the US Open in Vegas in April.
 
Top