Ranks And Standards

What is a martial art rank? I define the term as being; “1. the official standing than an individual holds within the martial art community. 2. the official standing than an individual holds within some form, or style, of armed combat or unarmed combat“. Allranks, whether symbolized through the use of belts, sashes, or symbolized in some other manner, are awarded according to the subjective attachments of those who adhere to the ideologies and practices they follow. To be clear, there is no style or martial art association that’s recognized by government officials in any country. Knowing this should raise a number of questions. 1) Who is responsible for creating the standards associated with the ideologies and practices imparted to students? 2. What does each rank actually symbolize? 3. Are the standards based on delusional based concepts or reality based concepts?

Well, let me take a few moments to address these questions. To answer the first question, it’s usually the founder of the style that creates the standards associated with the awarded ranks. This raises a question within a question. Who made the first master of the style a master? The answer is simple, the founder did. Even the first martial art master in the Shaolin Temple had to do that. It’s the founder of each style that must take on the responsibility of creating the standards associated with the ranks being awarded. Needless to say, the standards associated with the ranks in each style can vary – and vary they do. To answer the second question, ranks usually symbolize the attainment of knowledge and/or the development of skill. However, this does not hold true in all cases. I have seen people awarded ranks just because time has lapsed by – a means of  acknowledging the student’s devotion. This practice of awarding ranks is not as uncommon as one might think.

To answer the third question, there are ranks in the martial art community associated with delusional based ideologies and ranks associated with reality based ideologies and practices. This raises another question. How does one tell the difference between the two? The answer is simple and very measurable. Delusional based ideologies can neither be abstracted or actualized in the real world. Only reality based ideologies and practices can be abstracted and actualized on this planet. At the end of the day, they’re just standards. My stand on the issue is simple, if the students of a style are happy then I’m happy for them. In closing, let’s not be to critical – maybe a little acceptance of their right to choose is good. After all, it is their life experience.

Brian K Leishman

Please note that some terms do not have a rollover definition. This is due to the context in which the terms are being used. I can not refer to the meaning that other styles may attach to some terms.

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Posted on August 23, 2012, in Ranks. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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