Belts / Rank

No denying "rank" is a much sought after commodity at most combat-themed dojos. This pursuit, however motivated, is intrinsically misguided. In reality the determiner of your rank is not whether you know the techniques your rank demands, but whether or not you can perform them! If attacked, having a magical artical of clothing in your possession- the mythical black belt- will not help you to survive.


Often times members return from a long absence a little rusty and can inadvertantly injure another member. This is not acceptable behavior. The volunteer (uke) should not have to sacrifice their safety for another to "work their kinks out" on. Further returning members usually are not yet re-accustomed to the pace and intensity of regular class and can suffer injuries due to misjudgement.


So in the interest of safety for all of our members present and returning we have instated the following policy to better monitor and insure the ongoing fitness, proficiency and safety of our members:


All future and past members returning after an absence of two years or more have rank priviledges suspended until a Tetsunami Certification Board review. These priviledges include all authority over junior members i.e., class leadership and seniorship responsibilities, for a time to be determined by the board. This policy includes holders of teacher's certificates and their clearance to teach in our schools.


In addition, all members including private, past and present must pass all examinations and evaluations and be board certified to wear colored belt honorably.


Finally, any rank not obtained through the Ironwave Rank & Promotions board is subject to evaluation and examination before that rank can be recognized by the Ironwave Organization. However, any member can wear which ever color belt they like as long as they remember they will receive the treatment that rank deserves!


Members can view all Belt Test Requirements here.


The Black Belt Story

A young man travels from school to school looking for instant knowledge from different Martial Art Masters. Each time he has an audience with a master he asks, “How long would it take to earn a Black Belt in your system?” Each time the masters reply, “Three to five years.” Each time the he begins to study with a master for a short period of time and adopts some of their techniques and then moves on believing he as has learned enough. At this time he would demand a Black Belt because he felt he had become equal to his masters. Each master would reply, “No, you are not ready.” So the young man would go to yet another master and the same situation would repeat itself until he came across a world-renown master. The young man asked the same question to this great master. The master informed the young man that it would take 5-10 years for him to earn a Black Belt, which was much longer than other masters had told him. The young man asked the master, “Why does it take more time to learn your skills than any of the other masters?” The great master answered, “It takes a short time to learn fighting skills, but it takes a long time to be a true martial artist and know how, when, where and why you are fighting. ”So the young man asked, “If I worked twice as hard as the other students, how long would it take?”


The great master replied, “It will take only a short time, shorter than any other master has told you in the past.” And a great smile appeared on the young man’s face. The young man with such enthusiasm said, “I will do anything that you want me to do for a black belt.” The master said, “I want you to go on a journey to see Mr. Lee, an old friend of mine.” The young man asked, “Where must I go, my master?” So, the nervous young man went on his journey. As he reached the end of his journey, he realized that his destination was Lee’s Martial Art Supply Store.


Mr. Lee said, “I have what you want. I have a sale on Black Belts for $3.99.” The confused young man went back to the master and asked him what was the meaning of this. The master replied, “YOU wanted a fast way to obtain a Black Belt. That was the fastest way I knew.”


“Instant gratification is not a true way of the Martial Arts!”


Many people are misled by false illusions from Hollywood martial arts movies. They think that it is very easy to obtain wisdom, knowledge and rank in a very short period of time. This is not the case (with a true master) in the real world.


Story and Quote:

Hanshi Anton S. A. Muhammad