Martial Arts for a modern era
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Rank & Titles
Colored belts have been used in Martial Arts for many years. For some history and understanding of why and for the full listing of the colors used for belts with in the Soma-kai system please click on the link below.
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What is in a name?
Shodai, Sensei, Mr, Mrs, Dr, Sir and many more are just titles that people have. Rank is only relevant within the organization that recognizes it. We prefer no rank to inflated rank. It is the person that makes the belt, not the other way around. Personally, we pay little attention to how much rank we attain in any system - so long as we are learning and progressing. We’d just prefer to toss out all rank in the dojo and teach with shorts and a t-shirt on if we detected that rank in our school was more important than the learning process. After all, even without rank, the students all know who the Sensei (Teacher), is and who the Senpai (Students) are.
It is quite evident from the moment you enter our school "there are only two positions on the floor - that of the student and that of the teacher. "We happy to be both, at different times throughout the year". We regard having rank in karate a two=way perspective;
All those that have a higher rank than we do will find us at work earning their respect, All those that have a lower rank than us, will find us hard at work to earn their respect. Since we will be at work doing our best to earn respect from our fellow martial artists, we rarely take the time to distinguish those who are either of higher or lower rank than us.
The only individual of rank that we will always respond to is our direct Sensei, our answer therefore is "OSU Sensei - we will try harder" Bear in mind that rank brings a responsability to keep on striving, keep on moving toward the state of perfection, that by definition, continues to remain always on the horizon.
To Shodai's Kym and Peter "The true essence of Karate is not about rank, kata, style, or even who’s the best. It represents a pathway to a more fulfilling life through forging an inner peace in the blazing furnace of one's soul." .One of the most important lessons for an instructor to learn is that not all students will reach Black Belt. In fact, one of the last things on a students mind when they start a martial art is actually getting their Black Belt. Most people start training in martial arts to develop fitness, to meet friends, to learn self-defence or to develop some confidence in themselves.
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