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Okay, I am not casting aspersions on anyone, or doubting anyone's credentials. I am just puzzled. Occasionally I'll come across someone on the internet whose list of credentials looks something like this (this is purely a hypothetical person):

John Doe:

10th Dan Hapkido
10th Dan Freestyle Karate
10th Dan Taekwondo
10th Dan Jeet Kun Do
7th Dan Danzan Ryu Jujitsu
6th Dan Judo
3rd Dan Arnis

How is this even possible? I can see myself having shodan or nidan ranks in two or three arts within some years, but I'd be very happy if I made it to 5th dan in a single art in my lifetime, and I'm a fairly dedicated student. Of course I got started late, but still, the only way I can see someone achieving such ranks would be if he began as a child in multiple arts, and never stopped. For example there's a 16 year old girl in my class who is a brown belt in both Kenpo and Jujitsu. She began at the age of 8. She has become inconsistent in her studies lately, but if she got back into it seriously she might achieve master level in both arts by the age of 30 or so.

Or, if someone spent ten to twenty years in full time study of martial arts, with no need to work or raise a family, maybe I could see all those master level ranks happening.

What am I missing here? How is this possible?

Tags: 10th, arts, dan, master, multiple

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I didn't know JKD even used the guep/dan system...something about that just doesn't sound right ;)

Anything is possible, you can get any dan rank you like (albeit not necessarily from any issuer you like) if you've got the cash.

Personally I don't subscribe to the whole "master" idea anymore, but it's perfectly possible to achieve teaching credentials (typically 4th dan level in most KMA) in as much as three different arts within a 30-40 year long MA "career" if you have reasonable instructors, who don't hold back on promotions as long as you perform adequately. That would however, as you point out, require a lot of time invested in practice and maintenance. Most people who are multiple 4th or above dans in wildly different MAs have simply bought their way up, or in some cases have been given honorary rank. There's also quite a bit of dan shopping going on, people will jump from one organization to the next, often being awarded a promotion upon joining.
I understand where u are coming from Wael. I have seen people in their 30s and 40s with multiple high ranks in various martial arts. I have seen some extremely questionable credentials. I myself have trained in over 9 different arts, but there is a valid reason for that. My father was military and every few years we transferred to another base. More often than not we were not able to find the same art.

Then in high school I just couldn't seem to train enough. Kinda like crack!!! Just couldn't get my fix. But I only hold rank and certification in one art.

But if you really want high ranks in multiple arts then there are plenty of people out there who are willing to give them to you for a price. Some people may even require training at seminars. But I put nothing into seminar certifications myself.
I'm not saying I want high ranks in multiple arts. I really don't care about that. I've just seen the claims and wondered how it was possible. I understand how multiple black belts are possible, but multiple 10th dans? That just seems crazy.
Well... it's hard being an idealist in such a cynical and opportunistic world. People buying their way up, hawking seminar black belts...
Do you know that at one time I was offered to teach for a studio and since I had a second degree in HKD back then they offered me a first in TKD as well. They were a TKD/HKD school.
I even ran into a school once that said that Hapkido was nothing more than advanced TKD. I had my 4th at the time. I never told them who I was. I just listened to their version of the truth and walked out. This school isn't around anymore.
First of nice topic, great question, great points
but for me I started around 6 the organisation had judo, hapkido, ITF and WTF taekwon and kumdo. Our sister organisation has the same plus karate our great grand masters are 9th in all. But! they started as children in korea everyday for the past 60yrs. the only ppl that hold the next ranks are I think 6th no one above that and there really only one art because they joined the org. a few yrs ago and came with the dan rank. Only but a few have a 5dan in each but i think they started young. I continued to advance in tkd because i went to my org. seminars and basically substitute teached when needed other times i was deployed. But stayed up on my skill.

But still this fictional guy up there must be superman and in his 60's
Can you tell me the name of the organization? WTF and ITF usually don't mix well.
haha sorry
WTF is world taekowndo federation/ kukkiwon/세계 태권도 연맹/ 국기원
ITF is international taekwondo federation/국제 태권도 연맹/ or hongs
General Choi Hong Hi is the founder of taekwondo
Ahhh, I believe you may have misunderstood slightly. I'm quite familiar with the abbreviations. My question was concerned with earning rank in both of these organizations, as that is quite unusual (at least doing it simultaneously).
i saw one video on you tube about instructor Mark Techinalp where the video mentions that Mark originally taught Traditional Karate but had a complete change of style. He now runs a self defence classes which are very informal indeed. he says "there is no style because in the real world of self defence you can't afford to be limited by a perticular style. I don't use any kind of grading system because i found under closer scrutiny, the grading system is purely arbitrary and it does not relate to the outside world. It seems like the grading system in japan was developed for school children in order to keep their interests going."

In context of competitions in martial arts he says " my real competition is on self improvement, and competing with myself and not picking up trophies."


I guess there could be some genuinely great martial artists who in their real interest of learning best of many arts actually get involved deeply into learning various styles and various ranks comes to them as a bye product. but there could be some who are either self proclaimed black belts or product of some below average schools.

I personally endorse the views of mr Mark.
Well I see his point, but in reality it helps to have a grading system so that students can measure their progress, and it certainly helps to have a set curriculum so that you can make sure you are teaching everything and not leaving anything out. This is especially true with a style like Hapkido that has a vast repertoire.

For Karate, yes, it might be fine to teach it in a very informal way, since it's a very simple style and is primarily about developing speed and power in a small battery of techniques, through sheer repetition.
yes. i agree on that from teaching perspective completely.

But what he and i endorse is that for a mature martial artist there should always be a realistic real life meaning attached to this grading which in reality it is not always seen. I have seen many martial artist in "ritualistic" way of learning the art. which means their focus is on learning the katas as moves and not trying to understand meaning of every move, every action. yet as a gradation system he/she may excel in performing the right kata for the right belt.

I have seen preety high ranking belt students with no "intent" in sparring. i have no doubt that in real life the effect of adranaline would make this persons forget all that is learnt in dojo.

so the question is do most of the schools take into account various angles of defence while deciding the criterias for their gradings? or is it more like example... 4 punches, 2 kicks - yellow belt, 4 katas - 3 difficult next level kicks - green belt...so on and so forth...

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