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Neil Babbage
Neil Babbage's picture

If you join a club that's part of an association, where the association works to maintain standards, then your "grade" should be recognised across clubs. I don't mean that you just turm up and get awarded a new belt for doing nothing. People joining our club, which is a BCKA club, coming from another BCKA club that has an association approved syllabus, join at the "grade" they had in their previous club. However, they clearly need to retrain to our syllabus and be able to reach our standard before they advance, but we don't make them stand at the front and wear a white belt. We also don't force them into our way of doing the same thing where it is a style rather than substance difference. For example, if they come from a club that performs a particular kata in a slightly different way, we point out the differences but recognise that their way is equally correct.  In fact, we highly value people coming in with knowledge and skills that are different to what we teach and ruthlessly extract it from them to help build our own skills. So my advice (but take it with caution, I'm no expert) is to get yourself to a club that welcomes what you bring to them.

Les Bubka
Les Bubka's picture

I think that the Enshin Karate have a very good system for people who move from other style to theirs,

If you are a black belt you get a orange belt. Everyone in the organisation knows that you are a dan grade elsewhere and now you catching up with Enshin requirements. I’m thinking to do the same in my club, but I never had pressure for grades so it didn't  bother me who wears what. As during the training, skills speak for themselves. Now I have more students which are interested in belts and grading, so we are back to training in Gi and belts.

Tau's picture



Keanu Reeves receives an honorary black belt in Judo for his role as John Wick

Tau's picture

Tau wrote:

John, I don't know whether you caught it. I recently posted on Facebook that I'd received two dan grade certificates in the post from someone in Germany who I'd never heard of. On this forum I won't name names but I'll gladly PM anyone scans of the certificates. I was "awarded," if I recall a 5th Dan / Shihan in one system and a 6th Dan Shihan-Dai in another. The person sending them asked to join my organisation (I don't have an organisation, just some clubs) and I suspect was seeking promotion in grade from me. Needless to say I never replied. The Facebook thread showed that I certainly wasn't the first to receive grades from him. I advised to bin them. I kept them to show to my students for humour so they're in a pile of paperwork somewhere.

I got more of these in the post today. Same chap, same grade promotions. Still wants membership of my organisation.

Anf's picture

I like and mostly agree with everything I've read in this thread. On the point raised about dan grades choosing to go back to white belt if they change clubs/associations, I mostly like that. But there is a downside. Consider this real example that actually happened to someone I train with. This was a new lad. At the time he'd only been with us for 4 months, and that represented the entirety of his martial training at that time. Naturally he was at that stage useless as a fighter. But he'd got his first grade (in our system, that basically means the panel could at least recognise what he was trying to do) and had opted to enter a sparring competition in his age and grade group (ie absolute beginners). He got absolutely annihilated by a 'white belt'. He was genuinely upset and felt utterly worthless because he figured if that white belt could move with such speed and precision as he apparently did, then our friend should at least have some of that skill too, but he didn't. He felt completely outclassed by a lower grade and this really ground him down. He nearly gave up on the whole idea because he just felt unworthy. I did my best to reassure and encourage him but it want working. Then about a week later, a revelation emerged. The 'white belt' that had completely outclassed him actually had over 20 years experience in another style of karate. This kind of reassured our friend that maybe he wasn't just rubbish, but I was absolutely livid. To me, that 'white belt' was every bit the lying cheat that any false dan holder is. That 'white belt' knowingly entered a fighting competition at beginners rank and used his experience to destroy a genuine beginner.