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Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1783
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 12:03 pm    Post subject: Ranks in a School with Multiple Styles Reply with quote

What a title, right?

When I was taking Matsumura Seito Shorin-Ryu growing up, a part of the program was Shorinji-Ryu. My Sensei's Sensei held a rank in both MSSR and SR as did his Sensei as did Soken. The style grew to a point where the programs were merged and you were required to be proficient in both to rank up, but there was no ceremony stating both. I never thought anything of it, and still don't think of it all that much. Karate is karate and as long as I enjoy doing it and continue learning new things they could keep me white belt for all I care.

However, my Shobayashi school teaches a full Shudokan curriculum alongside Shobayashi-Ryu, to the point that it has been formalized and is correct to say that we are learning both systems (whereas growing up we only really ever said we did MSSR and mentioned Shorinji-Ryu if someone wanted to know more about the system). This got me ruminating on the technicalities of the language that goes in to ranks (I have an M.A. in English, so I find myself thinking about this kind of stuff a lot, as it happens). Is it correct to say that people who learn two distinct systems that were merged have two ranks? By which I mean, two separate systems that are unique enough within the dojo to say that you did two, not hybrid systems where we've assimilated what we like from this-or-that other system. For example, I think that few people who have a Shodan in Shorin-Ryu would say that they had a Shodan in Shuri-te, it's parent system.

Anyway, if you've encountered this before, either because it's familiar to you personally or you've seen schools that do this, do you consider their rank to be in both? Am I a Shodan in MSSR and Shorinji-Ryu? Are the Shodans and above at my current dojo ranked thusly in both Shobayashi-Ryu and Shudokan?
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
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Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1871

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds a lot like many Okinawan karate dojo where kobudo is also taught with its own curriculum. The two used to be taught separately but for economic/profit reasons many if not most Okinawan sensei will also teach some kobudo. So it is possible to have different ranks or the same rank in both if your dojo teaches a full kobudo curriculum besides karate and you started at the same time. In my case the dojo is strictly karate and my instructor does not teach weapons/kobudo although he is highly proficient in several weapons.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15453
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2021 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Is it correct to say that people who learn two distinct systems that were merged have two ranks?

Anyway, if you've encountered this before, either because it's familiar to you personally or you've seen schools that do this, do you consider their rank to be in both? Am I a Shodan in MSSR and Shorinji-Ryu? Are the Shodans and above at my current dojo ranked thusly in both Shobayashi-Ryu and Shudokan?

I'd say that the answer to these are dependent and defined by the CI strictly and primarily.

In Shindokan, we've separate rankings and curriculum for our Karate-do and Kubodo whereas they both don't start at the same time; Kubodo starts at 6th Kyu.



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bushido_man96
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28973
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2021 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds to me like you do hold rank in two styles.
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Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1783
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2021 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
I'd say that the answer to these are dependent and defined by the CI strictly and primarily.


I generally agree with this, and it's something that came to mind after a class and the next time I'm in class is tomorrow, when I will be able to actually ask. That said, I wonder at what point the system ceases being two systems and is just something that the CI has started on their own. If the teacher is teaching Shobayashi and Shudokan and holds that he only gives rank in Shobayashi, where do we say that he teaches neither but a system developed from both?

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
That sounds a lot like many Okinawan karate dojo where kobudo is also taught with its own curriculum.


I feel this is different. I, as with most people, learned Okinawan Kobudo with MSSR, but I would not say that my education in OK is as rigorous or structured as someone who was going to an OK school. I learned 2 bo kata, a sai kata, and a nunchaku kata. Outside of those, the training with the weapons happened few and far between and we generally did not break them out with any regularity unless there was a test coming up.

bushido_man96 wrote:
It sounds to me like you do hold rank in two styles.


This is my inclination as well, as much as it generally doesn't add anything besides a proverbial line to the CV of my martial arts journey.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15453
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2021 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
It sounds to me like you do hold rank in two styles.

It does, doesn't it?! I've never thought of that before, even though we do have 2 distinct curriculums with their own rankings.



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Wastelander
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Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2552
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2021 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mean, essentially you have rank in whatever your instructor says you have rank in, whether it makes sense or not, lol.

To me, if you are training two different styles, and being ranked in one while doing some cross-training with another and blending that in, you're still ranked in just the one style. If you're training two styles that have been fully blended together into one style that you are being ranked in, then you have rank in just the one style, not its parent styles. If you're training in two styles that are completely separate and distinct from each other, you have rank in whichever of those you're being tested for rank in, so either one or both.

With your situation--and I may be misinterpreting this--it sounds as though you are training two separate systems, but the ranking is done as a whole? With that being the case, I would probably say that you have rank in two styles, even if that only comes with one belt and certificate, so long as that certificate of rank says you trained in both of those styles.

Semantics are weird
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Zaine
Black Belt
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Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1783
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2021 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wastelander wrote:
Semantics are weird


Hey, the topic of semantics is basically my M.A. It's super weird.

I agree with what you're saying here. In my case, then and now, it was distinct. We had MSSR things that we had to know and Shorinji things that we had to know and while they were often blended down the line they were distinct.
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Nidan Melbourne
KF Sempai
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Joined: 21 Aug 2013
Posts: 2277
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me it would appear that you do hold rank in Two Seperate arts.
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Zaine
Black Belt
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Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1783
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ended up talking to my current dojo about it and they do hold that we learn two separate systems and our tests are for both. So the sensei that I work the most with, for example, is a Nidan in Shobayashi and Shudokan. I didn't reach out to my original instructor because doing so sounded like a bad time.
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