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Shotokannon
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 30 Mar 2015
Posts: 65
Location: West Midlands, UK
Styles: Okinawan Karate, Shotokan, Traditional Jujutsu

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:49 pm    Post subject: Starting a club at 1st dan Reply with quote

Hi Everyone,

I am a 2nd kyu, and thinking about making preparations so that I can start my own club once I reach 1st Dan, maybe in a year's time or longer.

I was wondering if I could get an insight into this from other people who may have done the same thing, I have some limited teaching experience and would like to develop that, I have heard stories that you should not begin teaching until at least 3rd dan.

What's your take on this?
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14336
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 3rd Dan isn't a requirement, but more of advice. Reason for the 3rd Dan is so that a student can be promoted to 1st Dan without having to go to the governing body or go to another instructor holding that 3rd Dan.

A 1st Dan can only promote to 2nd Kyu. That is, of course, providing what's in the charter of that governing bodies By-Laws.

I've known 1st Kyu's who have opened their own dojo's and are still running a successful dojo. How so?

Well, let's look at the 1st Dan example. You, being that 1st Dan, will have a student body, and over time, you'll have students that will approach their own testing cycle for 1st Dan, and that's good, it's suppose to happen that way. The good news is that by the time any of your students are standing before you for their 1st Dan testing cycle, you'll easily have reached that 3rd Dan.

Break that down, and if you, as well as your student pass every testing cycle, on general terms from 10th Kyu to 1st Dan, for example, takes on an average of about 5 years, give or take a year or two on either side, and on these general terms, you'll have went from 1st Dan to 3rd Dan, and possibly to 4th Dan. Now, you can promote any of your students to 1st Dan all by yourself, and without any other instructor and/or governing body assistance of any type.

I waited until I was promoted to 3rd Dan before I opened my dojo; that was my choice, as it'll be your choice to do so. I listened to the advice from our Soke (Founder) as well as my own Sensei before I decided. I decided to wait until my 3rd Dan, and while that was my choice, it doesn't have to be your choice.

I also waited until I was promoted to 3rd Dan because I wanted much more teaching experience as well as business experience. I was brought up in our Hombu (Headquarter) under the wings of our Soke and our Dai-Soke (My Sensei), so not only did I learn much from them on teaching and business and so much more.

I say, open the dojo/dojang/etc, at 1st Dan, if that's your conviction, and don't look back, but, however, strive forward. You'll be fine! Sure, you'll be scared and all of that, but you'll be fine!!

Hang in there, and believe in yourself, as I believe in you!!



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Nidan Melbourne
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 21 Aug 2013
Posts: 2202
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like Sensei8, being a 3rd Dan isn't a requirement to commence your own school. Instructors often open their school at 3rd Dan because they then have that additional experience in comparison to a 1st Dan.

I'm a 2nd Dan, and personally wouldn't have opened my own school at 1st dan because I knew and felt like that I wasn't ready.

IF you feel like your ready to open at 1st Dan, then do it! But my biggest piece of advice i'd give is to have a Mentor and continue to train with your sensei.

Normally some schools don't permit you to teach until you are a Shodan-Ho or Shodan (Dependent on how your school grades students to Black Belt). Because this can affect on your education as an instructor and learning the finer details in teaching.
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Luther unleashed
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 661
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu it's very common to teach at purple belt or even brown belt. I mean to say, you will come across schools run by these colored belts. In this art it can take up to ten years to achieve black belt. That being said it's not so much about the color belt as the experience and trying to say 3rd Dan or any fan should be a standard is difficult because there's just no way all schools have the same standard.

I personally don't care what rank you are, because rank does as much bad as it does good, but I think it's important to understand your actual experience, not the rank which attempts to reflect this. I know a school in which students can make it to 2nd Dan in 2 years, basically a year per degree. I have been teaching over a year and a half and haven't promoted anybody to black belt, although one will test this month). Some of my students also trained in the previous program an maintained rank to top it off. I think it's fair to say 2nd Dan for me, and 2nd Dan for that said school are different which brings me to the point again, a standard rank across the board for schools is difficult.

I don't care about rank, if your ready your ready, if the knowledge is there then go for it.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14336
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luther unleashed wrote:
In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu it's very common to teach at purple belt or even brown belt. I mean to say, you will come across schools run by these colored belts. In this art it can take up to ten years to achieve black belt. That being said it's not so much about the color belt as the experience and trying to say 3rd Dan or any fan should be a standard is difficult because there's just no way all schools have the same standard.

I personally don't care what rank you are, because rank does as much bad as it does good, but I think it's important to understand your actual experience, not the rank which attempts to reflect this. I know a school in which students can make it to 2nd Dan in 2 years, basically a year per degree. I have been teaching over a year and a half and haven't promoted anybody to black belt, although one will test this month). Some of my students also trained in the previous program an maintained rank to top it off. I think it's fair to say 2nd Dan for me, and 2nd Dan for that said school are different which brings me to the point again, a standard rank across the board for schools is difficult.

I don't care about rank, if your ready your ready, if the knowledge is there then go for it.

Solid post!!

I once read about a Nidan that remained that rank forever, and is STILL a Nidan, but his experience and knowledge is of a High Dan Rank. Why still a Nidan? That's the last rank her earned from his Sensei before his Sensei passed away; respect for his Sensei.



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Luther unleashed
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 661
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2016 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
Luther unleashed wrote:
In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu it's very common to teach at purple belt or even brown belt. I mean to say, you will come across schools run by these colored belts. In this art it can take up to ten years to achieve black belt. That being said it's not so much about the color belt as the experience and trying to say 3rd Dan or any fan should be a standard is difficult because there's just no way all schools have the same standard.

I personally don't care what rank you are, because rank does as much bad as it does good, but I think it's important to understand your actual experience, not the rank which attempts to reflect this. I know a school in which students can make it to 2nd Dan in 2 years, basically a year per degree. I have been teaching over a year and a half and haven't promoted anybody to black belt, although one will test this month). Some of my students also trained in the previous program an maintained rank to top it off. I think it's fair to say 2nd Dan for me, and 2nd Dan for that said school are different which brings me to the point again, a standard rank across the board for schools is difficult.

I don't care about rank, if your ready your ready, if the knowledge is there then go for it.

Solid post!!

I once read about a Nidan that remained that rank forever, and is STILL a Nidan, but his experience and knowledge is of a High Dan Rank. Why still a Nidan? That's the last rank her earned from his Sensei before his Sensei passed away; respect for his Sensei.




That's a very interesting thought. It's defiantly in line with what I'm trying to say about rank for sure.

I like to think about it like this... you're not a black belt *because* you wear one, you are a black belt *so* you wear one.

Honestly one of the things I enjoyed a lot about Kung fu was the lack of belts. There are many Kung fu schools that have adopted the belt system, many in fact call them sashes and they are soft like a scarf, but similar colors. Some still however, still have no belt system. It was a positive experience to step away from rank, and has helped for my opinion about rank as well. I hand out rank as a teacher because it's tradition and it's what people expect, and it also carries value, but sometimes I would just rather throw belts and rank out the door and teach! You know how many people there are that would pay Bruce Lee their life savings to have him teach them, and never ever ask what belt/rank he is? Belts are a great grading point and they are great for short term goals to accomplish, BUT they do as much bad as good and sometimes I can't decide which way the scale tips on the matter!
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Starting a club at 1st dan Reply with quote

Shotokannon wrote:
Hi Everyone,

I am a 2nd kyu, and thinking about making preparations so that I can start my own club once I reach 1st Dan, maybe in a year's time or longer.

I was wondering if I could get an insight into this from other people who may have done the same thing, I have some limited teaching experience and would like to develop that, I have heard stories that you should not begin teaching until at least 3rd dan.

what's your take on this?


Shotokannon,

You can do just about anything you want to in this country. However it is solely up to your organization whether they will give you their blessing to open a Dojo. In our organization you are not considered a Shinshii/Sensei (Teacher) until you reach the rank of Sandan. This is due to the experience and knowledge factor. However my first Karate instructor was an Ikkyu (Brown Belt) and was knowledgeable enough to teach, however not a lot of the guys coming back from over sea's were Sandan so most opened schools at Ikkyu or Shodan and this was acceptable back then.
If you do not gain the blessing of the organization in our style you can not use the name and you have no backing. Meaning your students ranks will be signed and certified only by you and not backed by your style/organization. This can be a tad tricky if your students ever decide to transfer to another Dojo and their rank is not accepted.
If your style/art allows you to teach at Ikkyu or Shodan and will back you then go for it. If not you may want to inquire at what point they would allow you to teach. If having their backing and being able to use their rank certificates, name, patches, etc., etc. doesn't bother you then strike out on your own and teach. No one can tell you that you are not allowed to teach at any rank as long as you understand the ramifications of your decision.
I personally would be concerned to see a Shodan as the CI of a Dojo but I am old school and to be honest old, so my opinion may be a little old fashioned.
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bassaiguy
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 03 Nov 2011
Posts: 164
Location: Maine, USA
Styles: Shotokan

PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen very talented 1st dan and total crap 3rd dan. It's the person, not the rank that matters. When I started martial arts my first instructor was 1st kyu and got promoted in front of all of us at a large grading. We were very proud of him. Of course, this was back in the early '80s and rank inflation wasn't what it is today.

I haven't tested for rank in a looong time. I've been training in martial arts for 30 years and I'm 1st dan in one style and 2nd dan in another. I also have a Masters degree in Asian history and I'm a former LEO. I'll put my experience up against a lot of high ranking instructors that I know any day.

If you maintain good relations with your teacher and s/he feels you're ready to teach I'd say go for it. However, if you are thinking of starting a club because you feel that you have a method that your association/style/instructor can't address I would be cautious. Maybe you haven't explored your own style completely? Or, maybe there is another established method that you haven't trained in that addresses what you feel your original style lacks. There is very little that is truly new under the sun and I am hesitant of relatively low ranked folks who create their own systems. Not because they aren't necessarily talented, but because it's possible they haven't fully explored the methodology of their own system.
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LastKing
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

Joined: 07 May 2015
Posts: 69


PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Starting a club at 1st dan Reply with quote

MatsuShinshii wrote:


If you do not gain the blessing of the organization in our style you can not use the name and you have no backing. Meaning your students ranks will be signed and certified only by you and not backed by your style/organization. This can be a tad tricky if your students ever decide to transfer to another Dojo and their rank is not accepted.


I've been doing some reaserch on this point, as my club is about to fold (see post in Karate forum), and I get the feeling from the input of others and post which relate to transferring belts from club to club, that in the real world, even in clubs ilaffiliated to the same governing body, that your belt is only really good in your own club and it's most likely that anyone starting another club is highly unlikely to take their belt with them. Seems almost to be considered an arrogance to assume you are any rank, even if it is officially graded and signed off, which makes me wonder what the point of having any official certification of grades in the martial arts if they are not going to be recognised outside of your own club.
Of course I could be wrong on that, but that's the impression I get.
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G95champ
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 29 Mar 2002
Posts: 3116
Location: Gilbert WV, USA
Styles: Shotokan Karate (FSKA)

PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When my students reach 3rd Kyu, I allow and/or require them to start teaching our beginner classes. Some will teach the regular class based on ability. Our rule was always you could open your own dojo at 2nd Dan. (With our blessing) Only because we recingnize, 2nd Dan and the teaching rank. For us 1st Dan is much more of a physical achievement, in opposition to the mental aspect of Nidan.

Short answer: if people are going to give you money and your teaching is not going to get people hurt then teach.

Long answer: talk to your teacher and start teaching beginner classes at all ages because teaching and knowing are two completely different beasts. My suggest is to teacher under Someone. Let them guide you on tips and tricks not to mention the entire business end of teaching: cost, time, insurance, livability, parents, rent, equipment, etc etc etc.

I taught at 2nd Dan for 20 years and just recently made 3rd. The rank is secondary to the expieremce. I am also a high school teacher and coach so Teaching was something I've been professionally trained for as well.

Good luck
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