Budokan confers its grades and ranks onto its exponents of Japanese Budo disciplines that it teaches, in much the same way as the Classical Bujutsu Menkyo system operated and still found in some Ryu in Japan today.
Budokan is unique in that it does not charge its members for gradings.
It takes the view that gradings are earned by way of the students regular attendance throughout the year and the regular payment of the monthly dojo fee.
In this way Budokan does not accord to the implementation of a grading fee structure that other organisations do, for the simple reason that gradings are not bought.
Another way in which we differ is that gradings do not take place as a form of a test on a given day. Budokan “gradings” take place each and every time a student comes to train in the dojo by peer review, where things like attitude, respect, loyalty, courtesy, diligence, compassion and attendance are all closely observed.
Grades are awarded annually duriing the last Workshop of each year and when required at courses such as Workshops that take place throughout each year.
Kyu Grades - Mudansha - All ranks below Black Belt are awarded verbally and result in the student being recognised for the progress made up to Dan Grade rank.
All students start out wearing a white belt, then move up to green belt and on to brown belt in recognition of the progress being made.
At the appropriate time the student will be invited to prepare for their Shodan or First Black Belt one year in advance of taking this grading.
Students who have had previous experience in Budo may be asked to prepare for their Shodan or First Black Belt, if approved of by the Shihankai or Senior Dan Grade members or officeers of the Dojo.
In the first instance, the training schedule is applied to four elements.
Zanshin – literally translated as “the observation of the opponent or situation before, during and after the execution of the technique”.
Waza – the technical ability in the performance of technique. It is part of Zanshin and includes posture, stance, strength, stamina and flexibility.
Aite no keiko – Partner Practice.
The ability to function with a partner incorporating Zanshin and Waza.
Koko no keiko – Individual Practice.
The ability to express Zanshin and Waza on one’s own.
In the second instance the grading considers the individual’s:-
contribution to the dojo
Dan Grades - Yudansaha
All eligible Kyu grade students are allowed to take their Black Belt Dan Grades by invitation only under the same peer review process.
Budokan will only award its coveted Black Belt in Budo to those who have accomplished an advanced level in Karate, Aikido and Iaido.
Budokan only provides certification for Dan Grades and these certificates are awarded once a year at the annual end of year Workshop, which takes place in early December.
At this time the new Black Belt or Shodan certified students will be allowed to wear the hakama as part of their dojo apparel, which makes them instantly recognisable as a Dan Grade.
All Dan Grades are eligible to be registered with the Dai Nippon Butokukai (DNBK) in Kyoto, Japan by discipline - as recommended by Budokan.
There is a charge from the DNBK for this accreditation.
Further guidelines for Dan Grade holders
Dan means step. So holding a 1st Dan is simply the first step along the journey at base camp and not the smmit of the mountain of a lifetime dedication to training, so often depicted as just that in the West.
In Japan, it is simply a step from nothing to something on the lowest rung of the Dan Grade ladder.
In Japan you will need to have the rank of Godan - 5 Dan - before you are recogised as having devoted many years to training.
Recmmendation is based on years of training, skill prowess, accmplishments, dedication and service, teaching and instruction and excellence in personal character.
A general guide to the timeline of consecutive years of training.
Shodan 1st Dan 1-3 years
Nidan 2nd Dan 3-5 years
Sandan 3rd Dan 5-8 years
Yondan 4th Dan 8-12 years
Godan 5th Dan 12-18 years
Rokudan 6th Dan 18 – 25 years
Shichidan 7th Dan 25 – 32 years
Hachidan 8th Dan 32- 45 years
Sempai - a leading instructor
Shidoin - a leading head iinstructor
Shihan - a master instructor
The award of Titles is made using the ancient Shogoo system, as used by the Dai Nippon Butokukai of Kyoto in Japan, awarded to those who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of Budokan, shown leadership in teaching and the maintenance of a high level of Budo skills over decades of continuous service to Budokan.
Renshi - Polished Samurai Warrior
Kyoshi - Master Teacher Samurai Warrior
Hanshi - Exemplary Illustrious Warrior - Master of the Samurai Way