Style Forms and Promotion

Rank Recognition

The United States Martial Arts Association uses a 16 step rank system, broadly modeled on the Japanese system of Kyu and Dan ranks, the Japanese names for these ranks. All styles endorsed by the USMAA have a Rank Equivalency Table that aligns with these ranks.

New members may have their current rank recognized by the USMAA by providing appropriate documentation to the designated style head for review by the appropriate board.

Promotion

Promotion up to and including that of “teacher” in the art (Sixth Dan in the Japanese system) will be totally within the purview of the martial artist’s sensei who, if active and in good standing with the association, will be authorized to promote up to and including one rank below his/her own. Martial artists wishing to be considered for rank above “teacher” in the art and martial artists without teachers may submit dossiers for promotion consideration to their appropriate style head for consideration. Testing for promotion (where appropriate) will be held at the yearly training camp or whenever three or more members of the style promotion board may convene.

Member in good standing

Members of the association are considered in good standing if they are in good standing in their USMAA affiliated school, if their membership is current, if their account with the USMAA is current and their testimony of having not been convicted of a violent crime, sex crime or other felony is still true. Free standing martial artists are encouraged to associate with a USMAA school, but are in good standing if they meet the above requirements less the school affiliation. In addition, professionals who plan to promote within the USMAA must have, on file with the USMAA, a current background check prepared by a governmental body or the private company authorized by the USMAA. Background checks must pass the Ethics Committee review in order for the professional to remain in good standing in the association. The Ethics Committee will rule on the appropriateness of membership in the association for students and professional martial artists.

Recognition of New Art Forms

Designation of new art forms or systems will fall under the board of the style to which they are most closely aligned. To be a new system, it must constitute a radical change in an existing system that is proven to be effective such as Judo vs. Jujitsu; a hybrid art form, a melding of two or more systems with moves demonstrating clear transitions and continuity between those systems, such as Hapkido; or a completely new system, such as Tiho Jitsu – one-on-one control tactics. In any case, the new system must demonstrate at least parity, if not superiority, to existing systems that are present in that niche. The martial artist must submit a complete portfolio of his art’s system either in text or video for evaluation, including documented, demonstrated successes in the application of the art. Creation of a new system must be recommended by the appropriate style board(s) and approved by the Association’s Board of Directors. Regarding the creation of a new art, simply adding moves from one system to another does not constitute a new system. It might possibly represent a better-rounded martial artist, but not a new system.

Rank Equivalency Table Explanation

The United States Martial Arts Association uses a 16 step rank system, broadly modeled on the Japanese system of Kyu and Dan ranks, the Japanese names for these ranks. All styles endorsed by the WWMAA have a Rank Equivalency Table that aligns with these ranks.

New members may have their current rank recognized by the WWMAA by providing appropriate documentation to the designated style head for review by the appropriate board.

When applying for rank to be recognized by the WWMAA you must use a “Rank Designation Code”. You can look up the code in the core Rank Equivalency Table shown below.

If you are unsure as to your Style’s Rank Equivalency, you should contact your teacher, style head or a representative of the WWMAA

Designator
Competency Descriptor
Time in Grade
English
Kangi
Belt Color
S1
Beginning student 1
3 months
Rokyu
六級
White
S2
Beginning student 2
3 months
Gokyu
五級
Yellow
S3
Intermediate Student 1
3 months
Yonkyu
四級
Green
S4
Intermediate Student 2
6 months
Sankyu
三級
Brown
S5
Intermediate Student 3
9 months
Nikkyu
二級
Brown
S6
Intermediate Student 4
1 year
Ikkyu
一級
Brown
B1
Advanced Student 1
2 years
Shodan
初段
Black
B2
Advanced Student 2
3 years
Nidan
二段
Black
B3
Advanced Student 3
4 years
Sandan
三段
Black
B4
Skilled Technician 1
5 years
Yondan
四段
Black and Red
B5
Skilled Technician 2
6 years
Godan
五段
Black and Red
B6
Teacher
7 years
Rokudan
六段
Red and White
B7
Master Teacher
8 years
Sichidan
七段
Red and White
B8
National Leader
9 years
Hachidan
八段
B9
Senior National Leader
10 years
Kudan
九段
Red
B10
International Leader
Judan
十段
Red

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