Exam Boards

Style Heads and Examination Boards

The Board of Governors appoints Style Heads who are competent, respected martial artists and who will be responsible to create examination boards from the arts based on the fighting style and sub-disciplines. We recruit additional martial artists that approach that of our current Boards of Directors’ experience and credibility to become style heads and members of our boards for the other martial arts from around the world.

These boards will personally sign each and every promotion authorized by the USMAA. By placing our names on the certificates, we attest to the validity of the promotion. Each board member’s integrity is represented through the certificate. Members of the association may nominate themselves or others for consideration by the Board of Governors to the responsibility of Style Head.

Rank as is envisioned as basically falling into two categories: student and professional. One remains a student as long as you received more from the art than you gave back. Professionals were those gave back to the art more than they received. In our view the transition occurs, in the ranking system of Judo, around fourth dan.

Promotion requirements as a student were: increased proficiency of physical skill in the art; knowledge of the art and its history; demonstration of basic rules of conduct, ethics, and etiquette in one’s life; being a suitable role model; service to the art; and time in grade.

Promotion requirements as a professional were all of the above plus leadership, teaching experience, and service to the USMAA with higher ranks being awarded for published research or other form of significant contribution to both the art and the association.

One small component of promotion is Time in Grade (TIG) in REG. It is not the only, or even the major component. Promotions will not given simply for breathing for the minimum TIG. There are many 20 year Shodans in the martial arts. If they have done nothing in the martial arts for the last 20 years, they are not eligible for promotion. If, on the other hand, those same martial artists were simply without a teacher and no one to promote them, but have been actively contributing to the art and can document such activity, they could be considered for promotion.

We attempt to standardize the ranking systems, or at least, offer some parity of rank equivalency between the various martial arts. Many arts do not use the colored belt system as an External Rank Designator (ERD), nor do they espouse the dan ranking system. The USMAA ranking system is a rough calibration of the divisions between beginner and Grand Master. Thus, these divisions, in the simplest case, need only acknowledge a beginning student; a transition point between student and professional; and at the culmination of experience, the ultimate recognition is that of Grand Master. If there are additional divisions, the style heads will populate the appropriate levels in our rank guidelines, which will allow all of us to appreciate the accomplishments of our martial arts brethren. We will be honoring the arts’ traditions as they become known by the various styles extant in our organization.

Board of Karate-Do Examiners

Ron Treem, Hachidan
Larry Hamby, Kudan
Robin Boss, Rokudan
Tom Flynn, Rokudan


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