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Member of

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Rank & Titles

Title [Shugo]

Meaning

Credential & Grade

 

Kensei

Sacred Fist.

  • No credential,
  • Honorific title in reference of Chojun Miyagi.

Kancho

  • Master of the house.
  • Highest instructor of a specific Ryuha or Kaiha
  • Owner of the Dojo
  • Honorific title
  • Not necessarily of grade.

Kaicho

  • Regional Head
  • Director.

Also Branch / Regional Representative per association.

Kaiso

  • Founder
  • Senior Advisor

Honorific title.

O’Sensei & Dai Sensei

  • Greatest Teachers,
     
  • Highly regarded
  • Respected teacher
  • Honorific title in reference.
  • Honorific title spoken in reference of those deceased.

Soke

  • Master
     
  • Founder of a Ryu-Ha.

 

Saiko Shihan [or Shuseki Shihan]

Head Shihan.

Head Shihan to a specific group of Shihan of an organization.

 

Shihan

 

Expert License of:

  • Renshi
  • Kyoshi
  • Hanshi

5th Dan and higher if designated by the qualification by virtue of endorsement by the

  • [A] Association of Chief Instructors or
  • [B] Administration Head of an Association.

License [not title] is by award and certification or letter, not by Dan grade alone.

Hanshi

 

  • Senior leader to Model Instructors, to be modeled after.
  • Exemplary Illustrious.
  • Shihan License Certification,
  • Separate from that of Dan grade alone.
  • Of being 8th, 9th & 10th Dan.

Japanese associations Hanshi license holders wear Black Belt w/ Red facing out-Black facing in.

Okinawa association Hanshi License holders wear Black Belt with three Gold stripe.

Kyoshi

 

  • Master, Teaching instructor [teacher of teachers].
  • Eminent Instructor; Master Instructor.
  • Shihan License Certification,
  • Separate from that of Dan grade alone.
  • Of being 6th & 7th Dan.

Japanese associations Kyoshi license holders wear Red stripe above White stripe facing out-Black facing in- Belt [Japanese].

Okinawa association Kyoshi License holders wear Black Belt with two Gold stripe.

Renshi

 

  • Senior Expert, Professional, Training instructor.
  • Highly trained; High Attainment
  • Shihan License Certification,
  • Separate from that of Dan grade alone.
  • Of being 5th & 6th Dan.
  • Japanese associations Renshi license holders wear White stripe above Red stripe facing in-Black facing out- Belt.
  • Okinawa association Renshi License holders wear Black Belt with one Gold stripe.

     

    Sensei

    Teacher.

    • San Dan & higher instructors,
    • License [not title] is by award and certification or letter,
    • Not by Dan grade alone.

    Jokyo

    Upper Grade Yudanasha.

    • Experienced Grade Sensei Menkyo;
    • Preamble to Shihan Menkyo system,
    • 4th to 5th dan.

    Shidoin

    Middle Grade Yudansha.

    • Beginning Grade Sensei Menkyo;
    • Preamble to Jokyo Menkyo;
    • 3rd to 4th Dan.

    Fuku Shidoin

    • Lower Grade Yudansha
    • Assistant to Sensei.
    • May be of either Ni [2nd] Dan or San [3rd] Dan
    • Acting as an assistant to Sensei.

    Kyoren

    Practitioner.

    San Dan, not of/or becoming Sensei

    Tasshi

    Secretariat to a Senior Instructor.

    • Usually of San Dan or higher grade.
    • Either Administrative or Instructional.

    Senpai

    • Senior Student
    • Senior to yourself.
    • Sho, Ni & San Dan, Black Belt,
    • Those senior to yourself.

    Dohai

    Student equal to your own grade, status and level.

     

    Shodan Ho

    Conditional Black Belt.

    Having met the requirements of Shodan grading however under review [usually for one year] for continued dedication to training and to fulfill moral and other standards.

    Shonenbu Shodan

    Junior Black Belt.

    • Under Sixteen years of age
    • Mmeeting the requirements of Shodan.
  • This grade holder must retest for Shodan when they come of age.
  • Hokai

    Students below Dan Level.

    Mudansha, 9th to 1st Kyu.

    Kohai

    Junior Student.

    [meaning Junior to yourself].

    Uchi Deshi

    Personal Student.

     

    Deshi

    Student.

     

    Chukyu [Chukyu Sha]
     

    • Post Secondary Grade
    • Intermediate Kyu Level

    Intermediate Level Learning Grade.

    Yudansha

    Regarding a person[s] holding Dan grade.

    • Shodan & higher,
    • Black belt holders.
    • Shokyu [Shokyo Sha]
    • Ryodo
    • Secondary Grade or Grade two
    • Lower Kyu Level
    • Secondary Level Learning Grade, As in
    • Shodan, Of advanced Kyu grading.

    Mudansha

    1st kyu to 10th Kyu.

    Non Black Belt Holder.

    Nyumon

     

    Entry Level Learning Grade.

    Mukyu or Shodo

    Beginners Grade or non Kyu grade holder.

    Non Grade Holder.

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    Shihan Humphrey Skosana's Kuyu kai Karate South Africa teaches the traditional Goju-ryu karate of Osamu Hirano (Saiko Shihan) of Japan.