Commercialization of Dan Degrees

It is deplorable that some Karateka become too commercialized and lose the true spirit of Karate-do as a martial art. Basically, Karateka should train hard to seek the truth of karate with a high level of knowledge and technique, compete at many International tournaments and contribute for Karate society.

Without such elements, we should not open a new style, school or organization on our own. And certainly, giving certificates or belts in such circumstances is not allowed. This kind of trend breaks the honor of trained Karateka, and brings the overall organization of Karate into disrepute.

This is true even if they say their Karate is “not a martial art and is just a sport.” It is not fair to the real practicing Karateka. This kind of commercialization can be seen not only in North America but also in Japan, where commercialized schools offer black belts or certificates without any official recognition from the original founders of the style.

As a result, it can be difficult to identify the clear difference between officially recognized Dan grades properly granted by authorized representatives of the original style, and “purchased” Dan grades sold by commercialized schools to make money.

Originally, Dan grades or certificates were granted by representatives of the original style depending on the improvement of students, carefully tested. The Dan grades of Karate were given by the leaders of each style of Karate from Okinawa, the birthplace of Karate. This process is similar to many professional examinations for such areas as: medical doctors, lawyers, professors, etc. where there is a clear record of international tournaments evidencing the successful honor of the person.

As time progresses, though, we hope that people are starting to find the difference between the real styles and the commercialized schools, and will screen out the commercialized schools that are not proper representatives of the original style. Simply put, the trunk and branches of a tree should be related, not separated.

Karate is a true martial art. Shorinjiryu Kenkokan Karate builds a healthy mind and body through hard training of combat with diligent study of technique and strategy, contributing to society through peace and better health.