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2/7 or 7/2?

I had a thought. Would you rather be a 2nd dan with the skill of a 7th dan, or a 7th dan with the skill of a 2nd dan?

What a horrible choice!

And I'll bet that you have known examples of both, particularly the later.

In a perfect world, rank would reflect skill. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why rank takes on a life of its own, disconnected from skill. I am not just speaking about politics. There are cases where a student's Sensei dies. The student will continue to train and become more skilled, but have no one who can promote him. This could be the 2nd dan with the skill of a 7th dan (or 3rd dan with the skill of a 6th dan, etc.). Some students, out of respect for their Sensei, will never accept a rank equal to or greater than their Sensei's (even after their Sensei's death). So there are legitimate cases where a student's skill will exceed his rank.

And as for the political element of ranking, there is really no need to discuss it.

We should always be working to become more skilled in Karate. Day after day, year after year... always seeking to improve ourselves.


Charles C. Goodin