I had an interesting conversation with some martial artists in regards to rank. In the traditional martial arts, the rank displays a echelon of authority. Not only does it suppose to show knowledge, but a sense of skill. Well the McDojos running across the country and methodical “partial artist” parading over superficial shit, I am not entirely sure if I could really respect one’s rank. Personally, I am not a master nor will ever consider myself to ever be one! I have 2nd degree black belt whose beaten 3rd or 4th degrees as an underbelt; there the belt only keep the pants up (unless you wearing fitted jeans). If we really want to be technical, Mas Oyama developed and perfected his skill through an ancient manual. He spent several years in the mountains conditioning his mind, body and spirit through rigorous training defeating the top masters in Japan.
One thing about martial arts is that its a lifelong journey. There is always room for improvement. Punches can always be faster, sidekicks being more powerful, and your roundhouse kicks can have an extra snap to it! It is a journey which truly starts when you are a black belt. Everything else after is considered as mortar towards building a house.
People take the monarchy of tradition entirely too serious. Because you are a 7th dan you can not learn from a white or green belt? I am inspired by people in general! There is a little 5 year old whose heart goes out to win the biggest trophy to show his parents is a warrior trait, which some grown ups do not have! The point I am making is you are going always learn to those in your atmosphere. If you think because your specific status is labeled others as inferior, you will have missed out on life.
Isn’t the amazing thing about life is to learn from others making you a better person? Creating a legacy based on those around to pass the torch down and evolve is our primary goal. Tradition is a fundamentally beautiful aspect, but it can’t be evolved by itself.