The Martial Arts are full of certificates and awards,
Photographs with Masters,
Everyone holding a fist up,
What’s it supposed to mean?
A certificate is a piece of paper,
A belt holds up your trousers,
A photo means you met that person,
The value is what it means to you.
A grade defines the relationship,
Between student and the Instructor,
It determines what classes are attended,
And what the student is taught.
It can also define status,
The managerial structure,
Instead of foreman, manager and director,
We have sempei, sensei and renshi.
If the instructor puts too much emphasis on grades,
The students do the same,
The club becomes about certificates,
And not how the student develops.
To grade or not to grade?
To be concerned about grading either way,
Means you missed the point,
They should just come naturally.
The responsibility of the student is to train and improve,
The Instructor to teach and train,
When the time is right,
The Instructor gives the grade.