I have been inundated with a lot of scuttlebutt regarding “bogus” promotions, lack of “Bushido,” and despicable, shameless people claiming superior rank in our system, lowering the standards of Uechi-Ryu throughout the world.
To my friends and associates, I would like to illuminate my thoughts not only as Darin Yee, a humble student of the martial arts but also as the President of the IUKF because this is our philosophy, commitment, and strength.
Please be affirmed these promotions which you’ve so adamantly and furiously objected to is not anything that the IUKF (International Uechi-Ryu Karate Federation) has had any part. Please look very carefully at the organizational name. Imitators and “want-a-be” are still not the IUKF.
Although we ask all our members to follow the Sensei Mattson’s Black Belt test guide for dan promotions, I am demanding much more for our master ranks as we wear our belts with knowledge, honor, and pride, not merely on a handshake or a phone call. People who deceive others to bolster their egos are shameless underachievers. Those who deceive themselves are usually psychotic maniacs with an inferior complex posing misinformation and danger to the rest of our community.
I’ve told Sensei Mattson when I sat down on the big seat that my goal is to build the IUKF, maintain, and elevate the respectability of our black belts. These formative years have been a little challenging because of my discovery of unknowns and deals which do not conform with our new direction. I’ve committed to cutting out all cancer, pulling off the leaches, and chasing out all the infectious rodents. It’s a tough road, but we are making progress.
Time in Grade and Master Rank:
(Please realize the following is purely philosophical)
I posed this question back in the late 80s. As a master rank regardless of the number, how much more can I learn if I am already a master, how much higher should I go as a master? If I am truly a master, how much more can I learn?
The answer came back “there is always something to learn. No one knows everything.” If I have not learned everything, how could I consider myself a master?
As I never profess to be a genius, it took me a year or so of personal, self-discussion, and deep thoughts to compose this philosophy. The answer was right in front of my nose as I often consult with Sensei Mattson’s Black Belt Test Guide. “TIME in GRADE” is the answer. We don’t learn more as time goes by, we just become better in what we do. When we continue to train, our body becomes more adapted to our movements, and movements become embedded in our muscle memory. Movement becomes more fluent and natural, which will result in the most power we can muster at our old age and declining physical ability.
“Time in Grade” doesn’t teach you more about the system. “Time in Grade” teaches you more about yourself. You need this time in grade to train your body and to mature in the movements as a master.
Those who continue to gain master rank without working out are deceiving you and, worst of all, deceiving themselves.
Those who skip years and getting their ranks through questionable organizations are depriving themselves of proper time on grade training. Are they true masters? You can answer that yourself. Wearing a store-bought belt doesn’t reflect who you really are. Your rank is only as respectable as your organization.
We are the IUKF, and we have no say regarding the promotions of others. We as proud members of the IUKF can hold our heads high among the rest of the world as we know we’ve worked hard for our ranks, and we take a back seat to no one.