Thursday, May 23, 2024

IUKF Rank Advancements and Certifications

All applications for certifications from the IUKF have a $100 application fee to cover the material cost, printing, listing, and mailing. The IUKF in actuality retains very little of your fee. What we retain will help assist many of the less economically advanced countries, which are prorated to match their individual average incomes.

All black belt certificates will need to be applied on the website. Our IUKF test administrator is Vice President Sensei Ian Quitilen. Please direct all black belt material and inquiries to Ian Sensei directly. All contacts are listed on our website.

The IUKF is a supportive organization, all promotions from Shodan (1st degree) to Godan (5th degree) are now dojo promotions. Although we recommend following Sensei Mattson’s Black Belt Test Guild, the requirements and process are at the individual dojo’s discretion. The IUKF requires that although the dojo might desire to issue their own black belt certificates, all black belt promotions should include a Sensei Mattson (Grandmaster) and Darin Yee (IUKF President) autographed certificate from the IUKF for our organizational records and future reference. Please be reminded the certificates are free of charge. The non-refundable $100 fee is for administration expenses.

Master Rank, Rokudan (6th degree), and above must be tested and approved by the IUKF. Although we ask for much more than any other organization in the past, the IUKF does not require anything exceptional.  All we ask is the knowledge all masters should be well acquainted with due to their years of studies and training. Please also know the IUKF does not compare strength, speed, or physical abilities. We understand that due to the number of years involved to qualify for such high honors, our body recedes and our physical abilities are diminished.

Candidates (with dojo’s chief instructor’s approval) for master certifications must go to the website and apply through the promotion section. Please provide all information required and pay the nonrefundable $100 application fee. Vice President Sensei Ian Quitilen will respond by reviewing your qualifications for the certification you are requesting. Please be informed the IUKF will only qualify your request “for testing” if you meet the listed “Time in Grade”.

Sensei Ian Quitilen will request recordings of you performing all eight Uechi-Ryu katas and recordings of eight unique, personal techniques, which demonstrate your personal mastery of the system. For every advancement, the IUKF will require a repeat of the same process. However, the eight required techniques must be new and improved to demonstrate your advancement and the purpose of an advancement certification. Your eight newly recorded katas will also demonstrate your improvements and advanced knowledge and abilities. 

I will then receive your request and our due diligence begins. I will not apologize for the fact that I do not believe anyone should advance in their rank status if they do not continue in their normal, expected regiment of studying and training. Knowledge is usually gained, justified, and established on the dojo floor. If you do not or cannot submit verification from a registered IUKF dojo subordinating your workouts, the IUKF will not accept individual accounts of their workouts. 

We firmly believe an average student works out 2 times a week. In a 52-week year, taking into consideration holidays, vacations, and sick days, the IUKF will reasonably accept 100 workouts per year to be considered average (please refer to Sensei George Mattson’s Black Belt Test Guide for listed years needed). 

Anyone who believes they are qualified for the “minimal years” category will need to be an above-average student meaning verification from a registered IUKF dojo to work out a minimum of three workouts in a week. That would provide for 150 workouts in a calendar year.

Please be reminded again, that I personally do not believe anyone can advance or grow in the art without more or further training. No one will grow or mature in the system without being on the dojo floor and training to gain personal adaptation, knowledge, and understanding of oneself. 

There is also an understanding that many have relocated and are no longer in contact with their workout support system and their former senseis. Please do not hesitate to contact Sensei George Mattson or myself for assistance in your continued studies and training. The purpose of the IUKF is not to solicit you for more membership but to assist our dedicated Uechi-Ryu students to continue their training in a system we all love and enjoy.

Please also know the IUKF has an “Oversight Committee” to assist and advance sensei who have been isolated for many years while still training. That committee is chaired and processed by Judan (10th degree) Sensei Al Wharton. If you have further questions regarding the IUKF, please do not hesitate to contact me Darin Yee, Judan (10 degree) at for answers. I am sure I do not know everything but I will not offer you inappropriate, uneducated answers.

The IUKF is committed to supporting Uechi-Ryu practitioners throughout the world in their journey and ensuring a rigorous yet fair process for rank promotions. Here is a summary of key points:

1. Application Fee: All applications for certifications have a $100 application fee, covering material costs, printing, listing, and mailing. The fee is non-refundable and is prorated for individuals in less economically advanced countries.

2. Black Belt Certificates: Black belt certificates, from Shodan (1st degree) to Godan (5th degree), are now issued at the dojo level. However, it is recommended to follow Sensei Mattson’s Black Belt Test Guild. Regardless of individual dojo certificates issued, all promotions should include an IUKF-signed certificate for organizational records.

3. Master Rank (Rokudan and above): Master rank promotions must be tested and approved by the IUKF. Candidates need to apply through the website, pay the application fee, and meet the “Time in Grade” requirements. The testing process involves providing recordings of Uechi-Ryu katas and unique techniques. [Note: 1995 IUKF requirement to 10th Dan change: Minimum Age 70 years old]

4. Time in Grade: The IUKF sets expectations for the number of workouts per week as part of the “Time in Grade” criteria. Average students are expected to work out twice a week, totaling 100 workouts per year. Above-average students, seeking minimal years for advancement, need to work out three times a week, totaling 150 workouts per year.

5. Training Verification: The IUKF emphasizes the importance of continuous training and requires verification from a registered IUKF dojo to support individual workout claims. The organization believes that knowledge is gained and established on the dojo floor.

6. Oversight Committee: An Oversight Committee, chaired by Judan Sensei Al Wharton, is in place to assist and advance sensei who have been isolated for many years while still training.

7. Contact Information: Practitioners can contact Darin Yee, Judan, for further questions about the IUKF via email at

This information provides a clear understanding of the IUKF’s expectations and procedures for rank advancements and certifications within the Uechi-Ryu system. If there are any specific questions or concerns, individuals are encouraged to contact Darin Yee for assistance.

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Cecilia Salbuchi is a web developer and Karate-Ka. Check my projects at

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