With the recent advancement of Jason A. to Jr. Black Belt, there have been several questions about the different levels of Black Belt.   We thought we’d address them here. Our system recognizes three levels of Black Belt, grouped by age. One for students aged 12 and under, one for students aged 13-17, and one for students aged 18 and above.   The last one…aged 18 and above, is the Shodan level….or full adult Black Belt. Why the different levels?   Well, while all three levels recognize the tremendous commitment of time and effort put in by the student, younger students tend to be more challenged by the techniques and forms required to reach the Shodan Black Belt level.  Also, Grandmaster DeMasco expects a certain level of maturity and community commitment by those obtaining their Shodan Rank, and for a variety of reasons, the younger students cannot quite meet those expectations. Does that diminish the Black Belt that is not specifically Shodan? Absolutely not! Remember, studying the martial arts is an individual journey, and everyone advances based on their own particular transitions along that journey. Each level achieved represents a challenge met and conquered, based on individual abilities. Black Belt, whether it be the full adult one, or at the level particular to the student’s age, still represents a journey traveled by the practitioner. Regardless of the age of that person, the Black Belt commands respect for the continued efforts and commitment put forth. Is reaching Black Belt the end of the journey? It can be, if the student wishes to go no further. But the reality is, that Black Belt is just the first step to a continued life-long journey of learning. Continuing along that journey may (or may not) […]