We live in an age of upward mobility. With that comes the opportunity for transfer.
Not just to a new department or division but facility as well. We often find ourselves moving from town to town, city to city,
or state to state. For the martial arts practitioner this means uprooting yourself or being uprooted. If you love the martial
arts this means that you will have to find another dojo to train in.
This could cause some minor set backs or major decision making, especially if
you can not relocate to a school that provides instruction in the same or similar style or system! Traditionally if you found
yourself facing this type of change you would also be facing the fact that you may have to start all over as a white belt
in this new style. It is not uncommon for a “classical” practitioner of a Korean style to have to begin all over
in a Japanese or Chinese style or vice-versa. Sometimes even within a particular style you may have to begin at the novice
level. This is to be expected. In my opinion, to humble one’s self to this builds character. The instructor would see
this in you and you would find yourself advancing up the ladder in this new style or system in no time!
There is also another option for those that find themselves in this predicament.
American style martial arts schools often called “Freestyle”. Most American style martial artists come from several
classical martial arts backgrounds. These instructors have a well rounded knowledge and/or experience in classical art forms.
With this understanding they will be able to decide whether or not you need to start at the beginning, drop down one belt
in rank or maintain what you currently have.
But what if I’m already at black belt rank? There are also instructor options here as well. Regardless if you come from a classical or eclectic background you
may still have to start all over from the beginning. If you have been out of it for 5 years or so you can pretty much bet
that you will start over. If you have maintained your studies and are merely a black belt, the instructor may chose to allow
you to maintain your belt and learn his system from the beginning.
What if I have Dan (degree) rank on my black belt? The same applies. Be prepared to at least start over with a clean black belt. It is not about taking away from you
what you have already earned. It is about humbling yourself to the learning of something new or different.