How many times does a junior student or a lower dan rank hear this from their Seniors? Many times. Probably more often than not. We think what? You don’t want higher rank? Why not?
Many of our martial arts Black Belts have different reasons. Some are that they are in a tournament circuit and are not allowed to compete past a certain rank. So they stay where they are for many years until they are done competing, either broken, worn out, or won it all. Then get back on a promotion schedule.
Then there are those who don’t want the pressure of the responsibility for attaining higher rank, as more may be expected of them. One reason many drop out after Shodan. Been there done that attitude. More responsibility would be placed on a person to step up and perhaps start teaching. But, not every body is a teacher. Some should realize they don’t all have to be teachers. There is nothing wrong with being a student. You can always help when new students start, but you don’t want the responsibility of a long road with a new person.Just train. Many shodans go into debt to open a dojo, only to fail, due to lack of teaching experience, or other circumstances may be not planned for.
When you get your black belt, it doesn’t automatically give you license to teach. I find in talking with Seniors, they would love nothing more than to line up with everybody else and just train.
On my trip to Okinawa years ago, that’s what you saw. A couple “Senior Seniors”up front, and fifth, sixth and seventh dans in line. Being students. At heart, though, we all are students for the rest of our lives.
One final thought to ponder for you “rank is not important” people. Promotions are one way for our arts to continue, to perpetuate, to grow. Without them, we would have UFC rings to determine who’s the boss. While ultimately not important, we must use the promotion process as a checks and balance system to gauge and judge those coming up behind us, as the heirs.
One last point, lets not forget the Titles. This is going the extra mile for the Art. The stripe, like the black belt, may not mean a lot to some, but it shows your dedication to the art and leaving a legacy.