For years, Uechi practitioners were satisfied with the gold stripes representing the titles of Renshi, Kyoshi and Hanshi. At one time, a board of Okinawa grandmasters awarded these titles. Kiyohide Shinjo and I were two of the first recipients of the Renshi gold stripe after being interviewed and tested by one of the Titles committee board member.
The practice ended shortly after it begun, for unknown reasons. IUKF renewed the process and formed a board to monitor and award the titles and gold stripes.
For the other Uechi organizations, the stripes didn’t represent anything other than the awarding of a master rank. And since the original purpose of the stripes didn’t have anything to do with rank, there was lots of confusion regarding how to divide three stripes into 5 ranks. Hence the logical conclusion was to simply sew on a stripe for every master rank.
This confusion over the purpose of the stripes was brought up at a recent IUKF board meeting and the consensus was that since the stripes has lost any relationship to the titles of Renshi, Kyoshi and Hanshi, IUKF should no longer associate the stripes with the titles.
I agreed with the decision of the board and beginning November 1, 2014, belt stripes will only represent the master ranking of 6th – 10th degree black belts.
The titles program will continue to exist in its present form. The board is considering issuing a special certificate and award that will replace the gold bar on belts.
Train often and train smart. . .