Dec 26 2006

Black Belt Test Guide Clarifications Part 1

One of the first committees formed by Mr. Skeffington, was to go over the Black Belt Test Guide book, published in 1988 as a soft cover book and updated by the author in 2006 as an e-Book and clarify all the standards and requirements to 2006 recommendations.
In the following section, Mr. Skeffington presents the first phase of this update:

To the IUKF Membership:
From: Dan Test Rules Committee:
Subject: Dan Test F.A.Q.

In an effort to provide clarification and updates to Dan testing requirements and procedures the IUKF formed the Dan Test Committee to review and recommend clarifications and updates (if needed) to the rules and requirements listed in the Black Belt Test Guide.

I will post the guide in sections for your questions or comments. This is a work in progress please comment and we will strive to get it onto the official FAQ.


Harry Skeffington

IUKF Black Belt Test Requirements & Procedures FAQ.


Q: What is the purpose of this FAQ
A: The purpose of this FAQ is to provide clarifications and updates to George Mattson’s “Black Belt Test Guide” (herein referred to as “BBTG”).

Q: Does this FAQ replace the BBTG.
A: No. this FAQ is intended to supplement the BBTG. Portions of the BBTG have been determined to be unclear or subject to varied interpretation. This FAQ will provide clarifications and suggested interpretations to the BBTG.

Q: Who wrote the BBTG and when?
A: George Mattson wrote the BBTG. The guide was published in 1988.

Q: Who wrote and approved this F.A.Q.?
A: This F.A.Q. was produced by the IUKF Dan Test Committee and approved by the IUKF board of directors.

Q: What is the purpose IUKF Dan Test Committee and who are its members?
A: The IUKF Dan Test Committee was created to recommend updates and clarifications to Black belt test requirements and procedures listed in the BBTG. Recommendations approved by the committee will be forwarded to the IUKF board of directors for approval. Recommendations approved by the IUKF board of directors will become part of the official IUKF Dan test.

The IUKF Dan Test Committee members who participated in this project are:
• Henry Thom
• Dave Mott
• Al Wharton
• Jerry McDonald
• Jay Salhanick
• Harry Skeffington

Q: The BBTG has items listed as Guidelines. What does it mean?
A: Guidelines are recommendations that have been used to supplement the BBTG rules. In many cases they provide guidance in areas of requirements or testing that are not specified or are unclear. For example, Sanchin kata is a test requirement (rule). How test board members evaluate a candidate’s performance is a subjective matter. Guidelines regarding: stance; breathing; strength; posture; performance; etc. are provided as examples of what a test board member may use to evaluate Sanchin kata.

Q: What is the purpose of testing?
A: The purpose of testing is:
• Validate a students training against established IUKF guidelines
• Demonstrate a students understanding of Uechi-ryu
• To regulate and standardize Dan ranks across all member dojo
• To encourage consistency among dan ranks

Test Requirements:

Q: What are the requirements for IUKF Black Belt testing?
A: IUKF Black Belt testing requirements are as follows:
• An official IUKF test application must be submitted and approved 30 days prior to testing along with appropriate test fees.
o Testing fees:
 IUKF Member fee: $150
• Local Black Belt Test administrator must be contacted to arrange test location
o If there is not local test administrator and the student is testing at Summer Camp applications should be sent to the Summer Camp administrator
• A recommendation from the student’s instructor.
• Time in grade minimum must be met.
• Optional guideline: Passing a pretest as determined by the local BBTA.

Q: Who can recommend a student for promotion?
A: The student’s instructor, who in recommending the student, has been the student’s instructor for a minimum of 1 year.

Q: In the BBTG there is a time rank requirement summary chart (page III) that lists minimum and average time in grade. What’s time in grade? What’s the difference between minimum and average?

A: Time in grade refers to the amount of time a student spends training with an instructor or as an instructor. Minimum time refers to the absolute minimum time in grade a person spends in their current rank before applying to test for their next rank. It is assumed the time between ranks is the average time it takes for a student to develop skills necessary for their next rank.

There has been much discussion about time spent training. In a nutshell, time in grade alone does not qualify a person for rank. A person who trains less than once a week for the entire time in grade cannot be expected to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to pass a Dan test. By the same logic someone who trains three times per week for the entire time in grade is not guaranteed to pass a Dan test.

Q: What is the time in grade requirement for dan rank testing?
Rank Years in Grade Minimum
shodan –
nidan 1
sandan 2
yondan 2
godan 3
rokudan 5
sichidan 5
hachidan 8
kyudan 8
judan 14

Q: What is Years Total Minimum mean and what are they per rank?
A: Years Total Minimum refers to the total number of years training

Rank Years Total Minimum
shodan 2
nidan 3
sandan 5
yondan 7
godan 10
rokudan 15
sichidan 20
hachidan 28
kyudan 36
judan 50


Q: What preparations should be taken before testing?
A: “Students must train in a well-rounded manner, covering all (Uechi-Ryu) material in order to demonstrate to the test board the overall standards of Uech-ryu. For purposes of the test and awarding ratings, the test board must consider Uechiryu as a traditional art form and must therefore give equal consideration to all elements of the test.” (BBTG  1st edition- Pg: 47)


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