The founder of Shotokan Karate, Gichin Funakoshi (The Father of Modern Karate) has created a system comprising of 5 levels of Black Belt (dan ranks). These 5 dan are distributed along the life of practice. Funakoshi was inspired by the existing system of ranks for judo and kendo. For some to be, BLACK BELT's, you must understand the five levels of consciousness through which an individual evolves in Zen philosophy, Buddhist and Shinto.
It is interesting to see how the grading system created by Funakoshi has its roots in Eastern religions.
Shodan (first dan) indicates that one has acquired strong technical foundation and a physical sense developed. In Eastern religions, this first level is learning to control the physical senses: sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste.
To achieve the rank Nidan (second dan) , one must demonstrate an understanding of combinations and apply them strategically. In Eastern religions, the second level represents the control of intelligence and strategies to apply them in life.
Sandan (third dan) requires the acquisition of calm, a strong mind and a relaxation of the shoulders! This third level for the Eastern religions is the acquisition of serenity for meditation.
Yodan (fourth dan) emphasizes the unity between mind and body in achieving the technical report to the next should permeate every action. Religion aside, this level is the mind-body relationship built around compassion.
Godan (fifth dan) is the flawless execution techniques as a physically and morally. This implies a spiritual consciousness expressing itself through self-discipline to be. Spirituality and oneness are the expression of this level in the Eastern religions.
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Mr. Roger Boggs - Renshi
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