Practitioners who have achieved the rank of Blue Belt have some additional optional benefits that they may find of interest. These are entirely optional benefits that practitioners may explore or ignore as they wish.
As a Blue Belt you now have some additional uniform options to consider. You may, at any time, or at all times if you prefer, wear the standard white Gi. It remains the standard uniform for everyone and any practitioner may wear the white Gi at any time.
As a Blue Belt you are now also authorized to wear a black Gi. This should be the same style as the standard white Gi, only black in color. The only difference should be the color. You may now wear any of the following uniforms:
- An all-white Gi.
- An all-black Gi
- A white Gi bottom and a black Gi top
- A black Gi bottom and a white Gi top
No other colors are authorized for students who have no yet achieved Shodan ranking, though your Dojo may have other uniforms that you might qualify to wear on some occasions. Your Dojo may impose some limitations on uniforms you can wear that are beyond those imposed by Sei Tensoku Ryu. You should comply with the general uniform guidelines utilized by your Dojo while training in the Dojo and while participating in Dojo-sponsored events. When attending a Tensoku Ryu sponsored event you must wear one of the color alternatives defined in the list above.
You may wish to invest in a heavy duty Gi top instead of a medium weight top. You will now begin working more on the ground, which is more punishing to uniforms. A thicker and sturdier Karate Gi top (not a Jujitsu or Judo Gi top) may reduce the wear and tear on your uniform. This is purely a personal choice.
Any uniform you elect to wear should comply with the uniform guidelines for Tensoku Ryu and any further guidelines observed by your local Dojo.
All uniforms should be maintained in good condition. A uniform should be replaced when it becomes significantly faded or discolored, is torn or obviously frayed, has shrunk substantially from its original size, or has been outgrown. In Tensoku Ryu we want to maintain our uniforms in good serviceable condition. Students should be willing to replace a uniform when it has become obviously worn, unsightly, or significantly damaged. You might wish to have two different uniforms; one for daily use, and one for more formal occasions. Some martial arts styles pride themselves on how tattered and grungy their practitioners look. In Tensoku Ryu we have nearly the exact opposite sense of pride.
For the first time you are a potential candidate to become an instructor. This does not mean you are automatically entitled to become an instructor nor that you are already enrolled in some form of instructor training program. Very few people become an instructor. Most people do not have the necessary time, desire, or disposition to become an instructor. Becoming an instructor is something that both you and your Head Instructor must both feel comfortable with and upon which you both must agree.
If you are interested in teaching and your Head Instructor decides you are a good candidate to become an instructor then you will be asked to carefully study all previous student manuals, become intimately familiar with the contents of the Tensoku Ryu Instructor’s Manual, and go through the necessary training program defined by your Head Instructor. Upon completion of this training and upon obtaining the permission of your Head Instructor, you may apply to the Sei Tensoku Ryu for a teaching certificate. You will require the signature of your Head Instructor before submitting the teaching certificate request. Upon approval, your teaching certificate will be mailed to your Head Instructor.
As explained in the Tensoku Ryu Instructor’s Manual, you will, upon receiving your teaching certificate, be qualified to teach any student who holds a White, Yellow, or Orange Belt. You may not teach, except in some specific cases, anyone with a Purple Belt or higher ranking. If you advance to Green belt, then you will be authorized to teach anyone with a Purple Belt or lower ranking. Instructor’s may only teach students, on a permanent basis, who are two ranks or lower than the instructor’s rank. This means instructors must review additional belt curriculum material each time the instructor advances in rank if they wish to teach more advanced students.
Instructors who have not yet achieved the rank of Brown Belt or above will wear a Red Belt when teaching or performing normal duties in the Dojo (including participation in any training activities with their instructor). This means the Red Belt is an instructor’s normal belt while at the Dojo. Instructors will wear their normal belt color (Blue or Green) only in some specific circumstances. These include testing and other activities where it is necessary to know the instructor’s true belt ranking.
You may elect to explore teaching now or at any time in the future. You may wish to delay teaching until you have achieved your Shodan ranking. You might also wish to explore teaching now so that you gain the benefits of learning about the martial arts from an entirely new perspective. There is no requirement that you make a decision about teaching today. You, having achieve Gokyu, can explore teaching now or at any time in the future.
You should also recognize that your Head Instructor may feel you are not yet quite prepared to teach or may have more than enough instructors in training at the moment. You should not feel disappointed or rejected if your Head Instructor asks you to wait for some period or undertake some specific areas of improvement before you again inquire about becoming an instructor. You should not perceive these as rejections or dismissals of your abilities but rather as part of the overall process of becoming an instructor.
It may take you a year or more to become certified as an instructor. During that process you may encounter numerous obstacles and tasks you must overcome or undertake. You should never find yourself subject to hazing (and any hazing should be reported to the Sei Tensoku Ryu), but rather be asked to explore areas of further improvement and refinement. You should expect these requests to be handled in a very courteous and respectful manner. We want you to eventually teach, but we also want to ensure you have all the of the requisite skills and required perspectives to be more than simply adequate as an instructor.