Sensei Requirements

We have many requirements for our instructors. Some will be obvious, but others may not be something you might normally consider. We’ll cover the more salient requirements in this section, but you may encounter additional requirements as you go through the course.


To teach the art of Tensoku Ryu you must have attained the minimum age of 18 years. If the age of majority in your country is higher, then the higher age of these two ages is the age you must attain before you can become a certified Tensoku Ryu Sensei.


Becoming a certified Tensoku Ryu Sensei is open to all experienced practitioners within or external to the art of Tensoku Ryu.

If you are a Tensoku Ryu practitioner who has attained the rank of Blue Belt (Godan) in Tensoku Ryu then you are eligible to begin the certification process.

If you are not a current Tensoku Ryu practitioner or have only recently become a Tensoku Ryu practitioner then you might still be eligible to undergo certification training. If you have taught another similar martial art for a minimum of one year and have attained the rank of Shodan or its equivalent, then you are eligible to undergo our instructor training. If you have any questions about whether you might be qualified, please feel free to contact us.

Practitioners from other systems including the many forms of Jujitsu, Judo, Aikido, Karate, Kempo/Kenpo, Kung Fu, Kali, Kendo, Iaido, Tai Chi, Baguazhang, and other similar styles are encouraged to undergo our training. We value the experience and insights each system can bring to Tensoku Ryu and your skills and experience will allow you to quickly contribute to our art.


Maturity is a hard quality to measure. It is, of course, a subjective measure. Nonetheless, we require that our instructors be and act mature, regardless of their chronological age. We expect our instructors to be reasonable, supportive, judicious, and earnest. We do not wish to subject any students to instructors who are capricious, vindictive, hostile, disorganized, petty, or thoughtless. Your sponsor will make continual evaluations of your general maturity level and will make recommendations when he or she feels you can benefit from some supportive guidance. Your sponsor might withhold a recommendation that you receive Sensei certification if he or she believes you are not yet sufficiently mature to teach our art.

Language Abilities

We do not have any specific human language requirements. Sensei are free to teach our courses to individuals speaking any language. A Sensei does not need to offer student lessons in English. That said, most of our courses (including the Tensoku Ryu Sensei Training Course), procedures, and practices are currently available online in English. A Sensei and his or her students will currently need the ability to read English to make sense of these materials. We hope to change this in the future, but that will take a substantial dedicated effort and the assistance of people fluent in both English and another language. For now, instructors need to be mindful that students will benefit the most from our systems and courses if they can read English.

Physical Abilities

We have few physical ability requirements for Sensei. A Sensei must be able to communicate how to perform a movement such as a kick or a hand strike and must be able to suggest ways in which a student can make improvements in the performance of the various required skills. This is a communication ability requirement rather than a physical requirement. We do not require that such communication abilities be in any specific form. The communication might be oral, written, or employ a visual method.

While it is beneficial when a Sensei can physically demonstrate how to perform a skill, this is not a requirement. Our Curriculum Courses are quite explicit about how each skill should be performed. A Sensei can rely on the content of a Curriculum Course to convey how a skill should be performed and then offer subsequent suggestions, guidance, and alternatives for the student. A Sensei must be capable of conveying when a student is not accurately following the curriculum content or when the Sensei notices an improvement the student might make when demonstrating a skill requirement.

Since most of our curriculum materials, procedures, and support materials are provided online, a Sensei must have the ability to navigate our websites to review curriculum content, update student Curriculum Cards, manage instruction schedules, request Ranking Examinations for students, and perform other frequent online tasks. We do not define any specific abilities or skills a Sensei must possess to accomplish these online tasks. A Sensei will meet this portion of the requirement if he or she can find a way to accomplish these tasks in a reliable, secure, and consistent manner.

Internet Access

Candidates who wish to take the Tensoku Ryu Sensei Training Course and who hope to become a certified Tensoku Ryu Sensei must have reliable Internet access. Any reasonable Internet access device such as a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer with a modern browser should be sufficient to support access to the required training materials and Sensei support systems on our websites.


You must wear a standard Tensoku Ryu uniform when training with your sponsor and when you ultimately teach students. There should be no exceptions.

The uniform you wear will depend upon what you are teaching and the belt-level of the student(s) you teach. It might also depend on your current Tensoku Ryu rank. We cover more about uniforms and when each uniform is appropriate in relevant lessons in the Tensoku Ryu Sensei Course, but the primary point is you must always be in a proper, well-maintained, and clean uniform when undergoing training and while teaching.

You must also insist that your students are in a uniform that complies with our uniform standards. A new student might not wear a uniform for the first few classes as you instruct him or her on what uniform to acquire and while they await the uniform’s arrival. This short introductory period should seldom last for more than one month. From that point on a student should always be in proper uniform during classes, though you might make special case exceptions for uniforms that become damaged or if a student is displaced from his or her normal life routines. In those circumstances, students may require a short time to acquire a new uniform and might take classes without a uniform in the interim. These should always be special cases and should not become the norm.


In most cases, you and your students must wear a proper ranking belt. This is especially true when teaching lower-ranking students through the Purple Belt (Rokkyu) rank. After that, uniform and belt requirements begin to change and there are many circumstances where wearing a belt is either not required or imprudent. The Tenosku Ryu Sensei Course explores this topic in greater detail.

If you have not yet attained the rank of Brown Belt (Sankyu) in Tensoku Ryu then you will normally wear a red belt when teaching. After achieving Brown Belt rank you will wear your normal ranking belt when teaching.

You will wear your normal ranking belt when attending events such as your ranking examinations. You would wear your regular ranking belt whenever you attend an event where other Sei Tensoku Ryu members must know your true ranking. These events are rare and they should be obvious. When in doubt, bring both belts so you can quickly change if you’ve made a judgment error.

The belt you wear while studying the Tensoku Ryu Sensei Course will depend on whether you are a practicing Tensoku Ryu student having achieved the rank of Godan or above, or if you are new to the Sei Tensoku Ryu.

If you have attained the requisite rank in Tensoku Ryu then you will wear your normal ranking belt while training. You will not wear a red belt until after you have received the Sensei certification. Even if you are asked to fill in temporarily for an absent instructor, you will wear your regular ranking belt while teaching if you have not yet attained your Sensei certification.

Qualified practitioners who have joined the Sei Tensoku Ryu after studying another martial arts system must wear a standard Tensoku Ryu uniform and either a white belt or a belt, sash, or other Obi received from a prior martial arts system. The only requirement is the Obi must be in good condition and not tattered, worn, discolored, or frayed. You will usually have the option of either your existing belt or the white belt, though your sponsor may make some specific alternate recommendations in unusual circumstances.

Once a Sensei certificate has been issued to a practitioner the Sensei must wear either:

  • A red belt if the Sensei has not yet attained the rank of Brown Belt (Sankyu) in Tensoku Ryu
  • The regular ranking belt if the Sensei has attained the rank of Sankyu or higher.

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