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#435404 - 08/01/12 09:18 AM Meaning of Grade
NRShukokai Offline

Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 2
Hi Everyone,

My firstpost on this forum. I've posted this question on another forum and thought I'd expand the reach.

My Sensei has given me an assignment as part of my Sandan grading next year. Now the thing is, it's hard to tell if he's just messing with our minds (There's a fellow Nidan also given the same assignment) or there actually is a one word meaning.

The assignment is to find out what the one word meaning of Nidan and Sandan is. I've only ever known that Ni is 2 and San is 3 (the exception is whre San is appended to someones name as in Daniel-San, is which case it roughly translates to Mr)

I've been in contact with the Japanese Student Liaison Officer at my local Uni (A Native of Japan) who also came back with the numerical meaning. My Sensei claims that Yondan has a meaning of Honesty, but so far I have found nothing to verify his statement. The meanings have nothing to do with any Katas such as the Pinan's. Sho as in Shodan, has a meaning of Beginning, hence Beginning Black Belt

Has anyone else heard or knows of any alternate meaning of Ni & San?


#435405 - 08/01/12 10:58 PM Re: Meaning of Grade [Re: NRShukokai]
iaibear Offline

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
Please let us know when you find out.

With all the buzzing, it sounds to me like he is trying to make you think.

#435407 - 08/03/12 09:29 AM Re: Meaning of Grade [Re: iaibear]
Ironfoot Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA
As a sandan, you achieve the title "sensei", or TEACHER. I'd say that a nidan could be termed an INSTRUCTOR or even STUDENT.

#435437 - 08/31/12 09:23 AM Re: Meaning of Grade [Re: Ironfoot]
Dobbersky Offline
Peace Works!!!!

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 921
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom
Welcome to the Forum. I'm really looking forward to reading you posts and threads on various topics on Martial Arts etc

Sandan is third Level, Nidan is Second Level

In Knockdown Karate Circles A karateka is known as Sempai (Senior) upto Sandan whereas from there the Karateka is known as Sensei.

Regards to Karate and what it means personally

From the Mudansha/Yudansha grades right through to Nidan one is going through the motions learning kata etc concetrating on The Grading Syllabus etc. But when one reaches Sandan it is like a breath of fresh air, one no longer needs to worry about gradings (many styles only grade to Sandan), one can concetrate on the Ryu, ones Karate itself, there are no longer any timescales, no pressure on getting to a certain level by such a date etc. one can concetrate on a particular technique for as long as it takes to feel this as a natural being.

By Sandan one must be nearing the Ri part of "ShuHaRi" of you and your Karate becoming one. A Kata is not just a "dance" but a way of life. One appreciates ALL Budo and humility of others higher and lower than oneself are instilled into this Level.

I always say that a Mudansha needs to be advised what to do, but a Yudansha already knows what to do.

This can be used for all Dan Grades but I'll expand as to what I need to see before I put Student forward for Shodan (1st Dan)and above is I'm looking for mental attitude as the physical is only part of it.

Seven virtues of Bushido

The Bushido code is typified by seven virtues:








Associated virtues

Filial piety


Care for the aged

You can teach a monkey to perform karate (you can find this on You tube), does that mean it is worthy of a black belt. To me and many Yudansha (blackbelts) the above Virtues are what makes a Yudansha not the physical side.

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.


#435565 - 11/23/12 06:56 AM Re: Meaning of Grade [Re: Dobbersky]
NRShukokai Offline

Registered: 07/26/12
Posts: 2
Hi Everyone,

Well after a lot of searching and questions to as many senior sensei's I know, my sensei has finally given me the word we've been searching for. He hasn't given us Nidan yet, only Shodan & Sandan.

Shodan: Spirit
Sandan: Courage

#435593 - 12/14/12 09:51 PM Re: Meaning of Grade [Re: Ironfoot]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3116
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Ironfoot:

Like "STUDENT" as the fundamental definition myself!!!

Shodan,Nidan,Sandan,Yondon, Etceteria...

We are all students IMV. Rank is irrelevent... Perhaps "irrelevent" is a valid answer too?


#435594 - 12/14/12 09:59 PM Re: Meaning of Grade [Re: Dobbersky]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3116
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello ken:

While I certainly accept your basic gist, and agree with the sentiment and accept you may well be heading in the desired direction for some particular word, (I have no idea...)

Bushido, is the code of the PROFESSIONAL, LIFELONG, JAPANESE SOLDIER of a very specific timeframe. While I enjoy the sentiments of the codes whether Cleary's or Wilson's discussions of Bushido... most of us (sic. NONE of us) will ever fit the definitions mandatory to be a Samurai, nor should we.

The bushido code is an artifical template slapped on Okinawan karate. Its inclusion is very well intended but entirely mistaken construct re: Okinawan karate.

How do we get around that I wonder?


Edited by Ronin1966 (01/20/13 11:35 AM)


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