Bonafide Brush-wielding Black Belt


Saturday my teacher notified me that I have reached shodan (初段). There are two ranking systems in shuji (習字): kyuu (級) and dan (段). These systems parallel those of any dojo (道場) style of study, like karate (空手) or kendo (剣道). Because of this, I like to refer to shodan as black belt level; and we all know “The brush is mightier than the sword”!

Since July I have been in no man’s land between kyuu and dan. My rank was jun-shodan (準初段). Jun is a prefix meaning sub- or pre-. Technically, they aren’t ranks in and of themselves, but rather intermediate steps. I was excited when I reached that level, but there wasn’t any special recognition. This time there is.

When she told me about my advance, my teacher gave me a shinseisho (申請書), which means application form. There are two items I can order with this form: the shodan ninteishou (初段認定証), beginning-dan certificate; and the shotou shihan menkyojou (初等師範免許状), elementary-level instructor license. Officially, I think this may allow me to perform basic instruction without meeting the same fate as Bruce Lee.

The full instructor’s license is available from fifth-dan and above. I will be filing for a license and will put an image up here when I get it. I can’t show you my work until next week, when it officially gets returned. I did get a peek at it last Saturday, to see the official marks. I was a little surprised that my work deserved advancement because I only practiced the work one time in December: either they are kind at the end of the year, or maybe I am learning something.

Another change at this level is the ability to use paper without guideline markings. More on this in another post.


2 Responses to “Bonafide Brush-wielding Black Belt”

  1. verbivore Says:

    Congratulations – that is quite an accomplishment. Be sure to post some photos when you get the work back.

  2. Stefanie Says:

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to see photos of your work.

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