Top 3 Traits of a Shodan

As a dedicated yukyusha on the path to Shodan, I think it’s fair to get hung up on technique or ukemi or simply the physical movement since after all we are practicing a martial art. But I wanted to share some of the responses from several black belts in the USAF on what they feel the Top 3 Traits a Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) possesses. These are intangibles that can be worked on. They are qualities that develop but most important they are traits that round out an individual to become something greater than they are. Many Shihan believe that the word ‘Shodan’ translates as ‘Serious Student’ and once you obtain Shodan, you’ve now earned the right to train. Take a look at some responses: (in rank order, lowest to highest)

1. Commitment
2. Humility
3. Respect

Richard Pierce, 1st Dan
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1. Effort
2. Enthusiasm
3. Respect

Ed Haponik, 2nd Dan
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1. Humility
2. Dedication
3. Etiquette

James Hyde, 2nd Dan
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1. Humility
2. Disciplined
3. Adventurous

Andy Wood, 3rd Dan
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1. Dedication
2. Openness
3. Perseverance

Mike Cundall, 3rd Dan
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1. Attitude
2. Etiquette
3. Passion

Jonathan Weiner, 4th Dan, Shidoin
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1. Hard work
2. Prepared
3. Conviction

Michelle Feilen, 6th Dan
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1. Dedicated
2. Precise
3. Helpful

Dennis Main, 6th Dan, Shidoin
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1. Commitment
2. Determination
3. Perseverance

Andy Demko, 7th Dan, Shihan
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If Black Belt is a goal, I challenge any 4th Kyu – 1st Kyu to rank themselves on these traits.

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