Full Circle Martial Arts Academy
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Overview of the Ranking System
Student progress through the Marudo system at FCMA is measured and recognized through a system of belt rank promotions. Each belt color indicates an increase in skill sets, knowledge of techniques, additional katas, terminology and in some cases, character development and maturity.
The amount and complexity of the requirements increases as one moves higher through the belt ranking system and the duration and intensity of the belt tests adjusts accordingly.

The time required between belts is not a set amount of time but it does increase as you go higher in belt rank. While the average time it takes to go from white belt to yellow belt may only be about 3-4 months, going from purple to brown may take 8-10 months. The time required will be determined on an individual basis as evaluated by Master Pierce.

Important Considerations
While the above overview describes the generalities of the overall FCMA ranking system, there are several issues that are taken into consideration by the FCMA Rank Promotions board on a case by case basis. Every student is an individual and there are certain factors that must be weighed into each individual rank promotion decision. Below is a list of some of these considerations:

  • While general requirements must be met by all students, every student is a unique individual and must be evaluated as such.

  • Belt ranking is not a competition and students and/or parents should not treat it as such by comparing one students rate of progress to another.

  • Meeting specific outlined requirements is a must for everyone, however limitations such as physical handicaps, learning disabilities and limitations due to aging are taken into consideration.

  • Youth is not an excuse for not meeting belt requirements. If a child cannot meet the requirements simply due to being too young and/or immature, then they will have to wait until they are ready. They will always get older and more mature but a senior citizen will not get younger and more flexible. As a rule of thumb, if something that is holding you back (youth, injury, fitness, etc) can or will change and be overcome, then your rank promotion will have to wait for it. If it can never get better (disabilities, old age, etc) then you will be evaluated on what should be expected of you in your personal situation.

  • Your journey through the FCMA belt ranking system is a personal journey between you and Master Pierce and should not be compared to that of your fellow students. Our goal is to help you experience YOUR full potential and the ranking system should indicate your progress to reach that goal... not in reaching a specific line in the sand that is the same for everyone.


Black Belt Rank
All the above guidelines especially apply to the rank of Black Belt, along with several other considerations. One thing that separates the Black Belt rank from the other ranks is that this rank defines you as a "Sensei" (teacher). You cannot obtain the rank of Sensei if you cannot teach. Learning to teach is not negotiable at FCMA and a certain level of competency to be evaluated by the FCMA board is an absolute must.
Some students are natural teachers and will always be able to teach better than others, just as some are natural fighters and will always fight better than others.

The point is that both students must have a certain level of competency in all required areas. If you're a great teacher but cannot grasp fighting at all, you won't be a Sensei. Likewise if you're an awesome fighter but refuse to try to teach at some level of proficiency, you won't be a Sensei. If you're too young and immature to handle either of these, then you'll have to wait until you get older. These and all other rank promotion issues will be fully evaluated by the FCMA Rank Promotions Board when considering each student.


Taking your Tests
Be sure that you adequately practice, study and prepare prior to taking your test. Passing tests is not automatic and we WILL flunk students that are not prepared.

All tests are performed by Master Pierce. All black belt promotions will be discussed by the FCMA rank promotions board prior to making a final decision.

All rank certificates will be considered and signed by multiple senior black belt instructors from the FCMA board.

  • Yellow thru Brown Belt certification: Three signatures will consist of Master Pierce and two other Senseis.
  • Black Belt certification: Four signatures will consist of Master Pierce, Master Hunt and two other Senseis
  • Black Belt dan promotions: Four signatures will consist of Master Pierce or Master Hunt and three other Senseis



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