- 武道学研究 (ISSN:02879700)
- vol.37, no.1, pp.1-9, 2004-07-31 (Released:2012-11-27)
Study of the history and meaning of dan and kyu grades is one key to the essential character of Budo. Using this idea we began research into the origin of the dan grade system in Shogi, during the Edo period of Japanese history. The dan grade system in certain Kenjutsu and Jujutsu schools where comparable systems existed. For our final reseach we studied the grade system of Judo in the context of the clear intentions established by Jigoro Kano, and we considered how both kendo and kyudo have adopted grading systems and their meaning.Results were as follows:1. There were 9 dan grade steps in Shogi at the beginning of the 18th Century. A Shogi player could be promoted to the next grade if he won a game against Iemoto, the top authority and 9th dan holder. Only Iemoto was permitted to hold 9th dan.2. The Jigenryu of kenjutsu school established its own dan grade syustem from 1st to 4th dan at the begininng of the Edo era in order to keep the students motivated. The Tenjin-shinyoryu Jujutsu at the end of the Edo era established 3 dan grade steps: sho dan, chu dan and jo dan. Both systems had similar policies for dan promotion, requiring length of training and technical skills in kata. Also intangible factors such as being of good character, and not aggressive, but with a determined spirit. The system at that time had only a few 3 or 4 dan grades and there was a long time between promotions, and so students could eventually lack motivation.3. Jigoro Kano, the founder of the Kodokan, established the dan grade system in Judo from 1st dan upwards (without an upper limit), with kyu grades from 5th to 1st, because he disagreed with the traditional grading system and its excessively long intervals to the next grade. He allowed students who had reached 6th dan to teach Judo, and then encouraged study more deeply into the heart of judo before arriving at 10th dan or Shihan. The other purpose of establishing the dan grade system was to stabilize the organization on a firm financial footing. The Dai Nippon Butokukai, established in 1895 in Kyoto, adopted the dan grade system for Judo and kyu grade system for Kendo which was used in Tokyo Police. In 1917, the Butokukai adopted the dan and kyu system for both Judo and Kendo, then in 1923 also adopted the dan and kyu system for Kyudo.4. The dan and kyu grade system used today in Judo examines students for promotion up to 6th dan on points obtained in competitions and on their performance of kata. Above 6th dan are judged on their depth of knowledge and their contribution to judo. The grading system in Kendo examines skills in competitions and kata and there is a written test in addition. Correct posture and being able to use a sword correctly are considered to be more important than winning in the examining matches for promotion. Fees for promotion are used for further development of the organization.