Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get a black belt?
The average rule of thumb is 1,000 hours to black belt. This means the average student going to classes twice a
week will take 2-3 years to obtain their shodan (first degree black belt). There are no hard and fast time-in-rank
requirements for each level, so individuals may test or will be promoted when they are ready.

Why is there so much bowing?
Martial arts are military arts. Substitute a bow for the hand salute found in the modern military and you have the
reasoning and function of bowing in a Dôjô.

Do you use contracts?
No! Although perhaps a good business practice, this is a Dôjô and students should be training here because they
desire to do so, not because they are trapped here by a legally-binding piece of paper.

Do you teach children?
No! Martial arts are serious methods of combat and self-improvement. Children do not have the maturity,
mentally, emotionally, or physically to follow this path. The idea of child black belts is ludicrous and totally
inappropriate to legitimate martial arts. Prospective students of the Nikkô Dôjô must be 14 years of age or older
(16 for kenjutsu).

Is previous experience required?
No. New students come to us with all levels of experience in martial arts from brand new beginners to those
with several years. Regardless of previous history, everyone starts at the beginning and works their way up the
ranks at their own pace.

How do I join and take classes?
Although we do not discriminate against any individual or group, martial arts are not for everyone. These arts
require students to let go of their ego for the good of something greater than any individual. Thus, not everyone
who comes through our doors is accepted as a student. Prospective students need to contact the head instructor
and request an appointment to observe a class. This provides an opportunity for the student to get a feel for the
dôjô and its students as well as providing the dôjô with the chance to get a feel for the prospective student. After
observing a class, questions will be answered and the prospect will have an interview with the instructor to
determine compatibility between the prospective student and the rest of the group.

Do you offer specialized programs?
No! The concept of a Dôjô is that of a group mentality with the esprit-de-corps and commonality found in any
specialized group. Students are expected to mold themselves to fit the standards of the Dôjô, so no concessions
are made to any individual. The Dôjô is inflexible. It offers instruction and training in already well-developed
arts, thus no specialized programs are necessary.

Do you have tournaments or go to competitions?
No. If a student wants to participate in a tournament outside of the dôjô, that is allowed, but it has no bearing
on their studies here. Competition is viewed as something that encourages the building of a large ego and self-
centeredness, neither of which is considered a positive characteristic. Thus, competition is discouraged and
avoided, overall.