Unified Fighting Arts Association 

What are Martial Arts?

Martial Arts refer to codified systems of combat which employ empty handed striking, kicking, grappling, throwing or weapon wielding techniques.  Mental discipline and the search for knowledge are also part and parcel of almost every martial art.  While some martial arts focus on using one's feet to attack or disarm an opponent, most martial arts concentrate on the use of one's hands or making throws to render an opponent useless.

Some of the more popular martial arts are: Karate, Kenpo, Ju Jutsu, Kung Fu, and Tae Kwon Do.  Each of these stresses the art form of the discipline itself.  Through repeated practice of basic moves, steps, punches, and kicks, students of these martial arts develop coordination, strength, agility and mental discipline.

What is a belt for?

Belts are goals that are set for students to meet on their road to martial arts training and personal improvement.  To obtain the first belts, the goals are more easily met and involve more help from the instructor.  Techniques are fairly simple early on and increase in difficulty as the students’ progress.  Students will progress at the speed that’s equal to their personal abilities.  There are nine belts, or goals in the sequence starting with white on up to, “the ultimate goal”, Black Belt.


How are the belts ranked?

Promotion exams are conducted at the discretion of the students Chief Instructor, but on average are conducted on a quarterly or semi-annual basis for lower ranks and annually for higher ranks.  Whether a student is eligible for testing, is dependent upon several criteria: attendance; skill and knowledge development.  Belts are ranked as follows: White, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple, brown (one stripe), brown (two stripes), brown (three stripes) and finally, Black.  Students must be age 15 or older to be eligible to test for Black Belt, or 1st Dan.  Black Belts are ranked from 1st Dan (degree) to 9th Dan.  The highest rank of distinction is a 10th Dan who is considered to be a founder or successor of a style or system.


What does certification mean?

In the Unified Fighting Arts Association (U.F.A.A.), colored belt ranks are certified, or officially recognized by both the U.F.A.A. and the Unified Fighting Arts Federation (U.F.A.F.).  Both are nationally recognized organizations.  All colored certifications are registered with the association; and all black belt certifications are registered with both the association and federation.


What is a Black Belt?

A Black Belt is a student recognized for their commitment to the martial arts who has achieved a high level of proficiency and knowledge in the art of empty handed combat.  This proficiency includes speed, accuracy, strength and thorough knowledge of a large amount of technique; both in theory and application, as well as information and history.  A Black Belt is worn by a person who possesses the quality of courtesy, integrity, self control, perseverance and immovable spirit in addition to demonstrating knowledge of the aspects of the martial arts as presented to them by their instructor.


What is a Master?

Master is the title given to a 4th Dan Black Belt or higher.  This title is given in recognition of the level.  In some cases, as head of an association, a 5th Dan of higher is called a Shihan.  Master Instructors have shown the knowledge and technical skills to be a leader in the Martial Arts Community.  Only Master Instructors can conduct certified promotion tests.


What happens after reaching Black Belt?

Upon attainment of Black Belt, a student will realize that Black Belt is not the completion of their training, but only the beginning.  While a Black Belt often helps instruct other students and beginners, they also recognize how much more there is for them to learn and continue their own training, advancement and individual improvement, while they also pass on what they have learned to new students.  Teaching others teaches a student many things about themselves and their own technique.  By analyzing and teaching a technique the student is also analyzing their own abilities and makes them become better.  This is part of a cycle in the martial arts.  Of all the training learned from an instructor, upon reaching Black Belt, a student becomes a teacher or assistant and gives that knowledge back to the program in the form of teaching new students who may one day do the same.  This keeps the art alive for many more generations and is the principle on which all martial arts have continued to sustain themselves for centuries passed.  The knowledge and art of our school is a gift that is meant to be shared with others who strive to learn and better themselves.


What is the role of the instructor?

The instructor’s goals are to build and support the development of confident students.  These students are individuals with goals, discipline, and a sense of proper direction in their lives.  Students will also have needs and the instructors are there to see that those needs are met in the training to help students become better human beings.  The method of training, in all aspects, is a goal-oriented system which serves as a positive reinforcement to growth as individuals.


How does the instructor discipline when necessary?

Since martial arts training aims to help individuals become better persons, there is an appropriate place for discipline within the training.  When a students fails to perform or behave in an appropriate manner, disciplinary actions may include: push-ups, sitting out, verbal scolding, or in extreme cases - demotion or expulsion from the dojo.  Any disciplinary action in any case will be discussed with the student or parent(s) in private so that the nature of the circumstances and discipline are fully understood.  Parents should not hesitate to include the instructor if there is a discipline problem outside of the dojo.


What is belt testing?

Once again, promotion tests are conducted according to the discretion of the Chief Instructor but on average are conducted on a quarterly or semi-annual basis.  When the student has demonstrated knowledge and proficiency with the appropriate outlined rank requirements, that student then becomes eligible to test.  As in any educational institution, the instructors know when a student is ready to test, so please trust their judgment.

The colored belt exams are open to family and friends to attend and watch.  The student will perform the required material in front of the testing instructor(s) as well as the audience.  Beginner students and children are given the assistance if needed to help them fulfill the requirements to earn their belt.  This helps build confidence and teaches them to know what it expected of them.  Advanced students are expected to complete the exam with little or no assistance.  Black Belt exams are to be conducted over a three to four day period, with only the second day being closed to family, friends and students, and must be passed with no assistance.


Can a student fail?

No.  If a student continues to make the effort and perseveres, then the student will never fail.  The student may not complete all the requirements at the time of the test, but re-tests are always offered a week or two later on missed material for colored belts and a month or two later for Black Belts.  It is not about failing, but succeeding.  Instructors will see that each student can succeed no matter what it takes.  In the dojo, four letter words like “can’t” and “don’t” are replaced with “can” and “do”.  Without giving up, there is no failure.


What are test fees?

There is a fee for each level of belt testing.  This fee covers the cost of belts, certification, examiner’s fee, and in some cases, travel.  Test fees are due prior to testing and tuition must be current in order to test.  Any special arrangements with testing fees must be made with the instructor and examiner prior to the test date.


Why are students required to bow?

We bow upon entering and leaving the dojo, out of respect to those who have gone before and those who still have yet to become.  We bow upon meeting our instructors and seniors out of respect for their experience, knowledge and commitment.  It is used in greeting, courtesy, gratitude and respect.  This method of recognizing authority, experience and greater knowledge helps to strengthen a student’s respect for authority in and out of the dojo whether it is parents, teachers, police, adults or other persons of stature.  It also fosters a sense of respect for the training, the goals and the person they aspire to become.


Why learn Japanese terminology?

Japanese is the universal language of Karate and Jujutsu.  With a strong grasp on the terminology, our students could go to any training center in the world and understand the training.  Learning and using Japanese language is also necessary in the event that Masters from overseas should make a visit to the dojo.  Instructors from Okinawa and Japan naturally conduct their classes, training, and commands in Japanese and are always impressed when American students can understand them.   It is also fun for students to learn words in another language.


Can and should parents stay and watch their children in class?

Parents are always welcome to stay during their children’s class as long as they are neither disruptive nor distracting.  Most children and beginners have very short attention spans and are easily distracted.  We, as instructors want the students and parents to be comfortable with class, and can do our best job when we have the undivided and complete attention of the students, but if the child is continuously running to his/her parent, this could be a problem.  A benefit for the children to having their parent watch is that the parents can help their children at home.  By watching the parents can pick up things a child might have missed, and the parents can write the techniques down for their children.  


What if a student wants to quit?

Almost all students reach this point periodically and need guidance and encouragement from their parents and their instructor.  Each belt can be viewed as a short-term commitment and used as an evaluation point.  The long-term commitment may be the black belt with the smaller goals established to get a student there.  Martial arts are a means for learning how to establish, set, and achieve goals as well as setting new goals and creating long-term goals.  Small set backs or frustrations should not deter a student from their short or long term goals.  Many times a child is unable to make long term decisions like this.  They are more concerned with the here and now.  Parents need to give their children guidance and not just let them quit and give up.  On the other hand, we understand that it may be difficult to convince a child to continue to do something once their mind has been made up to quit.  In this case have the child achieve or finish the short-term goal of their next rank and see if that accomplishment changes their mind.  If not, take a break from training.  It is very difficult to try to teach a student that does not really want to be training.  In our experience once a student quits they do not return and the student that gives up generally wishes they would not have at some point down the road.  Parents or students with concerns are always encouraged to talk to their instructor.

How much do students need to practice?

As with anything, the more you practice the better you will be.  As a beginning student it is not important to remember everything and expect perfection.  If you can only remember how to do techniques, such as a kick, block, strike or stance and not a sequence or series of moves, then only practice the techniques you can, even this will make your ability better.


What if students use their martial arts to hit, kick, or injure someone?

The instructor needs to know about such behavior immediately.  Whether it happens on the playground with classmates or at home with siblings, this should be addressed immediately and can only be done with your help.  In some cases, teachers will report such behavior directly to us. It is important to remember that martial arts are for self-defense only, not malicious attacks or horseplay; someone could get hurt.  If we find out that this was the case and not in self-defense the student will no longer be allowed to train.  We will examine all of the circumstances before making a final decision.


Are students required to compete in tournaments?

It is not required, but strongly recommended that students participate in a tournament or two during their training.


Can someone compete on the state, national or international level?

Anyone interested in competing in a high level of competition has every opportunity to do so.  See Master Dixon if this is something you are interested in.


What can students do to get the most out of the martial arts?

The most important thing students, as well as parents, can do to ensure the best possible training available is to trust the instructors with the training for you and/or you child.  The instructors work very hard to develop the best training programs they can with every step taken, every method used for a reason.  Your confidence and support guarantees that you will get the most from your martial arts training.


Why are the martial arts so popular?

The martial arts’ popularity comes mainly from the fact that it is not a passing fad.  It has withstood the tests of time.  It is much more than self-defense skills training.  It is a lifestyle of physical and mental training and challenges that encourage an individual to strive to do more and be more.  Martial arts’ training has proven to develop an individual’s complete mental and physical being coupled with an immovable spirit.