NOTE: The term Menkyo (免許) means “license,” and indicates that the recipient is approved and authorized to act as an expert representative for a particular art or school. This is an old practice which predates, (and sometimes augments) the kyu/dan grading system.
DKI is not a style-specific organization. We believe that the application of kyusho-jitsu and tuité-jitsu principles to any style, reveals the true and original combative intent of that style. Rank in DKI was never to be independent of rank in one’s source style, because kyusho-jitsu and tuité-jitsu are not “add-on” skills. For this reason, DKI rank has always been about the full integration of kyusho-jtsu and tuité-jitsu into any given system. This is the reason Sensei Dillman has always accepted qualified individuals into DKI at the rank they already held in their source style.
As DKI became larger, Sensei entrusted his most senior students to bring interested persons up to skill so they could become DKI members and be recognized at their held dan rank. And this is where the problems began, because, we seniors have not always been evaluating candidates using the same criteria. And over time, this has produced a situation in which dan ranks within DKI can vary in their requirements as broadly as dan ranks issued by completely separate organizations. To solve this problem, Sensei Dillman and I had been discussing the institution of a testing board that each member of DKI would be required at the Master rank (every current 4-6th dan, and all future Master rank candidates) to pass. Only Grandmasters would be “grandfathered.”
The idea is that, with a number of Grandmasters serving together on the board, and all current up and coming Masters appearing before the board, standards and criteria will become more consistent. Sensei has only been hesitant in making this mandatory across DKI because of the logistical issues it might create in a world-wide organization.
Believing board testing is a good idea, and wanting my students (and myself, for that matter) to benefit from this practice, I asked several of my collegues to serve on a board. Not only are they willing to help, but several of them are making this test mandatory for their students, as I am making it mandatory for my students. Our students will present themselves before this board, in order to verify that their skill and proficiency in kyusho-jitsu, tuité-jitsu, and the accompanying principles of bunkai and self-defense, are consistent with the best practices of DKI.
The board has the first examination scheduled during the daytime, on the Friday of the Indianapolis Summer Camp (with the intention of holding an exam annually at the same time). In order to maintain consistency of evaluation, the Menkyo Grading Board will be composed of fundamentally the same members from year to year. Those approved by the Board will receive a special patch, together with their promotion to the next dan grade. While this exam is mandatory for my students, I am more than happy to invite the students of other instructors before the board for evaluation and approval (provided they have their own instructor’s permission, and have otherwise fulfilled all appropriate criteria for promotion as defined by their instructor).
What follows is information about the testing process (but, please note that I have not finalized this information, and I have not yet established the registration process).
Menkyo Examination Board: Candidate Information
1. Examination will be offered annually, during the daytime, on the Friday of the Indianapolis Summer Camp (additional Menkyo examinations may be offered at other times and places depending on the availability of the board).
2. Each testing candidate must provide 3 uke who will be part of an uke pool (uke will assist by rotation in the testing for two or three candidates during a one hour period). One of those 3 uke may be the candidate him/herself.
3. The number of test spots is limited. When demand is high, preference will be given to any who are retesting, and to those with greater seniority.
4. Each candidate will have up to 20 minutes to demonstrate mastery (it is not required that the candidate utilize the entire 20 minutes). This is a test of competence, not content, so candidates will be expected to show competence in the following areas:
a. Perform Naihanchi Shodan and provide application (at least 3 techniques)
b. Demonstrate safe and effective kyusho-jitsu based on sound application of the principles
c. Demonstrate safe and effective tuité-jitsu based on sound application of the principles
d. Demonstrate an accurate understanding of practical bunkai and real-world application
e. Demonstrate proper revival methods
f. Demonstrate full integration of Dillman Method into all aspects of the candidate’s art
g. Demonstrate other appropriate areas of research or competence which further attest to the candidate’s mastery
5. Each candidate will organize his/her presentation in whatever manner best suits them, and they should not expect to field any questions or comments from the board. The following general guidelines should be followed.
a. During the exam, the candidate will be expected to direct the uke in the attack, and give a brief description of the technique. Then the candidate is to demonstrate the technique, with proficiently, against an attack delivered with intent.
b. Candidate’s may demonstrate additional kata and bunkai (beyond Naihanchi) or organize the presentation in any manner which is appropriate to their art or practice.
c. Candidates are encouraged to keep explanation to a minimum in favor of demonstration.
d. The board will be looking for incapacitation and/or domination of the attacker/uke by means of joint manipulation, pressure points, and superior positioning. One or two knockouts are sufficient to allow the board to evaluate revival skills.
e. The board expects some techniques to fail, Mastery includes the ability to recover from failure and maintain, or reestablish, control over the attacker/uke.
f. Injuring an uke is evidence of a lack of control and mastery, and will generally result in a fail.
6. Candidates will be informed of the Board’s decision before training has concluded on Saturday. Candidates may ask for and receive direct feedback from Board members after the exams are complete.
7. Testing costs $400, which includes the cost for the DKI diploma/plaque and the Menkyo patch. The fee for retesting is $100. Information on registration and payment will be provided at a later time.