On July 3, Grandmaster Crandall promoted instructor Mrs. Gisella Stalloch to the rank of 6th Degree Black Belt.
There are 10 degrees (Dan) of black belt in the American Martial Arts Institute, American Eagle Style. The rank of 10th Dan is held by one individual, the Grandmaster. The rank of 9th Dan may be held by one individual, the successor to the Grandmaster. For all other degrees, there may be several individuals and for each of these ranks there are extensive tests that must be passed before the Grandmaster will promote the student into the new level. 7th degree black belts are also recognized for with the title of Master in the style, due to their responsibilities to the school, accountability to the Grandmaster, and their extensive knowledge and skills in the style. The rank of 1st degree takes a minimum of 5 and 1/2 years to achieve, and often takes longer. For each additional level of black belt there is a minimum of 2-3 years between ranks and often this can take longer. The opportunity to test for 6th Degree and higher ranks is rare. Not all people have the chance to test for these ranks and falling short of the criteria established for 6th Degree and above can and does happen, resulting in failure.
At the level of 6th Dan, a major change occurs and the individual who attains this rank is now responsible for all students in the entire school, and they are directly responsible to Grandmaster Crandall to fulfill these obligations.
The testing for 6th dan takes up to 6 months to complete and includes an extensive, research based written exam that is similar to a thesis in a Master's Degree at a University. In addition to this rigorous exam, the individual must demonstrate the katas Cheongwon, Heian 5, Gekisai, Bassai Sho, and Sip Jin, and 6 full weapons katas (extension tools) taught by our school. This is in addition to advanced self defense techniques, such as seated self defense, a firm awareness of the seiza waza, waza, and ippon kumites The individual must also be actively involved in many areas of the school. The level of 6th Dan is only available to instructors who have been directly responsible for the teaching of students.
Normally 9-15 hours of personal sit-down evaluation between the candidate and Grandmaster Crandall takes place over a two week period.
After more than 20 years of training, one dedicated individual has passed their testing and achieved the rank of 6th Degree Black Belt.
Congratulations to Mrs. Gisella Stalloch who has successfully completed all requirements and met the high standards of quality and consistency for the rank for 6th Dan.