Five students have tested and earned new black belt ranks!
With the temporary closing of our school doors for regular in person classes due to restrictions from COVID-19, Grandmaster Crandall evaluated how he and the school could take care of the students who had been put up to test for black belt. We have exceptional students who are loyal and dedicated to the school, and while they would be patient and wait for the testing to be held at a later date, it is important for our students to continue their growth and training in this traditional Art. The training hall may be the "home of American Eagle Style Students," but the training hall is only a building. It is, always has been, and will always be about people. Therefore, the five candidates were each tested separately by Grandmaster Crandall and Headmaster Stalloch during the week of March 16.
Every black belt testing is different. In these particular testings, self defense skills were demonstrated with imaginary partners, meaning there was no physical contact with the candidate because they were evaluated individually. Some of the areas which the candidates did demonstrate included punches, kicks, basic forms, advanced techniques, and katas including Old Koryo, Chulgi 1, Eye of the Eagle, Pal-gwe 1, weapons forms and many others. 5th Dan candidates demonstrated forms including Hookiyu, Hansoo, Heian 4, Simplicity, and Sil Lum. Other areas included Standing Waza, ippon kumite, escape hanza techniques, board breaking, self defense skills (without a partner), and more. Each candidate also took a written exam. Some areas were not demonstrated at these particular testing such as sparring; however, not all areas must be demonstrated at every testing (every test is different) and sparring skills and other areas can always be observed when regular classes resume. It is about the journey, not the destination.
Grandmaster Crandall is pleased to announce that the following American Eagle Style students have passed their black belt examination:
1st Degree Black Belt, Adult Rank Status
1st Degree Black Belt, Adult Rank Status
1st Degree Black Belt, Adult Rank Status Zachary Slade
1st Degree Black Belt, Adult Rank Status Vincent Seigfried
5th Degree Black Belt Christie Faulkner
Black belt is a prestigious rank, one recognized around the world. In the American Eagle Style, there are ten degrees (Dan) of black belt. Only one person may hold the rank of 10th Dan, the head of the school who determines its direction and certifies its instructors. For the American Martial Arts Institute, this is Grandmaster Crandall. In addition, there are 8 gyups (belt ranks) that must first be earned. All students begin as white belts and test for each rank, maturing in the style through its traditional process.
Essential for all students who test for the black belt ranks is a demonstration of school involvement, a proper martial arts attitude, self-motivation, and accountability. This includes participating in seminars, school competitions, weapon's classes, cleaning days, ceremonial luncheons, and other events held by the school designed to help students grow as traditional martial artists. These events are held specifically as part of their training. They must also have attended multiple classes each week in the months prior to testing, including being observed by all five Master Instructors. They must be directly accountable to their instructor reporting on their attendance, participation, and other factors.
Black belt candidates should have read in their entirety and be familiar with the American Eagle Style Textbook, the American Martial Arts Institute American Eagle Style Superkick Workbook, Be Safe Physically and Mentally with the Crandall System, and Leadership Piece by Piece. In addition, they must write a 500-650 page paper, which must be accepted by Grandmaster Crandall and all five Master Instructors. These are all pre-qualifications before the student's instructor can even consider them to test. They must also have a minimum of 6 months as a first rank brown belt, but this is a minimum and it can often take much longer.
First Degree Black Belt candidates have already been a student for a minimum of 5 1/2 years prior to testing, with many having trained for 6, 7, or 8 years. The American Martial Arts Institute is a traditional school. In part, this means that the style's knowledge, techniques, etiquette, philosophy, and processes are maintained consistently from generation-to-generation. The rank of first degree is graded out of a score of 100 possible points, with a minimum of 80 points needed to pass. Fifth Degree Black Belt candidates have an additional 2-4 years at each black belt rank at a minimum, and in some cases it can be much longer. The rank of 5th Degree is only available to instructors.
This is only a small part of what goes into earning a black belt in the American Eagle Style.
Candidates receive their certificate of rank at the next black belt ceremonial luncheon.