Requirements

Rank Requirement Structure

General Rank Chart

Some rank recognition's are honorary based on contribution to the arts ! 1st to 4th dan ranks not issued to New Founders (* listed ages are examples)

RankMinimum AgeTime In Arts
1st Dan141.5 Years
2nd Dan203 Years
3rd Dan185 Years
4th Dan207 Years
5th Dan2510 Years
6th Dan3013 Years
7th Dan3515 Years
8th Dan4018 Years
9th Dan4520 Years
10th Dan5025 Years

 

Ranks of 5th dan to 10th dan are issued to new founders and follow this guideline !

Each headfounder is given a rank with a one-year probationary period, then re-evaluated by the spomsors.

No new founder is tested or judged for sponsorship as a headfounder, rather they are asked to give a formal presentation of their new system to the BOD as a sign of mutual respect.

Basic Requirements

Types of ISHH Membership and Requirements

Traditional Systems

Gunshi and Waizufu authorized to sponsor head-founders
(Gunshi is Japanese for “master of small and large arts – Waizufu is Chinese for “grandfather or patriarch”)

  • Must provide present documented proof of inheritorship of a pre 1887 Asian martial art.
  • Must supply a complete resume of personal achievements and background in the martial arts.
  • Must supply the complete lineage of the art inherited.
  • Must supply names and addresses of witnesses to the documentation.
  • Must agree to a background investigation to include both personal background and martial arts background.
  • Must agree to demonstrate and explain their art before the Executive Board.
  • Must agree to serve as a sponsoring headfamily fo the new founders.

Inheritors of Modern or Western Non-Traditional Martial Arts Systems

Nidai Youshiki Soke / Haoudai-Sigung not authorized to sponsor head-founders
(Nidai Youshiki Soke is japanese for “2nd generation founder western style” – Haoudai-Sigung is Chinese for “the head of the next generation”)

  • Must provide present documented proof of inheritorship of a post 1887 non-Asian martial art.
  • Must supply a complete resume of personal achievements and background in the martial arts.
  • Must supply the complete lineage of the art inherited.
  • Must supply names and addresses of witnesses to the documentation.
  • Must agree to a background investigation to include both personal background and martial arts background.
  • Must agree to demonstrate and explain their art before the Executive Board.

New Founders

Shodai / Daiyong
A Shodai / Daiyong is a first generation founder of a branch or sub-art / system of a traditional martial art pre dating 1887.
(Shodai is Japanese for “first generation” – Daiyong is Chinese for “new generation)

  • Must be at least 35 years of age.
  • Must have documented proof of at least 15 years of training in the arts.
  • Must have at least a master’s rank or equal (5th degree) in an existing Asian or Western martial art.
  • Must supply a complete resume of personal achievements and background in the martial arts.
  • Must supply names and addresses of witnesses to the documentation.
  • Must agree to a background investigation to include both personal background and martial arts background.
  • Must be free from serious criminal record.
  • Must agree to demonstrate and explain their art before the Executive Board.
  • Must agree to be placed on a two year probationary period.
  • Must agree to accept the rank issued by the ISHH Executive Board.
  • Must agree to advertise only ranks and arts registered with the ISHH.
  • Must agree not to create sub-arts or sub-branches of the new art.
  • Must agree to advertise Grandmaster (Shodai-Daiyong) status only in the art recognized by the ISHH.
  • Must agree to register all blackbelts with the ISHH yearly.
  • Must sign an agreement that if you leave the ISHH, you will not continue to advertise former ISHH ranks or memberships.
  • Must agree to support the ISHH and its activities.
  • Must agree not to be an active member of any other “Soke Board”.

New Founders

Youshiki Soke  / Xiadai-Sigung
A Youshiki Soke / Xiadai-Sigung is the founder of  a modern or westernized non-traditional martial arts system created after 1887
(Youshiki Soke is Japanese for “headfounder of a westernized system” – Xiadai-Sigung is Chinese for “headfounder of a contemporary art”)

  • Must be at least 35 years of age.
  • Must have documented proof of at least 15 years of training in the arts.
  • Must have at least a master’s rank or equal (5th degree) in an existing Asian or Western martial art.
  • Must supply a complete resume of personal achievements and background in the martial arts.
  • Must supply names and addresses of witnesses to the documentation.
  • Must agree to a background investigation to include both personal background and martial arts background.
  • Must be free from serious criminal record.
  • Must agree to demonstrate and explain their art before the Executive Board.
  • Must agree to be placed on a two year probationary period.
  • Must agree to accept the rank issued by the ISHH Executive Board.
  • Must agree to advertise only ranks and arts registered with the ISHH.
  • Must agree not to create sub-arts of their new art. (The Youshiki/Xiadai can only add three sub-branches to his/her system. These sub-branches cannot use names of actual martial arts like JUDO, KARATE, AIKIDO, WU MEI, WING CHUN etc. but must refer to the techniques being specialized on, such as atemi-wasa, nage wasa, sutemi wasa etc.)
  • Must agree to advertise Grandmaster status only in the art recognized by the ISHH (cannt advertise grandmaster status in arts outside those authorized by the ISHH).
  • Must agree to register all blackbelts with the ISHH yearly.
  • Must sign an agreement that if you leave the ISHH, you will not continue to advertise former ISHH ranks or memberships.
  • Must agree to support the ISHH and its activities.
  • Must agree not to be an active member of any other “Soke Board”.

Grandfather Clause

In rare cases martial artists who do not fit the minimum requirements, but are recognized as the head of a large organization or style, may be allowed membership due to their contribution to the martial arts.

  • Must be at least 45 years of age.
  • Must have a long background in the martial arts.
  • Must be free from serious criminal record.
  • Must agree to accept the rank issued by the ISHH and advertise it as your real rank.
  • Must agree to register all blackbelts with the ISHH.
  • Must be approved by at east 75% of the Executive Board of Examiners

Masters

  • Must be at least 30 years of age.
  • Must have at least a masters rank (5th degree) in an existing art.
  • Must have at least 15 years in the martial arts.
  • Must be free from criminal record.
  • Must accept the rank issued by the ISHH.
  • Must agree to register all blackbelts with the ISHH.
  • Must agree to be placed on a two year probationary period.

Black Belts

  • Must be at least 17 years of age.
  • Must have at least 2 years in the martial arts.
  • Must hold a black belt in an existing art.
  • Must be free from criminal record.
  • Must accept the rank issued by the ISHH.

Schools

  • Must teach a legitimate (approved) art.
  • Must agree to register all black belts with the ISHH.
  • Must submit background information about the school and it’s owner/instructor for investigation.
  • School charters are issued to an existing martial arts school approved by quoron of the ISHH board of examiners.
Application Fees

Applications must include membership fees and all requested information. The ISHH upon reviewing the information and conducting a background investigation, reserves the right to refuse those individuals that it feels does not meet it's standards.

Blackbelts

Applicants applying for associate membership as blackbelts must pay an initial membership fee of $25.00 followed after one year by a fee of $20.00 for the next two years, with a regular fee of $10.00 yearly after thereafter.

The blackbelts will receive a rank recognition certificate and card from the ISHH.

Masters

Applicants applying for associate membership as blackbelts must pay an initial membership fee of $50.00 then after one year they will pay an annual fee of $20.00.

The masters will receive a rank recognition certificate and card from the ISHH.

Organizations

Organization membership is $100.00 per year.

The organization will receive a ra membership certificate and a reduced rate to register their blackbelts.

Schools

School membership is $25.00 per year.

The school will receive a school charter and reduced rate to register their blackblets.

Students

Optional non blackbelt student registration fee is $5.00 per year.

New Founders
Shodai/Daiyong and Youshiki/Xiadai Headfounders

Applicants applying to have their system recognized pay a one time fee of $500.00 (U.S.)
A minimum of 50% or $250.00 (non-refundable) is required for processing, with the balance due upon approval by the executive council. Fees include certification, registration, teacher’s license and additional materials.

Each new founder will receive a rank certificate, a teachers license and the headfounder sponsorship certificates, plus, in the case of the Shodai, copies of the Japanese family mon assigned to them at no extra cost.

Certification Replacements

All certificates can be replaced (due to loss, damages, upgrading etc.) for a minimal cost covering fee.

The blackbelts will receive a rank recognition certificate and card from the ISHH.

Additional Costs

Members will be offered other optional materials at fair market prices.

All fees are non-refundable.

All checks must be processed before the ISHH issues membership or certification.

All fees are to be paid in U.S. funds.

U.S. / International postal money orders or checks are to be made out to the I.S.H.H. and mailed to:

The International Society of Headfounders / Headfamilies Headquarters
12 Mount Pleasant Ave.
Leominster, MA 01453, USA

How to
contact us

Fill out the form on the right and we will be in touch. If you have specific questions about membership requirements please call us and we will be able to help.

Business Phone: +(978) 537-4434

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