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If you have a question, please

I am a lifetime member but my name is not on the Instructor List, Student List or the Yoshin Ryu Member List.

Every year the data bases are cleared and the Instructor and Student lists are deleted. The reason for this is keep all contact information accurate. Without an annual membership, there is no way to keep contact info correct and updated. We ask that you simply email the Federation under the subject of AFJ UPDATE with your name, rank, certificate date, style, mailing address and your email address.  If you have no changes, email "no changes" along with your name. You may not change your style or rank with this update. Please allow time for the updates, they are all performed by hand.

Why are there no ranks listed for Black Belt  Instructors including  Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu members?

The AFJ promotes unity among different styles and artists. The  posting of rank  on the internet has caused more dissention then unity in the Jujitsu community. Your rank will be on your certificate, but upper Black Belt ranks are recognized for time in their arts. Try to avoid judging each others abilities, focus on your own path as you advance in the Arts.

What does the term "Founder" mean behind the AFJ Instructors name?

It should be read as a warning to people looking for Instructors. This type of instructor has designed his own art and is teaching his unique style. He may have received little, or no formal training from a "legitimate" instructor. He may have had a lower rank (non-black belt rank) in an art and then branched off and started his own system. On the other hand, he may have received upper belt ranks in other arts and created his own style. This is similar to what Bruce Lee did. He gathered efficient techniques from many different arts and then started his own system. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu started the same way borrowing selected technique from a Japanese style and then added their own unique transition moves. Many arts that are now considered legitimate started this way including Kenpo Jujitsu and Danzan Ryu Jujitsu. So this does not always mean that a founder is not efficient or that he is not a good Instructor.  The AFJ does not endorse a Founders style or qualifications, the AFJ is a registry only. The AFJ recommends that you visit many schools in your area, ask questions, look at the Instructor's personality, their ability, check standings with other Schools in the area and most importantly find an Instructor that suits your personality.

How do I register with the Federation?

Fill out the application and send it along with the registration fee to the provided address.

I want to join but I do not want my name on the web site, how do I register?

Fill out the application and send it along with the registration fee to the provided address at the bottom of the application write "PLEASE KEEP CONFIDENTIAL"

Is having my name listed on the AFJ web site a  part of the benefits of being an AFJ member?

Having your name listed as an Instructor or a Student on the AFJ web site is a free bonus to your rank certification, not an actual required benefit offered by the AFJ to members. The AFJ reserves the right to remove any or all  lists at anytime.

Do I have to send proof of rank?

No, honor is high priority in the Martial Arts community. We respect your integrity. Instructors may either send copies of their rank certificates or if not, they must send a basic history of their martial arts experience.

What forms of payment does the AFJ accept?
We accept personal checks from U.S. banks, U.S. Money Orders or U.S. Currency. Unfortunately, we can no longer accept foreign checks, (our bank charges an excessive fee to clear checks that come from outside the U.S.) We do not accept credit card payments.

How much are the Shipping and Handling fees?

Nothing, the Federation covers the cost of shipping and handling fees inside the USA. For other countries, there is a small additional charge.

How do I know if you received my letter requesting my rank registration?

Watch the AFJ Instructor web page or AFJ Student web page (which ever applies to you), your name will appear the day we processes your request. The large envelopes are in the "mail system" longer then a letter. Be patient, you will receive your package.

What happens if there is a mistake on my certificate or on the web site?

Contact the AFJ. Certificates and the web site will be corrected at no charge if the AFJ Staff makes a mistake. Make sure your spelling, capitalization and punctuation marks are like you want them on your certificate and web site.  If you make an error on the application there will be a shipping fee to send the new paperwork.

When does my certificate expire and are there annual fees?

Never, each certificate is lifetime.  Promoting your registered art is however, required to keep your rank current.   There are no hidden or annual fees. Your registration fee is used for the promotion and unification of jujitsu participants, such as advertising, computer and data base management, internet hosting.

How do I register my students?

After you are a registered AFJ Instructor, you can order rank certificates for your students.  There are no initial registration fees and the fee is the same for each level until they reach Shodan. Student Application Form

My Instructor has died or moved away, can I advance in rank?

Yes, Martial Arts ability is gained through repetitive practice. No matter which style you learn, the most important techniques are taught at the beginning. Just request the advancement.

I am an Instructor who is no longer with an organization and no longer affiliated with a Master or system but I want to continue to teach. What are my options?

Many Instructors have gone through transitions described above. Since you are already an experienced Instructor, there are several possibilities that may work for you:

1. Register your school, Instructors and students under a generic name such as "Aiki Jujitsu" , "Judo", "Aikido" or "Jujitsu" In this case you must adhere to a standard curriculum for the given art's name so your students will know the basics of a given art when visiting other schools that study under a standard name art.

2. Register your school, Instructors and students under a name created by you and your Instructors such as, "Bushido Aiki Jujitsu" In this case you are free to design your own curriculum. On the AFJ site, behind your name and art it will state "Founder or Co-Founder" Check the list on page AFJInstructors when looking for a name that is not used. Or search the web for the name you choose.

Where do I find Guidelines for Yoshin Ryu members?
Click here for all necessary info for Yoshin Ryu Instructors

I started my own style, can I register it with the Federation as the Founder of my style?

Yes, all Martial Art styles were created the same way. Many Martial Arts Associations do not recognize "New Styles". The AFJ does, and here's why. There are no "New Techniques". Martial Arts styles are a collection of certain techniques, or specialized techniques. Karate Styles - a curriculum of strikes and kicks, Judo - a curriculum of throws, hold-downs and strangles, Jujitsu - a collections of all types of techniques. We feel Instructors like yourself, with experiences in many styles, will inevitably create your own curriculum, including techniques that work efficiently. There are two things that can happen.
    First, you can be loyal to a certain style that you were raised in, say a Karate style. When you work with Karate Association leaders, you will wholly support the style to the letter, and when you are at your own Dojo, you will practice "other" techniques in secret, like grappling, strangles, locks, etc. Some Karate Instructors will even state that the secret meaning of every Kata movement, is actually a lock or arm-bar. This gives them the window of opportunity to practice another arts under their own style heading. Or, when they practice "self defense" they use Jujitsu techniques instead of their arts techniques, this also gives them the opportunity to experiment with a "New Art". 
    Secondly, an artist will discover that if you study several styles, you will notice that there are "good" techniques in every style and there are "bad" techniques that you would not want to attempt in battle. They will gather the efficient techniques, design their own curriculum, and teach their "new" art under a given name. This is how Styles were created. Originally, Jujitsu styles were family styles. Each family had their own collection of techniques that worked. If a warrior's technique did not work, he would be severely injured, or die. Nobody in their right mind would want to practice his "technique". If a warrior was successful, everybody would want to learn "His Techniques".  Jujitsu is the only art that was "battle proven", used by a nation as an organized, official hand to hand combat system.
    The danger in this line of thinking, is when a person never fully studies or does not completely understand an art and designs his own list of techniques and promotes himself to a high level of Black Belt. This will create a dangerous combination for his followers and dilute techniques the universally work well for all artist. We believe that an Artist should put his time in with the basic techniques of Martial Arts. Always master the basic techniques before searching for secret technique or the "Holy Grail" technique that may exist only in your imagination. Before anyone engages in the gathering of techniques for "his or her style", they must put their time in training. How long? For some, probably several years. For others, a lifetime. If you are the Founder of your art, please state it during your request for registration into the Federation.

I am an Instructor in "Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu" but not a Black Belt, can I receive a certificate without the Black Belt Line or a Black Belt Rank?

Yes, print the order form and place a note requesting your desired title, such as "Instructor" or "Coach", etc. Also, place a note stating no "Black Belt Instructor Line"

Why doesn't Master Moore have a page about himself?

The American Federation of Jujitsu is a round table of Artists. It does not exists because of one Master, but from the unity of many Masters, Professors and Instructors throughout the World. When you join the Federation you are not one of Master Moore's Instructors, you are considered equal with all others, sharing and promoting grappling arts with all. You are honored for the time and energy that you have dedicated to your Art

Does the AFJ send bulk email?

No, the AFJ does not send bulk email to members nor does the AFJ give away or sell your info for any emailing list.

How do I resign or drop-out of the Federation?
Instructors or students, simply send your request in letter form,  along with your certificate, school charter and any other certification issued to you by the Federation to the AFJ office. When this package is received by the Federation, all your info will be deleted and your name will no longer appear on this site or in the Federation data base. If you have lost or destroyed your certificate and do not have it to return, you must send a termination fee of $40 with a letter with your request to the AFJ.

I have been at my rank for years, how do I advance to the next rank?

Check out the guide lines for time between Black Belt ranks.  If you have trained the number of years stated. Then print and fill out the AFJ Rank Advancement.

I lost a series of Certificates that I had showing my rank advancement. Can I order a series of certificates up to rank that I am now registered at?

Yes, If you are registered with the AFJ, you can order a series of certificates showing your rank progression in the same art. Please send $75 for a series of certificates and include the belt levels and the dates you received each belt level. This series of certificates will not be shown on the web site.  Lost or destroyed certificates from different arts must be registered individually at the standard AFJ fee.  Print and fill out the AFJ application.

If I create my own Certificate or School Charter, can I have Master Moore sign it?

No, the only certificates signed by Master Moore, are the one issued by the Federation. This help protect authenticity of certificates and also shows a common bond for Instructors throughout the Federation. There are unique subtle markings on each certificate to prevent fraud.

How do I change my style of Martial Arts?  I would like to remove my previous style from the web site and list a new style along with my new rank

First: Register your new style and rank with the AFJ by sending your new information and your registration fee.
Second: After you receive your new certificate in the mail, send your old certificate back to the AFJ. The Federation can not remove your name from the site or cancel your old certification without receiving the original certificate.

JuJitsu, JuJutsu, or Jiu Jitsu, Why does the AFJ use the spelling Jujitsu?

As you can see on the AFJ Instructors list, there are may spellings used today. During the 60's when I was introduced to the art, it was commonly spelled "Jujitsu" and this is what we have used. (You will notice that even with today's modern spell checks, Jujitsu is the only spelling that is not highlighted.)  To change it now would cause discourse among  Instructors and Students with certificates, patches etc. During the 60's, the general public referred to any martial art "Karate" or "Judo". During the 70's Kung Fu was added to the list. Jujitsu was often called Combat Judo because this term was more "marketable".  I believe it was not a great concern then because the art was not popular or as diversified as it is today and there were few Instructors promoting the art.

I am an adult student, where is my name and rank posted?

There are two categories listed, INSTRUCTORS and STUDENTS. A student is anyone below the Black Belt level regardless of age. Your name will appear on the Student List.

What is the history of colored belt systems?
The following is a essay written by an Instructor in the art of  Kobukai-Ju-Jitsu:

How did all this belt ranking get started? The answer is simple, it is a modern invention. It is a result of a Gendai-Ryu (modern ryu), namely Kano-Ryu Jujutsu  commonly known as Kodokan Judo. So what belts existed before you may ask? The answer is none. None in the martial art sense. The Obi (belt) was used to secure the Uwagi (jacket) inside the Hakama (traditional divided skirt/pants), and provided a place to hold the swords (Katana and Wakazashi) of the Samurai. However, many people wore the Uwagi and Hakama  it was not reserved for the Samurai. Most of the time the belt color reflected the color of the Hakama in men, and was colorful and decorative for the women.

But, you say, in the martial arts of that time, the obi was used to reflect the skill level of the samurai  correct? No. There were no generally accepted outward appearance that showed a level of martial skill. There were differences in social rank. And there were differences in Martial Rank, as there is in the military of today  but this was usually reflected in the type of armor one wore on the battlefield or whether or not one rode a horse. Not by a belt.
So how did one tell, in the dojo, who was senior and who was not? The answer, it didnít matter. You were either the instructor or the student. When you were good enough to be an instructor  you became an instructor with your own students. The way it was known who was an instructor and who was not was through a series of licenses granted by the headmaster of a school. This certified someone as a certain level instructor in a specific art or arts. And this too is a method that developed late in the history of the samurai. Before this method  there simply was no need. You trained very very hard in many battlefield arts. Those who were better survived the battlefield, those were were not, did not. All that mattered was survival in battle. Nobody cared about rank.

Historical studies have shown that there wasnít one accepted method of certifying instructors either. But basically, when one had mastered an art or several arts to the level where he should be an instructor of said arts, a license was granted by the head of that school. These licenses had many names according to the school you attended but many schools used the terms Oku (with suffixes such as "iri" or "den") meaning secrets essentially; Mokuroku meaning catalog, Menkyo meaning license, and Menkyo Kaiden roughly meaning "full transmission". Occasionally a ryu would use the term Kaiden Shihan meaning licensed master instructor. None of these had any belts associated with them originally. One may have received a certificate (gaku or menkyo) or scroll (makimono).

So, lets discuss the development of the belt and kyu/dan ranking system widely used today.

First, everyone has heard the story of how a beginner martial artist starts with a white belt, and as he trains over time the belt became dirty - turning brown and finally black. It is a charming story, but lacking in any historical reality.

Historical reality is that belts were first used to show ability or rank in Kodokan Judo starting in the 1880ís. Jigoro Kano was the first to use the black belt as a symbol for dan rank students. Kano invented a progression of colored belts and also invented the concept of Kyu and Dan levels. Before this invention, jujutsu schools, like most other Japanese jutsu, used the menkyo ranking system mentioned above. Jigoro Kano split his students into two groups, which were the non-graded (mudansha) and the graded (yudansha). The first two people in history to wear a blackbelt as a rank were from the Kodokan; Tsunejiro Tomita and Shiro Saigo. Menkyo (certificates) or Menjou (diplomas) were not issued by the Kodokan until 1894.

There are many theories as to where the idea of the colored belts came from, but there is no written historical record of the thinking behind the choices. It is known, however that at the very beginning of the belt system, the belts were white, brown, black. Later other colors worked their way into the mix. There are still no exact standards, however, a majority of schools use the following system or something very similar for their adult students: White, Yellow, Green, Brown, Black or White, Yellow, Blue, Purple, Brown, Black. Most systems also have 5 kyu ranks and 10 dan ranks. Practitioners are generally considered "masters" of their art around 6th or 7th Dan Blackbelt. At that point, it is common to wear a red and white paneled belt. 9th or 10th dan often wear a red belt. However, these colored dan belts are most often reserved for ceremonial occasions, special classes, etc. The black belt is worn in everyday class.

There are still Japanese styles which use a simple White belt / Black belt ranking system, such as Aikido and some Jujutsu styles. But most use the color progression. So why do most schools still use this modern invention? I believe because of two reasons. First, it becomes easier for the instructor to categorize the students and know what level material they should be practicing at a glance. Second, it provides a certain motivation for students to study their technical material in hopes of moving up the rank ladder. It is the instructors responsibility to ensure that the senior student understand the belt reflects a relative skill level compared to others in the class. It does not reflect self defense ability. Only ability will "carry the day" in a real self defense situation, not a belt.

What are the names of the different belt ranks?

The belts ranks, in Japanese terminology, are divided into two categories. The levels below Black Belt, Student Levels, are referred to as KYU ranks. The levels above Black Belt, Instructor Levels, are referred to as DAN ranks. The KYU levels count backwards and the DAN levels count forwards. Students are subdivided into two levels  beginner and advanced.  Instructors are also divided into to levels, usually around Godan, Instructors (Sensei) and Masters (Shihan).
Below is an example:


6th   Student Level = Rokyu
5th   Student Level = Gokyu
4th   Student Level = Yonkyu


3rd  Student Level = Sankyu
2nd Student Level = Nikyu
1st   Student Level = Ikkyu


1st   Instructor Level = Shodan
2nd Instructor Level = Nidan
3rd  Instructor Level = Sandan
4th   Instructor Level = Yondan


5th   Instructor Level = Godan
6th   Instructor Level = Rokudan
7th   Instructor Level =  Shichidan
8th   Instructor Level = Hachidan
9th   Instructor Level = Kudan
10th Instructor Level = Judan

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