Something my grandpa Sensei said resonated with me. He said, “At 5dan we ask “do you have it”. At 6dan we ask “do you own it”. At 7dan we say “can you use it”.”
I think writing is the same as everyone needs to go through stages with it.
So I got thinking about what writing might look like in martial art rank terms and came up with the following ranking system. It’s not perfect as writers often cycle through the upper ranks because as we fix one problem area, we notice the next weak area to fix.
Writer Fu Rank System
White Belt: Without rank. They can coo and yell incoherently.
Yellow Belt: They have said their first word and might be mimicking others.
Orange Belt: They now know a couple of words but may or may not say them correctly.
Green Belt: They can speak in simple sentences.
Blue Belt: They know a lot of words but they get excited easily and often speak so fast they trip over their tongues and can jumble the message.
Brown Belt: They can write some short stories and communicate well though their vocabulary is small.
1st Dan: Onto essays and other complex writing activities in the school system.
2nd Dan: The writer now has a decent sized vocabulary and has written a few things that show some talent. They dabble with writing for fun as a hobby.
3rd Dan: They love the idea of being a writer, and talk about it, but haven’t decided if they want to pursue it further.
4th Dan: The writer falls in love with writing and has started asking how to get better at it.
5th Dan: They begin reading to learn about writing different types of stories.
6th Dan: They write regularly and have attempted to get published. Their vocabulary may be large at this point, but they may use an overly complicated set of words that doesn’t connect with the audience.
7th Dan: The writer studies grammar and trains hard because they want to write well and use the right words.
8th Dan: The writer receives rejections and digs deep to continue despite all odds being against them. Instead of avoiding problems, they continuously improve their skills. Some things get published and they may have even one some awards.
9th Dan: Their work resonates deeply with their audience and they are successful. Few reach this stage. These are the Dan Browns, the JK Rowlings, the Stephen Kings.
10th Dan: A retired level to honour certain masters such as Shakespeare.
There are many different martial arts ranking systems. I chose to use the western karate belt system mixed with the traditional Japanese Dan system as I’ve experienced them in my martial arts journey. Dan ranks are levels of black for those who aren’t aware of this.
Like the martial arts world, occasionally some get there without doing the hard work because they exploit loopholes, are good at marketing, or they break the law in some way. Those people aren’t part of the ranking system.
Guid cheerio the nou,