System & Rank Certification Procedures

The Martial Arts International Federation serves as a registry for official martial arts rank across the globe. When registering new MAIF members who have martial arts rank, it is important to understand the difference between homologation or validation of martial art rank and promotion in martial art rank. A promotion is the awarding of the next higher rank to a member who already has his or her rank certified with the MAIF. It can only be accomplished when the MAIF member fulfills all the requirements for their next promotion in a specific martial art rank system or in a martial art rank system from a recognized martial art organization as determined by the MAIF Technical Committee.


For students or instructors who wish to join the MAIF and already have martial arts rank, the MAIF rank system provides procedures for homologation and validation. Homologation is the issuance of MAIF credentials for specific martial art rank possessed by a prospective or current member when that rank has been issued by a recognized martial art organization. Validation is the examination of a prospective or current member to obtain MAIF credentials for a martial art rank issued by an unrecognized martial arts organization, or for which no credentials are possessed.

Each procedure, homologation or validation is explained below. These procedures apply to all new members with martial art rank of Brown Belt or higher. New members, with lower ranks may be registered at their current rank with approval of their Instructor.

HOMOLOGATING NEW MEMBERS WITH ACCEPTABLE RANK CREDENTIALSHomologation is the method by which an Instructor can register a new member (Brown Belt or higher) who has proof of rank in the form of a rank card or certificate that is recognized by the Central Technical Committee of the Martial Arts International Federation.

In keeping with the International Standards of Minimum Age Requirements for Dan Grades, the MAIF does require that minimum ages are considered when issuing Homologated Certification for rank issued by other martial art organizations.

The following Minimum Ages are required for dan grade certification in the MAIF:· 16 yrs. old for Shodan, Black Belt, 1st Dan

· 18 yrs. old for Nidan, Black Belt, 2nd Dan

· 20 yrs old for Sandan, Black belt, 3rd Dan

· 25 yrs old for Yondan, Black Belt, 4th Dan

· 30 yrs old for Godan, Black Belt, 5th Dan

· 35 yrs old for Rokudan, Black Belt, 6th Dan

· 40 yrs old for Shichidan, Black Belt, 7th Dan

· 50 yrs old for Hachidan, Black Belt, 8th Dan

· 60 yrs old for Kudan, Black Belt, 9th Dan

· 70 yrs old for Judan, Black Belt, 10th Dan

Note: There are many martial art organizations whose rank credentials are recognized by the MAIF. If the new member has acceptable rank credentials, he or she may have their rank certified in the MAIF at the current martial art rank.

MAIF Rank Homologation will be issued to only MAIF recognized martial art systems.In order for a martial art system to be recognized by the MAIF, all of the following criteria must be met:1. The martial art system’s senior black belts must be current members of the MAIF.

2. The martial art system’s complete curriculum and history must be on file at the MAIF Global Office.

3. The martial art system’s most current roster of instructor / examiners must be on file at the MAIF Global Office.

4. The martial art system’s black belts must be certified with the MAIF (with their personal martial arts “Bio”, photo, copies of all their rank certificates and references on file at the MAIF Office).

5. The senior black belts of each new “applicant system” are required to attend a Seminar, Camp or place and time coordinated through the MAIF Global Office in order to present and demonstrate their system to the MAIF Central Technical Committee for induction into the MAIF Yudanshakai.

To homologate a new member with acceptable rank credentials, an Instructor simply fills out a MAIF Membership/Certification Form, attaches a copy of the new member’s recognized rank card or certificate, and mails this to the MAIF Office for processing along with the annual membership and rank registration fees. If the Instructor is in doubt as to whether a certain rank card or certificate is acceptable, he or she has only to send a photocopy of the card or certificate to the MAIF for determination.

The Instructor will always receive a prompt and courteous reply. A new member who has his or her rank certified will receive a MAIF Membership Card showing his or her current rank, a MAIF Rank Certificate, MAIF Lapel Pin and a MAIF Patch.

VALIDATION OF MARTIAL ART RANKValidation is the method by which an Instructor can register a new member who has no acceptable proof of martial art rank. Instructors and prospective members should understand clearly that when we refer to a new member’s credentials as “unacceptable” there is absolutely no reflection on the member’s technical competence in martial arts, (nor their character). However, the term “unacceptable” merely means that the credentials the member possesses are not issued by a recognized martial art organization.

Validation is also a method by which a new member can be registered at the martial art rank that he or she is best qualified to hold. If the new member has not participated in a nationally, standardized rank system, he or she may not have been promoted to the rank now held by contemporaries in skill, knowledge and experience. Validation is the method for correcting this situation. Validation is the detailed process by which the MAIF examines new members to verify their credentials or to determine the rank they are best qualified to hold. It involves a thorough examination of their martial art knowledge, technical ability, a historical review of their martial art experience, and their service to martial arts. The historical review may go back to their first day of training (and their Instructor) or to the date of their last “acceptable” rank credentials. All new members who do not possess acceptable rank credentials must have their rank validated to be registered with the MAIF holding the rank of Brown Belt or higher. As with MAIF promotions, the member must belong to a MAIF member school or club to be eligible for rank validation.

If the validation is for a Kyu (Brown Belt or below) grade, then the examination must be performed by a certified MAIF Black Belt (and current member of the Federation). If the validation is for a Dan (Black Belt) grade, then the examiner must be a certified MAIF Black Belt who is at least two grades higher than the rank validation level of the new member. The examiner for all validations or promotions must be a Certified Instructor/Examiner of the MAIF. The examiner will utilize the MAIF Request for Validation of Martial Art Rank Form and send it with the individual’s membership application and appropriate fees to the MAIF International Office for processing. The MAIF Office will insure that the forms are properly completed and will forward to the new member (or their Instructor) a MAIF Membership Card, MAIF Rank Certificate, MAIF Lapel Pin and a MAIF Patch.

Note: The MAIF Request for Validation Form has all of the necessary instructions for completion and the current validation fees. Promotions, Homologations or Validations for Martial Art Rank of 5th Degree and higher must be approved by the MAIF Central Technical Committee. Additionally, the MAIF Central Technical Committee has approved the institution of minimal time in grade and age requirements for all MAIF Dan Grade Levels.

Finally, the Martial Arts International Federation does deal in reciprocity. That is, if an organization or country does not recognize MAIF rank, the MAIF will not recognize grades issued by that organization or country. However, if an organization or a country recognizes MAIF certification but does not meet the high international martial art standards, MAIF cannot recognize grades issued by that organization or country.

To register your martial art rank with the Martial Arts International Federation, contact either your registered style or system organization, or the MAIF Global Office at 3816 Bellingham Drive – Reno, NV USA, for an application or use the On-Line Application for MAIF Dan Grade Certification.



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