The ranking system of UECHI-RYU fulfills two purposes. The first purpose is to establish a seniority system. By this, each student learns his or her level in the chain of command. Senior students can, at a glance, know the working level of any particular junior student and offer help accordingly. The junior student is able to know where to look for help - specifically, toward those of senior rank. The advanced student learns to offer a helping hand and benefits from the confirmation of his/her own knowledge.
The second purpose is to establish a reward system for achievement. Certainly, the greatest reward derived from the study of karate is the improved condition of mind and body as well as a sense of well-being and confidence. These feelings, however, do not come immediately and are often elusive. Expect your karate to cycle in "ups and downs'. One day you may feel great about what you are doing, and the next day you may feel depressed about your progress. One day you may have energy, the next day you may feel weak. These are characteristics of all human endeavors.
You will always rise from a downtrend in karate, but only if you maintain your practice effort and perform regularly the exercises assigned to you. Only those students who practice through the "downs" will continue to improve. The promotion system recognizes and rewards a student's progress.
Tests for ranks below green belt are held privately with an assigned black belt. Emphasis is placed on minimizing the pressure on a student during these early test experiences. The black belt will handle the newer student with care and consideration, taking into account any special problems the student might have such as nervousness or poor coordination.
Tests for ranks green belt and higher must be performed before the formal class. They are granted when time permits and when enough black belts are present to support an adequate test. Requests for these tests will be considered only after the applicant has sought a pre-test review with a black belt. The tests are designed to determine the student's ability to perform in pressured situations as well as to determine his basic karate knowledge.
A student wishing an advanced test between the ranks of Gokyu (green belt) and Ikkyu (3-stripe brown), inclusive, who has obtained a black belt's recommendation to take the test, should request the test from the instructor at the beginning of the desired class. The black belt recommendation constitutes reasonable assurance that the student is adequately prepared for the test. Every effort will be made to accommodate the student's request; otherwise a recommendation will be made to test in another class. Green belt tests require the presence of two black belts to comprise the test board. Brown belt tests require the presence of three.
All students are required to display their ranks according to accepted procedures.