Ranking system for Inosanto-Lacoste Kali

Discussion in 'JKD-Kali' started by jwinch2, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member


    As most who are on here regularly are already aware, I recently started taking classes in Inosanto-Lacoste Kali after training in Modern Arnis for some time. I am curious as to how the ranking/grading system works in Inostanto-Lacoste Kali. In Modern Arnis, it was quite easy to understand as there is a belt structure and the curriculum is laid out so that there are tangible distinctions between belt levels.

    As I understand the manner in which Guru Dan does things, there are three levels of practitioners, apprentice instructor, associate instructor, full instructor, and senior instructor. Then, it is my understanding that there are various levels at each instructor rank such as "Associate Instructor 2" or "Full Instructor 4". Can someone give me a better breakdown of the entire thing, including such things as what things distinguish an associate instructor 1 from a 2? Full instructor 1 from an associate instructor 8, (or however high it goes), etc?

    Several years down the road, I would like to gain enough skill and knowledge that I could become an instructor myself. I am obviously a long way away from that, and I will get there when I get there so no particular hurry. However, it would still be of interest to me to understand how the structure and process works within the Inosanto organization. I am one of those people who have a hard time understanding the journey if the map isn't clear.

    So far, I am really enjoying the training and am actually considering driving to another gym that is slightly further away from where I live which offers classes on the off nights from where I am training now. That would basically double my training time per week which, if I can afford the time and money, would be a blast. I'm not sure if I am going to do it but it is something I am considering. If I can get double the class time per week, I ought to be able to advance my learning curve significantly. Of course, I will need to talk with my current instructor about that first but I doubt he would have any issues.

    Thanks in advance...

  2. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    I should add to my earlier post that I have talked to my instructor about this and did give me an answer. I did not want to push for further explanation at the time. I am a new student and don't want to give the appearance that I am simply out for the rank or am trying to move up too quickly. I figured I would ask here rather than risk giving off the wrong impression when I have just started my training there.

    I'm looking forward to the response. Thanks in advance...

  3. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I don't know much about it--what I've experienced of the system has been strongly filtered through JKD!
  4. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Member

    Same here. And I didn't really inquire after ranking, because I was ranked in DP already.

    Out of curiosity (and feel free to either disregard or respond privately), is Bryan Mossey the other teacher in the area?
  5. Jason,

    The ranking system you are referring to is the instructor rankings issued by Guro Inosanto to members of his Inosanto International Martial Arts Instructors Association. Any answers I give will be in reference to that only. If you are studying under a student of his the structure used might be completely different. Some of his students use a belt ranking system to quantify advancement, some use a more traditional Filipino approach.

    Firstly the Apprentice Level is the entry point. Everyone goes through that door. That level is basic acquisition of information and system structure. Basic co-ordination and timing is stressed. There used to be a five level (approximately one level per year) program but a few years ago it was expanded to ten years because more people entered it but did not pursue it with the vigor of passed generations. Guro Dan gives you the promotion when he feels that you deserve it. There is no exam. Just because you you get to the top of your level does not automatically mean that you will go up. Your work ethic and ability are what is noticed. You have a minimum standard of study hours (20 per year under Guro Inosanto) to maintain your status within the group. You have to submit a written request for updated documentation. To remain current your documents should be as well.

    An Associate has manifested the co-ordination and ability to understand (and hopefully instruct) the technical program. This is not a set body of work and can include outside training with other instructors. He has had over 25 instuctors in the FMA so his program can go in many directions. I am sure that if you were to canvas some of those who trained in the early days (late 70's) the material would be different from what has been seen in the 80's, 90's, and 00's. I would say that an ability to adapt would be an asset. Same thing with the levels increasing to allow those in the program the time to improve. Same requirement to maintain status within the IIMAIA.

    A Full instructor seems to be some one who understands the material without necessarily memorizing it. You would have to be some one like Joel Clark who travels with him every weekend to know all the possibilities. Too many options to have them all at your fingertips. At this point your status is lifetime. A lot of the seniors maintain their documents so as to show that they are still "there".

    After this point there are the Senior Full Instructor (I think that there are less than 10), then just Senior Instructor. I guess by that time it is pretty obvious that you have been around and don't need much in the way of titles.

    The one thing you should not look for is concrete answers to these questions. In the years I have been involved there has only been one time that I received a written evaluation of my progress. That was 13 years ago and it was short. It was "Such and such is good, Such and such needs work".

    Have fun, it's a great ride.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  6. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    Yes, that is the other instructor that I am aware of in the immediate area. Do you know anything about him?
  7. jwinch2

    jwinch2 Member

    Thanks for that detailed response...

  8. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Member

    I know someone who's trained with him for a long time and obviously thinks highly of him. Haven't met him myself though.
  9. arnisador

    arnisador Active Member

    I know someone who is seeking certification of this sort through him, but I'm not clear to what extent it's in the FMAs only and to what extent it's in the more general JKD/Jun Fan/FMA/etc. material he teaches.
  10. Epa

    Epa Member

    Unless they've changed things the association gives rank in three things: FMA, Jun Fan Martial Arts, and Majapahit Silat (also called Maphilindo). All the instructors I've met have certification in both FMA and Jun Fan, but not everyone has the silat certification.

    It is possible to specialize and get higher instructor rankings in a given art. It depends on what you spend your time on and where Guro Dan thinks you're at with your skills. Personally, I always had the same level in both Jun Fan and FMA, but some of my friends progressed faster in one art than the other.
  11. Epa is correct. When I started it was in the Maphilindo program as I was already training in FMA with others and Guro Inosanto did not want to be seen as stepping on toes, so when I checked with my seniors and they told me it would be ok I was accepted in all three training streams.

    At the beginning your advancement through the levels is pretty constant but it can change if you tend to emphasize training in one discipline over the other.

    Understanding the Maphilindo Silat evolution continues to elude me. I have no idea what the ranking indicates as it is broken up into levels rather than the Apprentice, Associate and Full Instructor sectors.

    I will end this by saying that any encouragement and satifaction you may receive by this practice should be derived from within.

    To answer the initial question, the arts are individually taught. The separation is very clear both technically and verbally. Only someone who is not familiar with the program will get them confused.

Share This Page