As the good Dr. Morris used to say, “Rank hath its privilege.” Aside from the general guidelines for promotion, students who excel will move through the ranks quicker than others.
In the old days of Hoshin, Kundalini awakening meant you earned Godan, regardless of rank. As the Kundalini awakening success rate went through the roof, Soke Morris changed his view point. It became a requirement to work your way through the entire system, or master another system along with Kundalini development; Kundalini awakening being the prime directive.
These days we have improved the Kundalini success rate to a point where the physical and esoteric systems together make shakti assimilation not only easier, but pleasurable. Do your meditation, train in whatever belt level material you are working on and be happy. Don’t worry about the rank others earn.. just keep going and focus on YOUR development.
As James Shihan has stated , “People see the end result and try to mimic the way the Shihan and Soke move, but they forget that we all trained in the kyu grades and dan material with blood, sweat and tears to get here.”
Please try and stay focused on your belt level. The faster you assimilate the feeling, the faster you will move on to the next level.
As for public demonstrations/seminars: An instructor has the responsibility to gauge the participants and teach at the level of the group, including something for everyone. Anything you are shown that you have NOT seen or comes later should be considered a gift or sneak peek at what is to come. At Hoshinfest, I am teaching everyone, at the highest level; giving you each a look at where all your training should take you, as members of our ryu. Always choose an uke you know can handle the level of intensity you are teaching. It’s bad etiquette to injure a lower rank… black belts and Shihan are expected to maintain control and neutralize any lower rank that attempts to recklessly hurt them. Accidents happen, trouble makers get their asses handed to them. This is a jutsu art so understanding this balance is very important. This is why everyone signs a waiver. Common courtesy is expected always.
I also want to clarify a concept that is misunderstood most of the time..
Kohai means junior but relates to those who are newer to a dojo. Sempai are seniors who have more experience and time in the dojo. This transcends rank on a social level. For instance, Katon is the Sempai of my class. If James comes to visit, he is Sempai at that time. If a guy is a Earth belt and has been training for a few years, the higher ranks with less time in the dojo should respect the local in normal class settings. The Fire belt is the first belt of the inner circle of Hoshin. Once you earn it, you will pretty much begin working on what will become black belt level training. Please show proper respect where it is appropriate.
You will find that the more you try to force a concept into your way of thinking…the more lost you will feel.
Think on this. Practice, grow and have fun!