The Wa Shin Ryu Tattoo

The Wa Shin Ryu Tattoo

The Wa Shin Ryu tattoo is an honor bestowed on selected black belts who demonstrate commitment to the system and loyalty to their sensei. Students who are authorized to place the tattoo on their left forearm may also be granted the AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE. An award that identifies the 7 virtues of Wa Shin Ryu Jujutsu.

The tattoo is placed on the left forearm (inside) and should be located five fingers from the wrist and four fingers from the elbow. Spacing is one finger (sideways) between each kanji character. The size of each character may range from 1/2" to 3/4" square, but not bigger.

Students should think this through very carefully before committing to wearing the Wa Shin Ryu Tattoo. Their dedication and commitment to the system, and the sensei, should be unshakable and they should feel a sense of pride and honor wearing it. Since this process is irreversible, it is assumed that students who choose to wear the tattoo understand the full implications of this act.

For students who come up through Wa Shin Ryu, wearing the tattoo is a sign of dedication, commitment, absolute loyalty to the sensei (which is reciprocated by the sensei), and to the integrity of the system. It also signifies a transition from jujutsu being merely a recreational activity to a way of life (Budo).

The tattoo represents dedication, commitment, pride, resourcefulness and achievement. It is an honor and a privilege to wear it; therefore, those who make the commitment should display their tattoo with pride (and good taste).

For students who come over from other martial arts the tattoo also symbolizes a psychological and a physical transition from their old system to Wa Shin Ryu Jujutsu.

Most importantly, the Wa Shin Ryu Tattoo is a symbol of a lifelong bond forged between the sensei, the student and the system.

A Brief Historical Background To the Use of Tattoos in the Martial Arts

The tattoo symbolizes ultimate commitment to the system and a willingness to cross over from being a mudansha (beginner) to being a member of an elite group called yudansha (black belt).

This transition is marked in different ways and different systems use either tattoos, or certain behaviors that help demonstrate a mudansha's willingness to commit to a system. For example, several Chinese systems require tattoos on both forearms. Some jujutsu systems require a blood oath, a keppan. And old judo required students going for black belt to be choked out by sensei and then revived afterwards. This method is symbolic of death and rebirth where the student leaves his old life behind and is reborn into a new life. These rituals were/are mostly performed publicly. In some closed systems the ceremony was performed secretly in front of high ranking practitioners and masters. Ultimately, these tests are/were a form of psychological testing to determine a student's degree of commitment to the system and motivation to join an elite group of fellow martial artists. Those who passed this test "crossed over" from the world of the ordinary and mundane and joined a new world of dedicated, talented and committed special people. That is, they left the world of the ordinary and joined the world of the elite. Wa Shin Ryu is a difficult and challenging system that includes technical skills and physical development, the discovery and development of inner powers, as well as the development and acquisition of special psychological attributes. The point is that not everyone can become a black belt in Wa Shin Ryu Jujutsu. Those who succeed are special people who possess unique and special abilities such as a strong work ethic, focus, discipline, a high level of motivation and a no quit attitude. These people will succeed in almost anything they put their mind to and they will become leaders in all fields of endeavor. By wearing the Wa Shin Ryu tattoo students indicate that they belong to a small elite group who are able to make the transition from ordinary to extra-ordinary.