American Arnis instruction follows a traditional belt-rank structure, using a balanced “gradient learning structure” for each grade and rank. Each rank level introduces new concepts and simple movement sequences that are then applied across each of the three learning colleges of Kali, Sikaran, and Dumog. In most martial arts systems the mastery of any one of these colleges would be equivalent to a black belt rank, while in American Arnis the fundamental mastery of all three colleges defines the level of American Arnis Black Belt.
White Belt “Basic” Ranks
The beginning student wears a plain white belt. As they complete their basic training in each of the three colleges, they will test and then receive a colored stripe for each rank completed- red for Kali (stick & hand), yellow for Sikaran (kicking & footwork), and blue for Dumog (locking & grappling)
Colored Belt “Major” Ranks
Successful completion of the three while belt levels will then allow the student to choose a “major” for their studies and they will receive a colored belt to signify that college- red (Kali), yellow (Sikaran), or blue (Dumog). Again, as the student then completes their intermediate training in each of the three colleges, they will test and then receive a colored stripe for each rank completed- red for Kali, yellow for Sikaran, and blue for Dumog.
Black Belt Ranks
Successful completion of the three major colored-belt levels will then allow the student to test for basic Black Belt. Upon successful completion of their exam, the black belt then completes their advanced training in each of the three colleges. They will test and then receive a colored stripe for each rank completed- red for Kali, yellow for Sikaran, and blue for Dumog.
Master Instructor Rank
Teaching others is the greatest responsibility of a Black Belt and is an incredible learning experience. Successfully completing their advanced instructor training and completing their required teaching hours requirement will then earn the Black Belt their 4th stripe. This is a white stripe, signifying the rank of Master Instructor in American Arnis and symbolically showing their return, full circle, to the white belt level, now as a student of their own students.