As an international organization, IMAF recognizes the importance of clear regulations and high standards for its branches
and members worldwide. It is the goal of the Kokusai Budoin, IMAF, to create and maintain a world-class organization
rooted in the values of traditional Japanese martial arts - Budo.
- Branch Country Regulations
- Promotion Regulations & Schedule
- IMAF Titles
- Official Instructors License
Further information regarding IMAF policies, regulations, standards and terms can be reviewed below.
Branch Country Regulations
1. Each Branch Country is authorized a maximum of three Branch Directors. The primary position will be held by a
person of international standing who will act as President. The two other Directors will assist the President and in case
of his absence, will assume the President's duties. These positions will be known as Vice President(s).
2. Regional Directors, as many as appropriate, will be recommended for appointment by each country’s Branch Directors.
Official certification will follow from Kokusai Budoin, IMAF Headquarters.
3. Branch and Regional Directors in each country should have the following qualifications:
- Title holder and possess the rank of 4th Dan or higher.
- The ability to correspond and converse in English or Japanese.
- Regional Directors are exempt from language requirements.
Note: the ability to communicate in English is highly encouraged. Exceptions to these regulations can be requested
from Kokusai Budoin, IMAF Headquarters.
4. Three to five qualified Examiners for each division will be selected by the Headquarters Shihan and
certified by Kokusai Budoin, IMAF. The Official Examiners will oversee and coordinate examinations with their Branch
5. All Branch Officials will be certified by the President of Kokusai Budoin, IMAF.
6. The term of service of officers shall be two years. However, reappointment of officers is authorized. The term of
service in a position vacated shall be the remainder of that of the predecessor.
7. Any officer who acts in a manner inappropriate to his/her position may be dismissed from his/her position by
decision of Kokusai Budoin, IMAF Headquarters.
8. Directors of Branch Countries will make no regulations or directive in conflict with regulations established by
Kokusai Budoin, IMAF.
9. All Branch Directors are authorized to communicate directly with Headquarters Kokusai Budoin, IMAF on all matters.
10. All requests for technical or promotional assistance will be forwarded to Headquarters Kokusai Budoin, IMAF by
Branch Directors. Direct communication by other members is not authorized. This is a courteous procedure in consonance
11. Each Branch Country is authorized to conduct seminars, demonstrations and examinations, as required, preferably in
cooperation with other member countries. Furthermore, each Branch Country is authorized and encouraged to directly request
all necessary assistance from Kokusai Budoin, IMAF Headquarters, including the presence of technical advisors and other
officials as required.
12. Kokusai Budoin, IMAF insignia, trademarks, logos, materials or other related articles shall not be used in any
commercial means or way without authorization in writing from Headquarters Japan. The IMAF insignia is registered in
accordance with International Law and therefore should not be used without permission.
13. The creation and/or use of Kokusai Budoin, IMAF imprinting stamps with IMAF identification mark is prohibited unless specifically
authorized by Kokusai Budoin, IMAF Headquarters.
14. All Branch Directors are automatically selected as Councilors for Kokusai Budoin, IMAF Japan Headquarters with full
rights and privileges of that office.
15. Branch Countries are allowed to register the name in their respective countries with the understanding that the name
of IMAF is no one person's property. The use of the name Kokusai Budoin, IMAF is limited to those who have been authorized
through appointment by Headquarters.
16. At the end of a term of appointment all representatives are required to turn over any and all materials belonging to Kokusai Budoin, IMAF to the newly appointed representative. This includes any and all use of the name Kokusai Budoin, IMAF and any of its associated trademarks or privileges.
Promotion Regulations & Schedules
1st Dan - Shodan
Individuals who have passed an examination and successfully completed the course requirements as set by each division.
Older than 15 years of age when promoted to 1st Kyu.
2nd Dan - Nidan
Same as above. More than a year and a half after promotion to shodan (1st Dan).
3rd Dan - Sandan
Same as above. More than two years after promotion to nidan (2nd Dan).
4th Dan - Yondan
Same as above. More than three years after promotion to sandan (3rd Dan).
5th Dan - Godan
Same as above. More than four years after promotion to yondan (4th Dan).
6th Dan - Rokudan
Same as above. More than five years after promotion to Renshi.
7th Dan - Shichidan
Same as above. More than six years after promotion to rokudan (6th Dan).
8th Dan - Hachidan
Same as above. More than ten years after promotion to shichidan (7th Dan).
9th Dan - Kudan
By Special Award of the Executive Board of Examiners
10th Dan - Judan
By Special Award of the Executive Board of Examiners
Minimum of two years since promotion to yondan (4th Dan). Written essay or publication required.
Minimum of two years since promotion to rokudan (6th Dan). Written essay or publication required.
Outstanding service for development of Martial Arts. Minimum age, 50 years old. Minimum rank, hachidan (8th Dan).
A person of outstanding character and proven leadership credentials. Written essay or publication
Individual that has attained the highest rank of judan (10th Dan). Conferred by decision of the Executive Board of
Kokusai Budoin, IMAF is alone in granting title in all the Martial Arts. In Japan titles are awarded only within the arts
that employ traditional weapons. However, IMAF members who qualify through outstanding dedication and leadership may be
selected from any division.
Minimum rank, 4th Dan. Ability to teach practical methods and basic techniques, Proven dedication to Budo through
long-term teaching experience. Written essay or publication required. Similar to the title, Bachelor of Arts
Minimum of two years since promotion to 6th Dan Renshi title holder. Outstanding knowledge of the
traditions and methods of Budo. Demonstrated excellence of technique and teaching methods. Written essay or publication
required. Similar to the title, Master of the fine Arts.
Minimum rank of 8th Dan. 50 years of age. Kyoshi title holder. Individual of outstanding moral
and personal character. Proven leadership and exceptional contribution to Budo. Deep understanding of the
techniques, history and spirit of the Martial Arts. Written essay or publication required. Similar to the title, Doctor
Individual that has attained the highest rank of 10th Dan. Awarded by a special board of examiners.
The term Meijin translates to Grand Master.
Minimum rank of 7th Dan, Kyoshi. The term Shihan translates to Chief Instructor.
The leader of a style, or school (Ryu), who has assumed leadership through inheritance. This title
is not awarded or related to Kokusai Budoin, IMAF.
Official Instructors License
Kokusai Budoin, IMAF Official Instructor License (OIL) is granted to qualified individuals in recognition of his/her
experience and expertise as a teacher. The Official Instructor License must be renewed every 2 years in order for it to
Official Instructor License requirements and patch color:
Minimum rank Hanshi 8th Dan. (yellow patch)
Minimum rank Kyoshi 7th Dan. Four years after receiving G. S2. (yellow patch)
Minimum rank Kyoshi 7th Dan. (red patch)
Minimum rank Kyoshi 6th Dan. (red patch)
Minimum rank Renshi 4th or 5th Dan. (blue patch)
Minimum rank 4th Dan. (blue patch)
Minimum rank 3rd Dan. (green patch)
Official Examiners will be selected from among Official Instructor License holders of each division and appointed by
IMAF Headquarters Japan.