A 10th DAN in Kempo is ridiculous!

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A 10th DAN is ridiculous! Witalli Reingard, trainer of the Lung Chuan Fa Kempo, 3rd DAN, has his own opinion about high DAN levels in Shaolin Kempo.
Why the 32-year-old Sensei has cancelled his own exam for the 4th DAN, where his roots are and how he is orientating himself further, he tells us in the interview.


Name: Witalli Reingard
Style: Lung Chuan Fa Kempo
Grade: 3rd DAN Kempo, 1st DAN Kickboxing
lives in: Stralsund
trained at: currently without Dojo

When did you start martial arts?
At the age of 8, I started karate with Shotokan in Kyrgyzstan. At the age of 10 I arrived in Germany and started with kempotraining 3/4 year later.

Who were your trainers, who influenced you in terms of Kempo? Where do your influences come from?
My first Kempo trainers were Marc Richards and his team of trainers. Later on I was also trained by other graduates.

Please describe briefly what stations your martial arts life has had so far.
To get that together, I would have to search in one of the moving boxes for the pile of documents 😉
In Kempo I made the black belt, then I was at the Bund and supported the Kempoka from Augustdorf for a while. Until then I had some success on local and national level in the disciplines Kata and Waffenkata. In my Paderborn study time I taught in Kalletal and trained Capoeira twice a week for 3 to 4 hours. Thereby I gained a lot of dynamics and flexibility, which helped me a lot in my later contact fights.
Then came the time in Münster and in the Kempokai. The offer of the martial arts school was perfect. One could train every day, namely Shaolin Kempo, Kickboxing and Taekwondo. So I spent 4 of 5 days at the training and enjoyed on the one hand the quite technical Kempo training of Carsten Just and on the other hand the fitness-oriented kickboxing. The Taekwondo training was the icing on the cake and satisfied my dream of highkicking. My Capoeira experiences helped me to always leave the training unharmed.
A few years later I took the exam for the 3rd DAN with Carsten and could even do my 1st DAN in kickboxing. In the meantime, I had already led several kickboxing and kempotraining sessions on behalf of Carsten and was thus able to significantly expand my “training skills” through the often changing student body.
I always passed on this knowledge to my students in Kalletal. I took part in competitions mainly in kickboxing and discovered the fun of half and full contact fighting, which was clearly different from semi-contact, but also gave me much more fun. Due to a change in trainer and philosophy at Kempokai I looked for alternatives and tried Systema, Wing Tsun, Kung-Fu and many other martial arts, but never found the fun I had in kempotraining. So I decided to try something new and found my fun in road cycling, later in running.
After moving to Stralsund, I did not have the time to catch up with martial arts until then. But this is in work 😉
(Witalli now lives in Hamburg and trains Taekwondo )

Favorite technique? Favorite weapon?
All jumped Highkicks & Mawashi Empi Uchi.

A decent workout involves…
A coach’s plan and a goal. Only in this way can motivation be guaranteed and a successive improvement is possible.

After a decent training you should …
… count the bruises with your partner 😉 And think about why the training was decent, which means that there are also “not decent trainings”, why there are such and how to reduce them.

You surprisingly cancelled your exam for the 4th DAN in spring. What was the reason?
I had the exam firmly planned, prepared myself intensively for more than nine months. Then I asked the Seibukan association, in which Budo SV Kalletal is also a member, whether they had an examination committee for me. They did, and I was also invited to a preparatory seminar for DAN bearers. Suddenly a new, very high DAN member came into play, who suddenly has a voice in the association (Manfred Lee Rosen, 10th DAN Russian Kempo Karate; editor’s note). I did not know the gentleman and to this day I have no idea where he came from and what he had done before.
At this preparatory seminar, there should be “sighted”. But how can you actually judge what a single candidate really has to offer in a full gym, and it was really full? I am very sceptical about that.

However, it became absurd for me when one of the fellow candidates, an older DAN bearer (Heinz-Josef Köring, Steinheim, editor’s note), was awarded the next DAN degree at this course. He would certainly have done so without this rather dubious “honour”. And that with a mega-albern speech as a reason. So I decided to cancel the exam.

What happens now?
Honestly, I have no idea. I’m really disappointed in this martial arts scene. All these artificial and absurdly high DAN levels are ridiculous. How can someone achieve a 10th DAN and then have high DAN grades in other arts? This awarding and giving number is common in Seibukan and Shaolin Kempo and all around, the level is sinking or gets lost completely. No one fails any DAN exam. It is lent back and forth in a funny way, in funny organizations, which are then mutually recognized. Sometimes spiced up with the odd 100. At first there is still blasphemy in the scene, but there are no consequences, and after a few weeks, no rooster crows after it anymore. There is something wrong. Until the 2nd or 3rd DAN it’s okay if the sporty aspect is in the foreground, but where is the spiritual aspect? Where is the preoccupation with the background of the style, with the why? With your own reflection?
So DAN only becomes a backdrop to the outside world. One acquires the right to further examine one’s students. But then one could also snap cards or check off attendance lists. You can’t really take that seriously anymore if you still have something in your head! Nobody will take that any more… I certainly won’t.

What are you doing now? And when will we see you at Kalletal again?
Currently I’m a self-employed IT service provider (SEO, marketing, web design), building up a company with a friend and I’m up to my neck in the coffee bar project of my life partner Luise (

Next year I will definitely be back in my old home country and I will plan enough time to become active in martial arts as well.

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