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A standard is established by an organization to set the minimum requirements expected of its members.

SEALs have standards

Navy SEALs have strict standards. SEALs are highly respected warriors, the best of the best. If you cannot meet their standards, you cannot be a SEAL. This does not mean you cannot be an outstanding sailor, it just means you do not have what it takes to be a SEAL.

Martial arts have standards

Martial art organizations set standards expected of their members and rank holders, such as the skills required to earn the next rank. A pattern requires specific techniques to be performed in a specified manner with a certain level of skill; thus, patterns are one of the standards of a martial arts organization.

Standards must be maintained

Pattern performance must be true to a martial art’s fundamentals and must not be altered to make it easier to perform to accommodate a performer’s lack of certain physical or mental skills required to perform the pattern correctly. If students cannot meet a pattern’s standard, then they have failed to perform the pattern adequately. 

If students cannot meet or exceed a pattern’s standard, then they have reached their level of competence. If they cannot increase their competence, they will remain at their present rank forever. They are not necessarily failures, they have just reached the limit of their capabilities; they can still be outstanding martial artists at their current rank. When a pattern’s standard is lowered to accommodate certain students, the essence of the martial art is lost, and it lowers the value of all ranks within the martial art.

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