Student Registration

Approved March 2019


The Black Belt Manual (2015 edition) states, on page 117, “[a]ll current Gup and Dan members are to be fully registered with the WTSDA”. This seems to be quite clear as to include all ranks from 10th Gup through Cho Dan. (Moving from Cho Dan to higher rank requires maintaining an active Dan membership.) The policy regarding Gup memberships is that all Gup students must be registered with WTSDA simultaneously with registering with a studio. Registration would not be required during an “introductory period” offered by some studios, but would be required no later than three months following the first lesson offered at the studio.

During the introductory period, potential students may not be associated with WTSDA in any way. This means that uniforms cannot have Association patches, Gup manuals may not be distributed, and no participation in any WTSDA sanctioned event can be permitted. Students will, however, be permitted to wear the uniform of the studio even if the logo on the back of the uniform indicates the studio is a WTSDA member.

The policy also permits studio owners to award 9th gup rank at the end of the six week introductory period and 8th gup at the end of a three month introductory period for those students who sign up for the program and register with WTSDA. The requirement for the next rank, be it 8th Gup in the case of a six week introductory period or 7th gup in the case of a three month introductory period remains the same at 24 classes from the rank awarded at registration, and would begin at the time the student registers with the studio.

Students who come to the studio with prior experience in the martial arts may be registered at the rank the studio owner deems appropriate based on the student’s skill level. The studio owner must include some documentation of prior experience when submitting the registration application to support awarding any level beyond 8th Gup.

No student may participate in any WTSDA sanctioned event without being registered. Any student wishing to participate in a WTSDA sanctioned event while the student is in an introductory period must register with WTSDA at least one month prior to the event (or such shorter period if the student has been training less than one month) in order to participate in the event even though, absent the event, the student would not otherwise be required to register until the expiration of the introductory period.

This policy does not include students registered in the Tiny Tigers/Little Dragons programs, as such students do not follow a WTSDA prescribed curriculum. However, any student enrolled in a Tiny Tiger/Little Dragon program who does want to participate in a WTSDA sanctioned event must register with WTSDA at least one month prior to the event, or such shorter period if the student has been training less than one month.

Rationale for Registration Requirements

There are numerous reasons for requiring timely registration of new students. The reasons include both legal and financial issues.

  • Trademark issues. The WTSDA logo is a trademarked logo. In the trademark application, as well as in the WTSDA and WTSDF non-profit applications, a representation has been made to the U.S. Government stating that only WTSDA members are permitted to display the logo and wear the patches with the logo. When a studio owner gives (or sells) a patch bearing the WTSDA logo to a student who is not a member of the WTSDA, the WTSDA risks being accused of not protecting its trademark (letting non – members use the mark), and that puts the ability of the WTSDA to retain the exclusive use of the trademark at risk. Note that this stipulation applies to students who are in training, and have an expectation of being governed by WTSDA rules and regulations. It is not intended to prohibit the sale of WTSDA licensed product to the public at WTSDA events or through studios.
  • Liability. The WTSDA has a liability insurance policy to protect the WTSDA from incidents affecting its members. Should something happen to a non – member, insurance coverage would not be available, exposing the WTSDA to personal liability. Further, most parents/students and especially plaintiff’s lawyers would assume that a student wearing the patch is affiliated in some way to the organization and the risk of a law suit, in the event of an injury, against the WTSDA is an unnecessary risk and potential expense.
  • Potential fraud. If a studio owner collects a registration fee from a student, but fails to remit the fee and registration to the WTSDA, the studio owner has committed fraud against both the student and the WTSDA. The fraud against the student is the failure to deliver the service for which the student paid, and the fraud against the WTSDA is the unlawful withholding of funds which are properly due and payable to the WTSDA. Most, if not all, of the jurisdictions in which the WTSDA operates have laws which could make the perpetrator of such fraud both civilly and criminally liable.
  • Proper accounting. The WTSDA maintains a comprehensive database of students. Failure to register a student means that the database is incorrect, and any function for which the database is used would result in an incorrect result. By way of example only, if the database is used in part to set the WTSDA premium for its liability insurance policy, the insurance company may deny coverage if it can prove the WTSDA knowingly provided an inaccurate student count.
  • Misrepresentation. Studio owners are representing to new students that the studio is part of a world- wide association, and, by joining the studio, the student is becoming a member of that association.
  • Student training. Registered students receive the WTSDA Gup Manual at the time of registration. This manual is the student’s guide from 10th Gup to Cho Dan. It is not fair to the student to withhold this information. Consequences for Violations of this Policy There are several consequences for violation of this policy depending on the circumstances revealing the violation:
  • If a studio owner submits testing paperwork for a non – registered student, no rank will be given to the student.
  • If a studio owner submits testing paperwork for a rank not permitted by the approved introductory periods noted above together with a registration application, the testing paperwork will be held until the appropriate minimum time period for testing has passed when measured against the date the registration is received by WTSDA headquarters. For example, a studio owner submitting a registration application with 7th gup paperwork would cause the student’s effective date of the 7th gup test to be 12 weeks (24 classes) from the date the paperwork is received, thus delaying all future promotions for the student.
  • If a student registers to compete in a WTSDA sanctioned event who had not been timely registered according to this policy, the student will not be permitted to participate in the event.
  • Studio owners who consistently violate this policy will have their membership suspended, and will not be permitted to attend WTSDA events, or to test for higher rank until they agree to, and in fact do, abide by this policy.
  • Late registration fees will carry a $5 per student assessment to the studio.