Wise Warrior Gym (formerly REAL Self Defense Center)

Belt & Rank Awards at the 20 Year Celebration Open House: Wise Warrior Gym Edmonton

Posted Sep 17th, 2016 in News

Belt & Rank Awards at the 20 Year Celebration Open House: Wise Warrior Gym Edmonton

An event two decades in the making. At the end of June 2016, Wise Warrior Gym in Edmonton hosted a gathering for the 20th Anniversary Celebration & Open House.

This was a great opportunity to see old faces and meet new people. Illustrious head coach Calen 'C-Dawg' Paine (for the first time ever in his career) awarded belt promotions in JiūJitsu and Sport-Combat with rankings for Self-Defence and Weapons-Combat to his students and coaches. He also took the time to honour those past and present contributors to the Gym.

group shot 20th anniversary belt ceremony master instructor certificate jim and calen


  • Official WWG Belt Board explaining the ranks at the Gym
  • five colored M.M.A. Core Combat Belts
  • colored stripes and REAL Self Defense Red Belt
  • four embroidered "Scully" Weapons Combat Rank Patches
  • Self-Defence Instructor Titles
  • Coach Progression Titles
  • embroidered RuRōnin JiūJitsu gi patch
  • Elemental Dragons (jade stone, water, fire, wind)

blue belt BJJ red belt self defense green belt MMA blue patch weapons ruronin jiujitsu


The Wise Warrior Gym is primarily a training center and community for cultivating self-awareness and advancing personal development. We use martial art and combative systems as the vehicle to achieve this. The rank, level, belt or patch represents the student’s roadmap, progress and key milestones on the Wise Warrior Training journey.

  • to advance the student's personal growth, development and evolution
  • to produce a well-rounded athletic combat practitioner
  • to enhance the students survivability in a REAL life confrontation with violence


Martial arts style when thinking about ranks and grading:

  • the various different focuses, tactics and techniques of each progressive belt in system
  • if someone states that they are a are a black belt you always have to ask..."in what exacly?"
  • what are the principles, strategies, tactics and training focus of the martial art in question?
    – ie. Tae Kwon Do, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, et-cetera

Different time requirements when thinking about ranks and grading:

  • each style or system will have different time requirements
  • it takes 600 to 1000 training hours to earn a black belt – 4 to 6 years
    which is quite a variance, based on three-times per week at 1.5 to 2 hours per class

Ego and Grievances. "I never want to regret awarding a rank or belt" – Calen Paine

  • there will always have be a good reason why you did not get promoted
  • performance of the fundamentals – under resistance and pressure is a must
  • your knowledge base – according to the program, system or specific module focus
  • personality – an area in which a student must mature


Wise Warrior Gym offers multiple training programs in which there is a tracked progression:

  • Awareness Path – Martial Arts for the Mind
  • Sports Combat – MMA: weapons, stand-up, clinch and ground
  • REAL Self Defense – Citizen's Protection, Ground Zero, Weapons Safe and more...
  • ISR Matrix – security training, arrest, control and defensive tactics
  • Well-Being, Health & Fitness – physical and mental
  • Coaches Training – (see above) having the skill and teaching the skill are very different skills

functional sport combat mixed martial arts

But it is ALL Wise Warrior training including:

  • Well-Being (mental and physical)
  • Health & Fitness
  • Life, street and sport

Awards and recognition also come in other forms:

  • most improved member
  • top training student
  • greatest contribution
  • gym community leadership
  • gym contributions

weapons combat rank patch


What is a rank and belt based on at Wise Warrior Gym?

  • performance over everything – the Wise Warrior Gym D.N.A.
  • performance of the skills and techniques in a field of resistance. Aliveness.
  • progress is relative. Age, physical condition and weight class is a consideration
    ex. if your are 45 years old, can you perform the skills and techniques in a field of resistance with someone of similar age, physical condition and weight class?

Experience is your coach, performance is your guide

Fundamental skill knowledge for progression at Wise Warrior Gym:

  • knowing and understanding the fundamentals of each program area
  • knowing and understanding the fundamentals of each module skill set
We put the FUN in FUNdamentals…and we put the mental back in fundaMENTAL

The definition of a Fundamental is that it transcends:

  • culture
  • body type
  • styles
  • environment
  • the passing of time

Advanced skills are just basics mastered

real self defense rank


  • participation in seminars
  • completion of short term certification courses
  • compatible past training
  • positive attitude
  • learning curve
  • cross certification
    ie. Brazilian jiujitsu, other martial arts or systems

Feedback from other coaches and advanced students is also taken into consideration.
The MOST important thing to remember is:


There are only 3 ways to improve and it is not a secret:

  1. Just show up – consistency
  2. Intensity – progress at your own pace and level
  3. Enjoy the training – have fun!


  • training is performance based
  • do NOT be over-identified with rank or belt
  • rather be the lower rank kicking a higher ranks ass, than the other way around
  • experience is your coach, performance is your guide


"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
 The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

    – Teddy Roosevelt

“This is your belt, this is your patch, and this is your mark. Show and fly your colors. You have earned it through your commitment, blood, sweat and tears”
    – Calen Paine

REAL Self Defense Rank Belts
Mixed Martial Arts Rank Belts
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Rank Belts
Weapons Combat Rank Patch

Belt & Rank Awards at the 20 Year Celebration Open House: Wise Warrior Gym Edmonton

Start your Wise Warrior journey. Call us to schedule a free gym tour and class!