Joe Lewis promoted John Graden to 4th, 5th ,6th 7th and 8th degree black

Orphaned instructors can advance in rank under John Graden.

Join the family tree of Bruce Lee > Joe Lewis > John Graden > You

How it Works

Joe Lewis 8th Degree Black Belt Certificate for John Graden

  1. Are you an orphaned black belt?
  2. Would you like to advance in rank without the politics of a rank association?
  3. Would you like to join this family tree? Bruce Lee>Joe Lewis>John Graden>You

In 1982, John Graden was “orphaned” at 3rd degree when his instructor died in a plane crash. (That story is at

Joe Lewis moved to town in 1984 and the two started training together for the next decade. In that time, Joe Lewis promoted Mr. Graden to 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th degree black belt before his untimely passing in 2012.

Mr. Lewis inducted John Graden into his prestigious Honor Roll in 2009. He also nominated Mr. Graden for the Martial Arts History Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame, Passing the Torch, and John Graden bio sections are included to help you get a sense of the history, prestige, and recognition this rank promotion represents.

There are a number of good reasons to advance.

Students love it when they see their instructor working hard to advance and getting the prestigious recognition MATA brings.

The MATA Rank Advancement program is based upon video review of the requirements. Mr. Graden will review the videos and provide feedback. In some cases, he will require a “Do Overs” to improve a skill. There is no additional charge for “Do Overs.”

There is no style attached to the MATA Rank Advancement program. The rank will be from The Martial Arts Teachers’ Association. Odds are, your students will understand and appreciate that more than an Asian name they can’t pronounce.

  1. You must provide proof of your current rank in your application.
  2. You must successfully complete the MATA Certification Course.
  3. Black Belt exam requirements can be found here.

Since Mr. Graden was promoted to 8th degree by Joe Lewis, he can promote as high as 7th degree.

Yes though the process is the same.

In rare occasions, this can be done. Contact Mr. Graden to explore your situation.

Mr. Graden will provide you with ongoing feedback on any area of evaluation that is not up to his standard until you get it right.

It depends on the rank.

Yes. You can bring Mr. Graden to your school for a full test or just the graduation. This presents the opportunity for him to teach seminars, train staff, and present your rank certificate at a big event in your school.

Click to send an email to Mr. Graden with your questions and/or to set up a phone call to explore your situation.

This section, the Passing the Torch, and John Graden bio are included to help you get a sense of the history, prestige, and recognition this rank promotion represents.