Students with grades from comparable martial arts schools may have these grades recognised through the Walsh Martial Arts Australia Recognition of Prior Learning (‘RPL’) process.       

The RPL Process

The RPL process involves the "new" student submitting evidence of their prior training and all grades recognised in a related style or school with their WMAA grading application.  The WMAA examiner then considers the style, school, instructor, examiner, elapsed period since the last grading and demonstrated level of ability of the student at the grading.   A recognition assessment is recorded and the student is either recognised at an equivalent level based on the demonstrated level of ability (transfer) or advanced to the next level (transfer and promotion).  

Transfer and transfer and promotion are limited to lower-level grades with recent training in a very similar style and a recent grading assessment from an individual whose approach and assessment methods are known to at least one member of the WMAA Examination Panel, comprising Grandmaster Terence Walsh 8th Dan, Master Rodney Lee Walsh 7th Dan and Master

Andrew Walsh 5th Dan.  All other students, upon successfully passing the examination, will be promoted to Yellow Belt (8th Gup) but with the prospect of rapid advancement through subsequent grades until reaching their equivalent grade in their former school.  “Rapid advancement” is strictly

assessed on a merit-basis and turns on the individual student’s subsequent

grading performances.     

In practice, the RPL process is rarely straightforward due to the plethora of martial art styles, schools, methods and grading standards operating informally in Australia.  In addition, the onus for proving a case of RPL rests solely with the student seeking recognition, not with the WMAA instructor or examiner.  

Ineligibility for RPL

RPL is not applicable to students whose qualifications have been conferred more than 12 months from the date of WMAA examination or those holding more recent qualifications but from a dissimilar martial arts style including taekyon, judo, jujutsu, aikido, kenpo, weapons-based arts, cultural-based arts including many styles of kung fu, arnis and almost all modern freestyle or composite derivations.  

Even martial arts that appear similar (kicks and punches) can be based on radically dissimilar physiological underpinnings and these manifest in very different applications of technique.  The WMAA Examination Panel has adopted the view that apparent dissimilarities make comparisons between these arts unfair at best and even impossible in practice (even when one assesses the top practitioners in each style).

Sample decisions  

A Red Belt (2nd Gup) student from a defunct Tae Kwon Do school sought RPL for grades achieved 6 months prior to their examination by the WMAA.  He was able to produce an original grading card with levels attained and grading dates.  The student had currency and similar technique experience which adapted easily to WMAA training methods and these were able to be

demonstrated by him to the Grandmaster's satisfaction.  He was instead assessed at High Blue Belt (3rd Gup) based on his grading performance.


Enquiries regarding RPL may be directed to Master Rodney Lee Walsh.