The Expert Class are martial artists who are stronger than all three classes of disciple but weaker than a Master. Essentially, the expert class are the mid-level class for martial artists. Though far more powerful and stronger than a Disciple, the expert level is also where martial artists are at their most vulnerable. This most likely stems from the fact that experts have graduated from their masters' tutelage, and thus must then stand up for themselves on their way to become a master themselves. Akisame compares this level to a newly molted Cicada: while fully matured, its shell is extremely soft and vulnerable. It is said that those of the expert class either become masters or die, and are in an extremely unstable and dangerous state. According to the Elder, the expert class is the longest period for a martial artist and that every master has to go through being an expert at some point in their lives. One example of an expert class martial artist is Tsutomu Tanaka who was on the verge of becoming a Master.