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#370128 - 11/15/07 09:44 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: harlan]
MattJ Offline
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Registered: 11/25/04
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I don't mind belt systems that are merit-based. Those systems at least, should offer reasonable expectations that the belt-wearer will have skills comparable to their rank.

Otherwise, I can do without them.
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#370129 - 11/15/07 09:46 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: MattJ]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
'Merit' is a nebulous concept, and we Americans are in love with the idea. How about 'skills' based?

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#370130 - 11/15/07 11:37 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: harlan]
JAMJTX Offline
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Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 585
Loc: Fort Wayne, IN
When Jigaro Kano adapted the Kyu/Dan ranking system to Judo, he used white belts and black belts.
This system of ranking already existed in the the game of GO, and perhaps other things. Taking the idea from GO is where he got the idea of white belts and black belts. GO has white and black pieces.
The multi colors were first used in Europe for the purposes of dividing students up for competition, then that caught on in the U.S. and eventually spread to some Japanese schools. Only then did the myths about the origins of the colors start to come about.
In Peter Urbans book he wrote abour how a white belt would change colors over time, eventually turning black from age. Some authors wrote about the deeper zen meanings behind the colors: green for the earth, blue for sky, etc.
They are all nice stories, but they are just that - stories.

The driving force behind the use of colors was been money.

Many Aikido schools still only use white and black. But in a "real" traditional school everyone would be wearing a hakama so the belt color is totally irrelevant. Take a look at sword arts: kendo, iaido, kenjutsu, etc. There are no belt colors. It just doesn't matter since no one can see it anyway. People have either a kyu grade or a dan rank.

The idea of colored belts is mainly a feel good thing for the students. Not to mention that new students expect to be able to earn brghtly colored belts along the way. The colored belt is much like a school teacher taking a kids test paper and putting a brightly colored sticker on it next to the grade. The parents like to see the A grade on the paper but it means nothing to the kid. But put a big bright sticker on the paper and that gets an instant response and some excitement from the kid.

A teacher telling a student "your 6th kyu now" is not anywhere near as exciting to the kid as being brought up in front of the class, taking off his "old" organge belt ans tying on a brand new green belt. Not to mention that the teacher just made few extra dollars on the sale with the new belt added on top of the testing fee and the certificate fee.

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#370131 - 11/15/07 11:57 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: JAMJTX]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Cynicism aside on the the whole 'belt mill' aspect...does anyone know if rank, especially in karate, ever equated to teaching credentials?

Thank you.

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#370132 - 11/15/07 12:36 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: harlan]
MattJ Offline
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Quote:

'Merit' is a nebulous concept, and we Americans are in love with the idea. How about 'skills' based?




That is what I meant. Not sure if belts were ever meant to connote teaching credential. I was always assuming they represented physical skill. Teaching/coaching skills are not neccesarily related to performance skills.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#370133 - 11/15/07 12:51 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: harlan]
JAMJTX Offline
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Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 585
Loc: Fort Wayne, IN
Quote:

Cynicism aside on the the whole 'belt mill' aspect...does anyone know if rank, especially in karate, ever equated to teaching credentials?

Thank you.




Yes. 4th Dan was considered a teacher. Atleast in Karate.

When Karate was accepted by the DNBK, adapting the kyu/dan system was one of the requirements for acceptance. A 4th Dan was awarded to to teachers and higher grades were awarded to others based on additional criteria.

So, historically, 4th Dan was considered the lowest rank at which one can start to teach - or atleast teach on his own.

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#370134 - 11/15/07 02:54 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: JAMJTX]
Neko456 Offline
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Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
OP's quote - I have a feeling that belts, championships and stuff, are mostly used among us westerners to show that we're better than someone else, not that we're better than we were yesterday. Sooner or later belts become an obsession, to many karate-kas, and they focus on the guy who's above them, wanting to beat him. We're only human so it's normal, but the concept of karate is to eliminate the ego and to become righteous. Meaning, a black belt should have less ego than a white belt, not more, not using a black belt as a license to be whatever you want.


I believe that belts are a neccessary evil they give structure and accountability to a certain position in our training. A lot combat students believe the same way so they use T-shirts colors to show level of proficiency. I don't see a difference it still shows a color scheme level of progress.

I find the OPs post a bit amusing in that it talks about tournaments and championship as if that takes some real fighting skill. It does take skill but only inital contact of a real fight and no fear of getting the hell beat out of you though you can get hurt if you don't know what you are doing. But usually its just a rough game of tag. Winning and using these types matches starts the 3rd-1st kyu,Shodan or Nidans and sometimes Sandans to walk around like a game Rooster thinking they are bad a$$;-). Rank is Rank wheather you wear it around your waist, a T-shrit or an arm band or just mental knowledge Teacher student structure theres skill a level of proficiency that is sought. Belts or colors let you see this readily and as in the Op's post you do expect more from these mere humans.

You will notice that the Combat or S/D student most of the time doesn't walk around like a Game Rooster, because regradless of rank he has been put in a situation were he's had his a$$ handed to him, even in dojo scenarios. He keeps his light on and cup empty knowing theres always room to learn. Belts aren't the problem its what we think and make of them. Student 4 life or know it all Game Rooster because they won a plastic trophy.

I think Nidan is our present level of teacher so even the here our standards have dropped, mostly because it takes so long to gain Yodan ranking.


Edited by Neko456 (11/15/07 02:59 PM)
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#370135 - 11/15/07 03:41 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: JAMJTX]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA
Jam,

The problem is I personally know 1st and 2nd dans that can teach and perform better than some fourth and fifth dans.

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#370136 - 11/15/07 03:57 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: butterfly]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
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Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Quote:

Jam,

The problem is I personally know 1st and 2nd dans that can teach and perform better than some fourth and fifth dans.




So do I.

*pokes Brad*
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#370137 - 11/15/07 04:02 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: butterfly]
JAMJTX Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 585
Loc: Fort Wayne, IN
I know "brown belts" that are better than some of the 8th Dans that I have met. The "dan" system is badly broken.

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