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#370118 - 11/14/07 07:12 PM Belt or no belt?
Cafa Offline
Newbie

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 11
I'd like to open a discussion about belts and their value to you.

Here's my point of view: today my sensei (3rd dan) demonstrated a kind of behavior which made me wonder, and I imagined what would he be like without his dan, and my conclusion was - a small and angry person.

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 don't want to be better than anyone. I'll beat them on a tournament, but I have no desire to be called better by default. Even a 12 year old girl can teach me something I didn't know before, for example.

I'm an experienced and effective fighter, white belt in karate. I kind of fell in love with that belt, as I like that romantic legend that it shouldn't be washed, I want to wait and see will it eventually become black. Crazy, I know.

Belts are not awarded by the same standards in different dojos. Some are even gifts to friends, while some people worked hard for their belts. I heard all sorts of discussions "yellow belt in this dojo is stronger than a green belt in that one", and the more I think about it, the more I am reluctant to enter that rat race. I don't want people talking that way about me behind my back, it's disgusting. I don't want to take part in it, but I love karate.

If I (or any other karate-ka) decide to stay white belt, how would you look at it? Would I be the righteous guy, or the guy who's spitting on karate tradition and trying to show he's better than everone else? A true karate-ka who appreciates everyone for who they are, or just a rebel? Or both?

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#370119 - 11/14/07 09:18 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: Cafa]
JAMJTX Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 585
Loc: Fort Wayne, IN
The best thing that can happen in the martial arts world is to do away with "belts" and ranks. The system was started for a reason, but now it's too corrupt and meaningless.
A belt/rank means nothing outside of your own dojo. It may possibly mean something to some in the same organization, but not much.

If you want to stay a white belt, then good for you.
I knew an excellent karate teacher that was a "brown belt" for 10 years; a fantastic Judoka that was a Shodan for 16 years when I met him and had no intention of taking a promotion.

On my first trip to Japan I was advised to be respectful to everyone, including white belts. I was also told if a "white belt" started to offer advice or corrections to play close attention, especially if it was an older person. It is not uncommon for very high ranked "black belts" to wear a white belt.

I also trained in an Aikido class where each beginners class everyone, black belts included, put on a white belt to practice basics. It really helps keep everyone a little humble and promotes the idea that it's not the belt that's important.

But so much of martial arts is about getting belts and not enough about training, knowledge and skills.

I would look at you as a person who loved the art more than the politics.

So often, when someone comes to look into classes, the first thing they ask is "when will I get my black belt". I'm to the point where I won't accept a student that askes this question.

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#370120 - 11/14/07 09:33 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: Cafa]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
Quote:

Here's my point of view: today my sensei (3rd dan) demonstrated a kind of behavior which made me wonder, and I imagined what would he be like without his dan, and my conclusion was - a small and angry person.





Whoa right there!! You really need to look at going somewhere else if that's the kind of respect you have for your sensei. He may be,but then why would you want to train under him?

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 don't want to be better than anyone. I'll beat them on a tournament, but I have no desire to be called better by default. Even a 12 year old girl can teach me something I didn't know before, for example.






People are people whereever you go, even in the dojo.

Quote:

I'm an experienced and effective fighter, white belt in karate. I kind of fell in love with that belt, as I like that romantic legend that it shouldn't be washed, I want to wait and see will it eventually become black. Crazy, I know.





That'll never happen, it's a silly myth.

Quote:

Belts are not awarded by the same standards in different dojos. Some are even gifts to friends, while some people worked hard for their belts. I heard all sorts of discussions "yellow belt in this dojo is stronger than a green belt in that one", and the more I think about it, the more I am reluctant to enter that rat race. I don't want people talking that way about me behind my back, it's disgusting. I don't want to take part in it, but I love karate.




Guess what, people are going to talk about you behind your back whether you have a belt or not.

Quote:

If I (or any other karate-ka) decide to stay white belt, how would you look at it? Would I be the righteous guy, or the guy who's spitting on karate tradition and trying to show he's better than everone else? A true karate-ka who appreciates everyone for who they are, or just a rebel? Or both?




It wouldn't bother me. Rank goes to people's head,but you are training at a dojo that uses rank and you should respect that or go somewhere else.
_________________________
The2nd ammendment, it makes all the others possible. <///<




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#370121 - 11/14/07 11:22 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: Cafa]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Cafa:

Passion is enough... with a good teacher.

Many years ago, I attended a week long martial arts seminar in a gorgeous wooded locale. There were I don't know 30 students. Some with no experience, some with 10+ years experience, a few with lots more. Given the serious diversity of the group there was one senior teacher and three assistants. Two of the three assistants were tangibly experienced, the third was a curious puzzle. The fellow wore a normal gi but that had seen meaningful aging. Even so he wore only a white belt. He had presence and meaningful authority in his most basic technique. Others with no experience could not so easily see it until they touched. By then it was obvious.

He had been a daily student for twenty + years and never desired to test. His teachers all agreed it was time for him to do so. The discussions you heard are immature ones, avoid them. Or engage in them and let your feelings be publically known. "...Guys why do you talk that way, its little kid stuff..."

J

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#370122 - 11/15/07 12:59 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: Ronin1966]
JAMJTX Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/01/02
Posts: 585
Loc: Fort Wayne, IN
BTW, one reason for my growing interest in Chinese arts over Japanese arts is the lack belts and ranks.
Sure, some schools of "kungfu" use the "black sash". But usually that would indicate a problem with the school.

It's much more common in authentic Chinese schools to see no belts or sashes and not even a uniform of any kind. Just comfortable workout clothes. The only way to know "who's who" is by thier skills.

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#370123 - 11/15/07 01:48 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: JAMJTX]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
JAM

One "belt theory" is that back in the early days of karate in Japan there were a lot of clubs with only one real teacher that sort of "made the rounds" so the belts were a means of the TEACHER--who might not really know all the students personally--to be able to see at a glance what material a given person/people should be working on.

Just something to add to the pile.


Edited by cxt (11/15/07 01:57 AM)
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#370124 - 11/15/07 05:59 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: cxt]
Ives Offline
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Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 691
Loc: the Netherlands
If you're happy with the school, the style, the teaching/instruction, just go with the flow. Without promotion you wouldn't advance in the curriculum in the school I train at.
There is a green belt at my school, that was an early green belt when I started karate at this school. I'm now a brown belt and have increased more in skill than she has. She is still a green belt. She refuses to test for her brown belt.
So be it.

I'm not saying that by promotions you gain in skill. You get more experience in different applications since the curriculum is broader. It becomes more diverse.
_________________________
Ives

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#370125 - 11/15/07 06:14 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: Ives]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
belts and such things are a funny thing really,

for many its a genuine tradition that should be respected as a sign of recognition of skill and experience from ones Sensei and peers etc etc, im cool with that.

for others its a good earner, and can give great power in the political running of a dojo or indeed association, im not cool with any of that.(ie regular rank testing, student retention, yuk yuk)

For many its a good boost to the ego, something I hsave/do suffer from for sure, from time to time .as I feel 'underranked' when I looked at standards around me, ego eh..........lifes like that i guess

Now I just don't worry about it, my karate is about training and research these days, rank may happen, it may not.

When people ask me these days I simply say my time training (22 years) and that I am teach karate as a blackbelt, if pushed then I would mention the term 'baby' sensei - which is what I consider myself to be at 35 years of age.

But other people tend to expect it (far to much, and far to often), so it has a place I guess in the world.

Now in my dojo its simple, students are awarded grade when they have earn't it, not when they pay for it, or ask for it, or expect it.

The nice result of this is no one really cares about it now as they know the right things will eventually happen if they train hard, and I have faith that will be the same for me with my Sensei.

I only work white to green to black to sensei to shihan,

This is more than suitiable for our needs, right or wrong it works well for us and can fit in with other larger groups as needed.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#370126 - 11/15/07 07:46 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: cxt]
Dobbersky Offline
Peace Works!!!!
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 913
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom
Osu

In most Aikido dojos, only black belts and white belt exist.

I love how some associations, give explainations about what each colour belt symbolises.

As Mr Miyagi said - "in Okinawa belt mean no use rope to hold up trousers"

I would have only 4 colours if it was up to me White, green, brown and black

Osu
_________________________
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Ken

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#370127 - 11/15/07 09:18 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: Dobbersky]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
'Rank' doesn't interest me. HOwever, is there some kind of acknowledgement that certain ranks confer teaching status? If yes, then refusing to test/rank to a certain point in a system that confers legitimacy for teaching with a particular rank...effectively means the line stops with you.

I think rank isn't an honor or privelege. One may earn it in some sense...but to me it's really a responsibility. To refuse to test might be considered disrespectful.

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#370128 - 11/15/07 09:44 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: harlan]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
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.
_________________________
"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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#370129 - 11/15/07 09:46 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: MattJ]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

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
Enthusiast

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
Professional Poster

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
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
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
Enthusiast

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
Professional Poster

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)
_________________________
DBAckerson

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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!
Prolific

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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#370138 - 11/15/07 04:49 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: JAMJTX]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
REALLY at 8th Dan what do you expect, now I know some 3rd kyu who can do JSB kick better then some 8th dan. But very few that can show you and explain the purpose of his system inside and out. Or show you the fine points to tai sabaki and then deliever strikes to a certain area of the body. Be it a merdian PP or a known weakness of the body surface target. And explain the how to.

Lets be relative in our examination of the belts system most accredited 8th dans are 50-70 years old, a 3rd kyu most times are 16-30 years old. The 8th dan has mental knowlegde along with physcial skills, the other has physical skills and is attaining mental skills.
_________________________
DBAckerson

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#370139 - 11/15/07 05:05 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: JAMJTX]
underdog Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
The dan ranking system is ordinal only within a particular school. It is not a universal measure. As long as it functions in a particular school, fine. As we know, the ranking of someone in one school does not translate well into a rank in another school of the same style.

I wouldn't trash dan ranks except in those schools where it doesn't help THEM. I accept it WITH all it's limitations.

Keeping dan ranks however, still leaves you with the problem of atypical folks with black belts. There are some obese, out-of-shape, people who couldn't test for their current rank again. There are older people who are earning new dan ranks or still holding ranks they earned when they were younger. There are physically and cognitively challenged people who are earning black belts. These belts mean something ONLY in the school where they are awarded and they have real value.

If there is a need for a more universal ranking system that would allow ranking of more diverse groups of people within the same alledged style, then yes, a system would need to be invented.
_________________________
The older I get, the better I was!

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#370140 - 11/16/07 09:51 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: underdog]
Cafa Offline
Newbie

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 11
Thanks for your input guys, I've made my decision. Since I don't have a humble posture, I guess people would say "he thinks he's better than us" if I stayed a white belt. You know, it wouldn't suit me, I don't look or act like Mr.Miyagi, although I agree with him on proper usage of belts.

It would also disrupt some training routines, as we divide the class to white belts and colored belts, mostly when doing katas. After all, I should be honored I was chosen to take the test. So I'll go with the flow and get my yellow belt in a month, although it doesn't mean much to me.

BTW for that guy who said my post is amusing, I didn't say I'm an experienced tournament fighter, but an experienced fighter.

Osu!

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#370141 - 11/19/07 05:06 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: Cafa]
General_Neo Offline
Member

Registered: 11/19/07
Posts: 70
You guys are correct!
there is NO meaning in belts, i have fought with many 1st 2nd and 3rd dans who's skill is at a lower level than mine and i am not yet a blackbelt (i have been doing MA for 10 years now and still havent in any of the MAs i do as i do not see the point)
I guess what i am trying to say is: belts do not determine your skill.
All a belt means is that in someone else's point of view, you are at a certain skill level.
Take care, all of you.
_________________________
Im not in this world to live up to your expectations and youre not in this world to live up to mine

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#370142 - 11/19/07 09:20 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: cxt]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Cxt:

And an excellent hypothesis today as well, minus the rotating teacher aspect. We have between 25 and 40 students per kids class. There are eleven classes at one facility alone. The kids switch classes an amazing amount.... (makeups, sick days, etc.). It would not be mentally possible to keep them all straight, the belts provide the basic grouping. Given the particular makeup, experience level, age of the given class the lesson alters on the fly...

Jeff

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#370143 - 11/19/07 12:04 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: Neko456]
jakmak52 Offline
Newbie

Registered: 11/18/07
Posts: 20
Loc: Florida USA
From Rob Redmond:

Which happen to be my views as well, he's says it much better

The purpose of testing is to verify two things. First, it confirms that you did the work required and attended the classes where you learned important things. It also confirms that you were smart enough to learn everything well enough to pass the exams given at the time. Once the degree is conferred, it is a permanent thing and cannot be taken away.

A person with a degree has a sheet of paper that says, ďThis person knew everything we needed them to know on this date. They are the kind of person who started and finished this program to our satisfaction and overcame everything we threw at them. Please accord them the status granted below.Ē

If I did everything the first instructor said I had to do, received my rank certificate, and have the paper to prove it, then whether or not I stink today is irrelevant. No one should take it upon themselves to attempt to retroactively judge another personís degrees and certificates of learning, and there is a very good reason why that is.

It is because most of us will eventually grow old, and as we do, we will lose our athletic ability. When we are older than we are today, over 40 years old, or over 50 years old, or even older than that, no matter how much we practice, no matter how many special herbs and vitamins we take, no matter how much regular exercise we do, our bodies will betray us and cease functioning as well as they once did. Our skills will no longer measure up, and then, because of our own ridiculous thinking that ranks equal skills, we will no longer be worthy of our own ranks.

If that is the way karate rank really works, then every karate instructor over the age of 45 should be demoted dramatically. There are hardly any karate experts over age fifty that remain competitively skilled today, despite their studentsí protests to the contrary. Certainly the men who run todayís karate associations could not possibly pass the test for shodan today to any sort of objective standard. Iíd have to fail all of them if I were in the business of reexamining people because they didnít appear to have enough skill to justify their claimed rank. They are all old men. Despite being very athletic for old men, they are still feeble and old. They might not even survive the test!

So, physical skill cannot be the component we use to judge peopleís current ranks unless we are going to treat people unequally and say that this person gets a pass because he is famous. If someone looks like a 1st kyu and fights like a 1st kyu, and they hold a 3rd dan black belt certificate, then they are a 3rd dan black belt, and there shouldnít be anything I as an instructor of karate have to say about it. The degree was conferred by someone else. If the certification is in the same art as mine, I feel it behooves me to accept it at face value and move on.

Unfortunately, karate ranks are issued by everyone differently, and there is no national standard for issuing them, no accrediting national board, and no state or local agencies which work to audit and ensure that karate ranks are managed properly. Basically, karate ranks are no more valuable if they ship from Japan printed on parchment than they are if they are scribbled with a ball point pen on a napkin in a Bar-B-Q joint.

I say there must be an obstacle, because we are obviously hypocrites if we say that rank must equate to skill while we run around bowing and scraping for an 80 year old man who couldnít fight off a gaggle of enraged elementary school girls and consider him to have the highest rank. We have something in our minds that is blocking us from letting go of the importance of karate ranks and allowing our visitors and newcomers keep their ranks and just line up wherever they please in class. What are we so uptight about?
_________________________
"The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is when good men do nothing" EB

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#370144 - 11/19/07 12:46 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: harlan]
jakmak52 Offline
Newbie

Registered: 11/18/07
Posts: 20
Loc: Florida USA
On a personal experience:

When I first started training in 1994 at age 41 with a bum shoulder due to a gunshot to my left shoulder and felt I was too old and disabled to begin training, I still wanted to check it out. I went to USA Karate here in St. Petersburg, Florida and spoke with the Instructors about my age and limitations. They assured me that that there were students much older than I and with certain physical challenges. They said if you are willing and have the ATTITUDE and perseverance to do the BEST you can, we can teach you. So I began. I amazed myself by advancing far beyond my dreams in spite of my age and bum shoulder (I wasnít able to do a proper sudo, LOL), I compensated for that. In addition to the physical aspect, I learned respect for myself and others, that anything is possible, to pass on what I had learned, courage, self confidence, focus and concentration, and that I will never know it all. In 1999 I started teaching at risk children and senior citizens self defense (which was very fulfilling for me) and competing in the NASKA circuit here in Florida and Georgia. After winning 1st place in the Executive Menís Form Division (thatís what they called it then, it was better sounding than the old farts division LOL), I realized that there will always be winners and losers. Whether a BB or WB, you have my utmost respect and support. As time past, I no longer received high awards, thatís not the point, I participated regardless win or lose, I felt involved. To contribute back to the martial arts and continue training teaching and competing is sooo much fun!! Iíll do it until the wheelchair comes out..LOL . Yes, there are lesser ranks that are better physically than me and more power to them, they teach me as well. Did I earn my rank? Iíd like to think so. But itís all of us that do our best that inspire me. Thanks for letting me share.
_________________________
"The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is when good men do nothing" EB

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#370145 - 11/19/07 12:56 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: Cafa]
shadowkahn Offline
anti-stupid crusader

Registered: 01/03/07
Posts: 234
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




Well in my dojo anyway, belts are just an identifier. "Oh, that guy's a brown belt and I'm a gold belt. He's learned what I'm having trouble with, I'll go ask him." or "I'm teaching this class and that guy's a white belt so I can't expect him to know such-and-such."

None of this "I'm a black belt and therefore I'm better than you in every way" crap.

Quote:

I'm an experienced and effective fighter, white belt in karate. I kind of fell in love with that belt, as I like that romantic legend that it shouldn't be washed, I want to wait and see will it eventually become black. Crazy, I know.




Good luck. We don't do so much training outside in the dirt anymore, so it takes a lot longer for the belt to discolor. I was in a flood once and when I got back into the house my old white belt was green and yellow, with bits of black. Does that count? Can I be a mold belt now?



Quote:

I heard all sorts of discussions "yellow belt in this dojo is stronger than a green belt in that one", and the more I think about it, the more I am reluctant to enter that rat race.




Is it really a rat race? My old dojo (that I "trained" at for all of 3 months before finding the one I stayed with) doesn't teach karate. It barely even teaches martial ballet. Almost everything they teach is wrong. I will put one of our gold belts up against their black belts any day of the week. It doesn't mean I feel competative toward them -- - but then again I'm a realist.


Quote:

If I (or any other karate-ka) decide to stay white belt, how would you look at it?




Well, considering that it's awfully hard to learn brown belt stuff if you're a white belt, I'd say it would be fairly pointless. And as long as you're training at brown belt level, why not wear the belt? I don't think I'm better than anyone because there's a black belt in my gym bag, but I am extremely proud of it. I worked damn hard to earn that belt. I think I have a right to be proud of my personal accomplishment. The trick is not letting that pride turn into me being a jackass to other people.
_________________________
"Belt mean no need rope hold up pants" - Mr. Miyagi, RIP.

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#370146 - 11/19/07 01:27 PM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: shadowkahn]
jakmak52 Offline
Newbie

Registered: 11/18/07
Posts: 20
Loc: Florida USA
Quote:

Quote:


Well, considering that it's awfully hard to learn brown belt stuff if you're a white belt, I'd say it would be fairly pointless. And as long as you're training at brown belt level, why not wear the belt? I don't think I'm better than anyone because there's a black belt in my gym bag, but I am extremely proud of it. I worked damn hard to earn that belt. I think I have a right to be proud of my personal accomplishment. The trick is not letting that pride turn into me being a jackass to other people.




Well said, thank you.
_________________________
"The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is when good men do nothing" EB

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#370147 - 11/20/07 11:00 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: jakmak52]
underdog Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
I'd like to keep the belts. When I teach, as noted above, the belts help me know what material each kid is supposed to have. I don't get as reliable an answer if I ask the kids. They usually want more advanced material than they should have by belt and stripes.

As for myself, I started martial arts at 45 years old and it took me 9 years to get my black belt. They did not make the test any easier for me. I'm at Nidan now and I earned it. I am aware that because I am the only female black belt over age 20 (there is one female teenager and only 2 female black belts), that competition or comparison to others is rediciulous. I have no equals and no peers. Of course I am on the down swing in skills. It is odd. I am learning lots of new things and improving in things all the time, but meanwhile, the height of my side kick gets lower and lower. It wasn't an even trip moving up in skill and the decent isn't even either. I wouldn't want someone taking my black belt away from me because I have aged. I think I set a good example for people in terms of my training and attitude. I also have a lot to teach.

In short, dan rank, and even ku rank, means a lot of different things beyond skill.
_________________________
The older I get, the better I was!

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#370148 - 11/20/07 11:01 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: jakmak52]
underdog Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1270
Loc: Mansfield, MA U.S.A.
Happy Birthday Jack. Hey, I didn't get a cake on my birthday!
_________________________
The older I get, the better I was!

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#370149 - 11/21/07 10:27 AM Re: Belt or no belt? [Re: underdog]
Neko456 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 01/18/05
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest City, Ok, USA
I agree with some of the others experience ranked people use to the rank system. It is a neccessary evil in that you can at a glance know what level of material to start them with. Wheather its a T-shrit or belt or wrist scrap it does give a reference point of where to start. Now there will always be some difference in overall knowledge or skill but there is a reference point.

When I was 1st kyu I could beat lots of Shodan and Nidans even that were fresh from over seas, but they had trained for 2-6 years in a continued curriculum I has trained 4-5 years just at Brown belt (my main teacher was a truck driver) and had 9-10 years of overall training in at least 2-3 various but similar systems. So I would tell them don't feel bad I actually had more time in training then them.
I think its best to see belt rank as a reference point. And I'll add even though I could match or beat some of the Nidans, after sitting down chatting with them I couldn't match their overall knowledge. So rank as mention is more then fighting/sparring its overall knowledge of the system. It doesn't make you walk on water and it doesn't make you superman, it just a reference point of overall skill and knowledge. Some people say that knowledge isn't important but it will be as you go up in rank, it is like any form of education, you are as strong as your foundation.
_________________________
DBAckerson

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