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  #31  
Old 20-Apr-2013, 02:28 AM
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I love the martial arts, as a black belt however its difficult for me to describe to other non-martial artists what it means to me. I am retired from the sport but it will always be a part of me as will MAP.
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  #32  
Old 20-Apr-2013, 02:45 AM
matveimediaarts matveimediaarts is offline
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A lot of great posts here on the subject. The colored belt system is basically arbitrary and was invented for Western students. Traditionally, one attained a black belt by training so long and hard that the belt turned black. As mentioned earlier, this is only the beginning of another journey-continuing to refine and improve oneself and his skills.
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  #33  
Old 20-Apr-2013, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by matveimediaarts View Post
Traditionally, one attained a black belt by training so long and hard that the belt turned black.
Often claimed, but sadly just not true. The culture the black belt came from was one of fastidious hygiene, where someone who washed their uniform so infrequently it turned black would not have been welcome.

The black belt associated with martial arts was invented by the founder of Judo to help distinguish advanced students from beginners in the late 1800s.
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  #34  
Old 21-Apr-2013, 05:17 PM
matveimediaarts matveimediaarts is offline
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Originally Posted by Aegis View Post
Often claimed, but sadly just not true. The culture the black belt came from was one of fastidious hygiene, where someone who washed their uniform so infrequently it turned black would not have been welcome.

The black belt associated with martial arts was invented by the founder of Judo to help distinguish advanced students from beginners in the late 1800s.
I stand corrected. Domo arigato, Aegis-san. Rank is quite arbitrary WRT colored belt systems though, yes?
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  #35  
Old 21-Apr-2013, 05:25 PM
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Depends on the art and depends on the teacher - like everything. One of my Ju jitsu green belts puked on the test it took to get that rank. You train with me you earn it
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  #36  
Old 23-Apr-2013, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Aegis View Post
The black belt associated with martial arts was invented by the founder of Judo to help distinguish advanced students from beginners in the late 1800s.
And he got the idea from swimming. Apparently they used a system where advanced swimmers would wear a black ribbon around their waist.
But the dan system was already in use for go players as well. Dan means step or grade. The Japanese system of dan ranks for go was likely inspired by a Chinese system that was in use to rank go players.
The different colors for the kyu (geup) was invented by a Japanese judo teacher in Europe in the 1930's.
Koreans adopted the dan system.

In the 1970's one way for Koreans to get a US green card was to have a high rank in a martial art (I believe 6th dan or up), this way it became very profitable for MA organisations to sell higher dan ranks.

Not really making a point here, just some background information.
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  #37  
Old 23-Apr-2013, 06:22 PM
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All interesting posts...
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  #38  
Old 29-Apr-2013, 07:39 PM
Saved_in_Blood Saved_in_Blood is offline
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I'm only working on my green belt in combat hapkido, which will be the third belt up, but I can imagine it's a real sense of pride, not in a bad sense of course but to really feel good about your work. It's great to not only do something, but to REALLY enjoy it and not just go through the motions each day like so many of us tend to do with our lives.

I've learned as i've gotten older that if you are going to just do something for the sake of doing it, you'll wake up one day and just wonder where all of the time went. Studying something that you love however is just one of those things that makes you always want to keep learning. Very good job on your achievements OP.
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  #39  
Old 12-May-2013, 09:26 PM
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Black belts hold my pants up pretty durn well. So do brown belts. But with a brown belt you can wear brown shoes. (this is important).
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  #40  
Old 13-May-2013, 10:02 AM
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I have to say that in recent years in my opinion the standards of black belts have lowered considerably. I personally attribute this to a lot of the rules and regulations which are for supposed "child protection" policies.

I agree with a lot of them, however the last child protection course I attended for our association summed it up as "kids are there to have fun, if they learn on the way it's a bonus".

I got my black belt by working long and hard, that said it took me 3 and a half years however I did spend the last two and a half years training 5-7 times a week whereas some of my peers did 2 classes per week.

many years later, i'm now training 17 years and I'm still on my 2nd Dan, quite content with it and confident I am a 2nd dan of a decent standard. Some of my former students will now be applying for 2nd dan this year, one of my former students is now 3rd dan.

At the end of the day, when we wanted to grade our instructors decided whether we could or not. If students weren't ready, they didn't grade. Nowadays, the classes seem to be spent teaching the next section of the syllabus in time for the next grading, teaching someone a particular technique is ok but knowing what it is and knowing how or when to use it are two different things entirely.

I agree with the OP about a black belt being a state of mind, it's also seen by people who haven't reached it yet as a kind of line in the sand where you move from being a student to another level of commitment.

Once I reached black belt I was only too aware of how much I still had to learn although it did give me a lot of extra confidence that others of greater experience had deemed me fit to wear it.
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  #41  
Old 23-Jan-2015, 10:24 AM
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After 25 Years and Retirement as a Tae Kwon Do Instructor, I can honestly tell you, your points are very good!!
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  #42  
Old 27-Jan-2015, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Giovanni View Post
i hate to burst your bubble, but it's an arbitrary "accomplishment". yes, it's mostly mental and i agree with you on that. and i agree with many many of your other points regarding inner strength, discipline, commitment, etc. but having a black belt means what? that you've passed some sort of arbitrary time and tasks to get "promoted". on the street, it means nothing. less than nothing. nobody cares. doesn't mean that mugger x is going to reconsider trying to kill you for a couple bucks.

and besides, even in martial arts, having a black belt typically means only a beginning. certainly, it's not the end of training.
Unfortunately, especially now days getting a black belt simply can mean walking into a mcdojo, paying $$ and walking out with one...

So on that front giovanni has a point!

In 3 decades of practice and holding black belts in TKD and Karate, it means alot to me as far as statistics, knowing that out of my entire beginner class, I'm only 1-3 that made that rank. So yeah, it's mentality. I'd also point out that it's dedication and commitment.

The other point giovanni made was in regards to on the streets. A mugger or bad guy isn't gonna care of your black belt as he/she is attacking you. Then again, the mugger or bad guy wouldn't care if your a cop, soldier, tinkerbell, or santa clause.... Just sayin!
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  #43  
Old 15-Apr-2015, 05:19 PM
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Hard work and dedication etc etc aside I don't hold the Black belt in such a coveted position. My Black belts are wrapped up in a draw at home, they hold little value for me I only really wear them when I have to i.e a seminar or such and that's only so lower grades or the less knowledgeable know who to ask if they need help.
I think everyone should consider black belts and white belts as one and the same. Lets be clear, I'm not trying to take anything away from anyone's sense of pride and achievement in earning their black belt in fact more power to you.
However it seems almost daily now, that I'm meeting, reading or watching and unfortunately having to train with really really poor black belts who might as well be wearing a white belt! No disrespect to the lower grades intended. This is unacceptable and undermines the whole reputation surrounding the elusive black belt.
In all the MMA and Sanda fights I have competed in or supported a fellow fighter I have regularly witnessed novices beating higher grades, black belts included! When I was a raw beginner and first started competing, I was to my surprise also beating black belts regularly. I was so pleased with myself (yeah I'm a such a badass) because I was beating BLACK belts (I wasn't the only one who was able to do this by the way). I soon realised it wasn't because I was all that (although I've not done badly if I do say so myself), it was simply because regrettable being a black belt isn't all that especially when so many schools focus on different aspects of training instead stepping back and taking a broader view of whats on offer (myself included). Not to mention you can buy them, I've personally been propositioned several times on a like for like basis, you award me such and such and I'll return the favour of this or that grade and papers with no strings attached.
For me gradings irrespective of your level shows you that you are able to remember and perform a set routine or dance on one day to a sufficient standard in order to pass and that's it. You've already proven that as many times as required of your system to get you to your black belt. It does little to demonstrate yourself as a evolving individual, an evolving martial artist or that you can actually put a fight together and hold your own in a competitive fight, and win even. Black belts offer no more a guarantee then any other grade.
But back to my comparison of how similar white belts and black belts are, not in content but in essence. I would argue both the white belt and black are the hardest gradings. The difference between the white belt and black belt grading is duration of the grading, the amount of content and technical difficulty. But is the black belt grading really any harder to earn for the experienced student who's worked there way up to it with a solid foundation of techniques to draw from in comparison to the raw novice who's taking there first grading, essentially a blank sheet with no prior martial arts or indeed grading experience to rely on? I know of many students just starting out worried about what they'll be asked to do, or frightened they wont know what to do or they'll look stupid etc and that's normal. I also see just as many black belts in the same state of worry and confusion and self doubt because they thought it would all come together and they would have an answer for this and that and do you know what? They just stand on the side lines just like the white belts!
For me the real skill in martial arts isn't represented by the status your belt provides. All that demonstrates is your dedication and love for that system. Rather I'm looking for the students ability to apply their knowledge in relation to what they can perform whilst under the stresses of constantly increasing pressure with constantly changing perimeters. Just like a Sanda or MMA fight. Can you do you it when it counts? Can you find that angle, that opening? Can you relate / apply those deadly moves / techniques or whatever in a fight, street or MMA? Gradings in the traditional manner of get show your stuff next move show your stuff and repeat repeat etc etc do not allow the student to demonstrate this.
Gradings, especially the elusive black belt grade when you consider its reputation as the "you've made it belt", in my opinion does little to demonstrate any actual talent or flare as it's kinda like a physical enactment of a polished resume if you will? Monkey see monkey do. Not Monkey create.
I am coming at this from a competitive point of view. I fought / fight knock out and submission and freely admit it has coloured my opinion of grades in relation to perceived skill level, but this is where most of my experience lies.
Like I said at the beginning I think white belts and black belts are more similar than people realise. I see both grades more often than not in a competition setting in very similar states of confusion and unpreparedness! Now you'd think given the discrepancy in experience and the time taken to perfect there system to a black belt level and the supposedly focused mind you should of attained by this point one would be prepared for a fight? This simply isn't the case! To much emphasis is put on the getting through the system making your way through the belts asap that people forget they need to train all aspects of a fight and not just the more traditional side of martial arts or solely the sparring side and actually get good at it along the way. You shouldn't after spending years getting your black belt then need a ton of extra training to step into the ring. A top up on specifics maybe but no more. So for those reasons I'm not convinced by the value of a black belt.
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  #44  
Old 15-Apr-2015, 05:45 PM
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Belts are preferable to suspenders (braces) and if the belt is black so must be the shoes. I couldn't pull off a purple belt/shoe combo, though. Good luck to those who can.
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  #45  
Old 12-May-2015, 01:17 AM
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I hold the black belt to be an image of power and authority. It is a not something to be trifled with.
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