Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by JowGaWolf, Jun 4, 2018.
Man, it is refreshing to hear an attorney willing to make that statement. Kudos!
There are many "origin myths" about belt ranks. I heard most of them from various instructors over the years. So far as I can tell, there's no validity to any of them (that the belt got dirty and turned black, that the colors were put in a certain order so students could dye their belts continuously, etc.). Danny's post about it originating with Kano is the same information I have, with more detail than I could have supplied.
Around WW2, most gendai arts in Japan seem to have been using kyu-dan and at least white/black belt (many using some version of the colors, too). There was already some Japanese MA in the US, but it was pretty sparse. A GI stationed in Japan after WW2 had the opportunity to take lessons from a "genuine Japanese sensei", and many did. Many were only stationed there 2-4 years, and BB could be attained in that time period. Mind you, these were young, athletic guys without a lot to do with their spare time, so they could train hard and probably more often than the average practitioner today. Still, that's a short run up to BB by the current standards of many US schools. Well, these GI's came home and (often with the blessing of their instructors in Japan) began teaching the art they'd learned. Because they all had BB and were teaching, many saw BB as a very high level (though it's arguable how many of these GI's were at that high of a level). In some styles (like my primary style) that became the new norm: BB=instructor. In other styles, it didn't take, and they still require 3rd dan or higher to teach - often with the "teaching" level being more comparable between styles than the BB rank is.
Maybe that's the point where you need to cut down on the curriculum a little, or split the classes up into "beginners" and "advanced" classes.
If I had more students - and more time to teach - I'd happily add an advanced class. Not enough of either to do that.
As for the curriculum, it's not really overwhelming. The core NGA curriculum is semi-cumulative - in most cases more advanced/difficult techniques are left for later. It's built around the concept of slow ingestion, and the focus mostly remains on the first 10 techniques even as students progress in the art. I've paired it up with other material (more striking and ground work for beginners, stick work in the middle, staff work later, etc.) to expand capability. It's not intended to be something you can cover in a single year of classes, but a regular progression for folks who want to keep training long-term. If someone came to me to train only for one year, I'd barely touch the traditional NGA curriculum.
I got same info really as yourself on BB ...it a modern thing (modern meaning early 20th maybe very very late !9th cent) The coloured belts I really have no clue on as never had one lol...I'd guess that is later though
The only thing else I'd say is that the Koryu awarded "status" by means of scrolls and most of them hand enrollment books to (how accurate they are or were again open to debate) so theoretically you could check if and when a student enrolled (well assuming you can read japanese and the freehand script lol)
Chinese wrestling may be the only CMA systems that use the ranking system in China. During the Ching dynasty, the San Pu Yin (emperor's wrestling team) had 200 Chinese wrestlers. Those wrestlers were offered ranking as:
- 1st degree Pu Hu (attacking tiger),
- 2nd degree Pu Hu (attacking tiger),
- 3rd degree Pu Hu (attacking tiger),
Different ranks received different salary.
All very interesting points of perspectives with some history thrown in.
To me a beginner starts with learning the basics. As we progress, we start to think that we are becoming more advanced until that day when you have an epiphany and start to see all the little details necessary to improve upon and realize that you are really just beginning.123
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