Contradictions In The Martial Arts

I really really really really really really really hope you pass the test and earn your shodan. Then we can stop having this circular discussion over and over and over and over.
Nope, you see this so called circular discussion that you say that Im having has nothing to do with me making shodan at the Goju Ryu dojo Im going to right now. Rather it's about the rank of black belt in general and how it's viewed which includes whether or not it's acceptable for students to ask about it.

Much of this has to do with my experience at the first dojo I started seriously training at in which I did make shodan a long time ago and in which I don't train at anymore.
 
You could ask the instructor how long it takes on average to earn a black belt at the dojo.
And then you'll be met with a passive-aggressive response, such as "You can have this belt for $10." My point was to find ways around that.

I don't recall the movie saying it was taboo to inquire about black belts, the movie just makes the point that the martial arts is in the head and the heart, not in the belt as Mr. Miyagi explains to Daniel. The fictional character of Mr. Miyagi doesn't really believe in rank in the martial arts and the only time he uses rank is if you're entering a tournament where you have to be of a certain belt to be able to compete, such as when he gave a black belt to Daniel so that Daniel could compete.
The point was that Mr. Miyagi gave an infantilizing response that didn't answer Danny's question, which is also what Unel did. Again, anyone who has watched the movie should know better.
 
What do you think the real stuff is?
In all fairness, many of us repeat "black belt is just the beginning" because that's what we're all told (at least in karate, anyway). In my opinion, only kanchos and kaichos should be made to answer for that statement, not the students who are merely repeating what they've been taught.
 
Which is?
facepalm-really.gif
 
So at that dojo it sounds like they just hand out black belts to anybody who can afford them which would be anybody with 瞿10 no matter how skilled, or unskilled, they are.

In short, any bozo with 瞿10 can get a black belt at that dojo.

Double down. Buy the black belt. Start training with it. They won't mind because a black belt is just a symbol anyway.

See if they are true to their convictions.
 
Yeah, what about it?

Ok. So.

You are supposed to want your black belt and look up to others who have their black belt and treat them differently because of their increased standing in the community.

But they can't go around just saying they are better than you. That isn't cool martial arts spirituality.

So you say you don't want it. And that you are just starting your journey as a way of not only saying you are better than everyone because of the black belt. But that you are also better because you are so humble about the achievement.

It is a social convention to rationalise the process.

It is like at Christmas when the pudding comes out. You have to refuse it first. To excuse yourself for eating it.
 
I sometimes notice that there are big contradictions in the martial arts. For instance, and I've discussed this before, how they will say that being a first degree black belt doesn't mean you're a master or even an expert it just means you're a serious beginner, but then they make it so hard to get that you practically have to be a master to get it. Sounds very contradictory to me.
I think this example in particular depends entirely on the style and the school. In TKD Kukkiwon and ITF say the whole black belt is a beginner thing, but in early books circa 1959-1961 black belt in TKD was referenced as a "high level of expertise". In bjj a black belt is an expert and is closer to what is expected of 4th dan in TKD and some karate. Kyokushin black belts are high level fighters but not necessarily masters of their art. Not all black belts are equal and that is okay as long as the standard is made clear and is kept consistent.

I don't necessarily think it's a contradiction as much as things aren't so black and white, its all a weird flowing shade of gray. A good example; beginners are always taught to keep their guard up when doing punching drills, but a lot of high level professional fighters keep their guard down. Are the pros wrong? No, they just understand that there are situations where it's okay to have a lower guard. Advanced techniques are just mistakes made on purpose and everything is situational.
 
Ok. So.

You are supposed to want your black belt and look up to others who have their black belt and treat them differently because of their increased standing in the community.

But they can't go around just saying they are better than you. That isn't cool martial arts spirituality.

So you say you don't want it. And that you are just starting your journey as a way of not only saying you are better than everyone because of the black belt. But that you are also better because you are so humble about the achievement.

It is a social convention to rationalise the process.

It is like at Christmas when the pudding comes out. You have to refuse it first. To excuse yourself for eating it.
I have an idea that will lay all that to rest.

The purpose of colored belts is a quick and convenient way to organize and identify students according to their training needs, correct? At least, that's what we're told.

So how about this: everybody gets black belts. The only difference is that as you move up in the kyu ranks, you get a silver bar with each promotion. Upon reaching shodan, you get a new black belt with a gold bar, and add on from there.

Same purpose, right? You can tell the different kyu ranks apart by the number of silver bars on their black belt, right?

But there's one problem: good luck attracting and keeping students with this (though those who really believe what they're saying could weed out the students they claim they don't want by doing this). Whether people want to admit it or not, earning a black belt is a motivator. No one wants it to be "given" to them. I'm not saying that it is "the" motivator - though that's the case for some. But for everyone, it is at least "a" motivator to one extent or another.
 
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Double down. Buy the black belt. Start training with it. They won't mind because a black belt is just a symbol anyway.

See if they are true to their convictions.
Do it and record it. It's like the videos where the black belt goes into a gym and pretends to be a white belt, but in reverse. And comedy ensues!
 
But there's one problem: good luck attracting and keeping students with this (though those who really believe what they're saying could weed out the students they claim they don't want by doing this). Whether people want to admit it or not, earning a black belt is a motivator. No one wants it to be "given" to them. I'm not saying that it is "the" motivator - though that's the case for some. But for everyone, it is at least "a" motivator to one extent or another.
To further expand on this:

Even if a new student questioned the black belt with the silver bar that he'd be given in this scenario, you could flat out tell him and make it perfectly clear that it translates to a white belt in any other dojo. You could also tell him if he makes x kyu, he'll have a certificate indicating that particular kyu rank, and should he move out of town and attend a dojo of the same style and curriculum, he'll get the color of belt that that dojo has for that kyu rank.

Doesn't matter. He'll still feel like a fraud for wearing it even though he's actually not. He WANTS that white belt. Because it will make him feel legit. And this is where you might tell him that the color of the belt doesn't matter. And it's not going to convince him.
 
I don't agree with it either. Imagine walking into a military recruiter's office, and asking how long it takes to become a general. He then pulls out some stars that he bought from the PX and tries to sell them to you.

It's not that long ago that was exactly how one got a military commission and promotion in many countries military, even in the US that didn't allow commission purchasing, wealth and social position enabled many unqualified men to become officers and 'leaders of men'. A more horrifying proposition than being sold a martial arts black belt.
 
It's not that long ago that was exactly how one got a military commission and promotion in many countries military, even in the US that didn't allow commission purchasing, wealth and social position enabled many unqualified men to become officers and 'leaders of men'. A more horrifying proposition than being sold a martial arts black belt.
I don't know about other countries, but that ended around the time of World War I in the US. I've never heard of commissions being purchased (though I wouldn't argue with you for a second over that; it would be a losing bet to say that it didn't happen), but Theodore Roosevelt joining the Army as a captain and commanding a company during the Spanish American War from the beginning was an example of corruption in how that worked.

From my readings, however, when standing armies started to become a thing in the 1500s, and up until the Napoleonic Era; in many countries, commoners were always enlisted, and royalty and ability were always commissioned. According to urban legend, the existence of warrant officers was due to indecisiveness on whether or not to commission illegitimate sons of nobles - so a new class was created for them.

Anyhow, to redirect from this rabbit hole we're about to go down, what Unel did can be replicated in other settings outside of martial arts to demonstrate why what he did was rude.
 
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I don't know about other countries, but that ended around the time of World War I in the US.
No, it didn't. The children of the affluent are still far more likely to be commissioned officers. In general, do you think a Senator recommends the poor child, or the child of a wealthy campaign donor for admission to the various military academies?
 

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