How the Japanese view of the black belt

GojuTommy

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The weird martial arts movies of the past, and stereotypes about eastern mysticism created a weird view of the blackbelt is.

I don’t think you have to be a power ranger or goku to get a shodan or even nidan, but I think anyone who achieves shodan between the ages of 15-50 should have a basic level of physical competency in regards to fighting.

Like you should be capable of being at least holding your own against local level amateurs In whatever combat sport you choose.
 

Taiji Rebel

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The weird martial arts movies of the past, and stereotypes about eastern mysticism created a weird view of the blackbelt is.

I don’t think you have to be a power ranger or goku to get a shodan or even nidan, but I think anyone who achieves shodan between the ages of 15-50 should have a basic level of physical competency in regards to fighting.

Like you should be capable of being at least holding your own against local level amateurs In whatever combat sport you choose.
The origins of the black belt are related to schools and the education system. Does anyone seriously believe a belt system was in use before Kano and the others invented them? Even the kyu/dan system in martial arts was based on the popular board game of Go 😂
 
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GojuTommy

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The origins of the black belt are related to schools and the education system. Does anyone seriously believe a belt system was in use before Kano and the others invented them? Even the kyu/dan system in martial arts was based on the popular board game of Go 😂
Everything I’ve seen is that the origins of the modern belt system was inspired by competitive swimming in Japan.
 

Steve

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Everything I’ve seen is that the origins of the modern belt system was inspired by competitive swimming in Japan.
The first black belt dates back to the 12th century, when Tomoe Gozen pointed out to her master, the shogun Minamoto no Yoshinaka, that his lavender colored obi clashed with his kimono. When he asked her for suggestions, her response was captured in the Tale of Heike, where she is quoted as saying, "I don't know... something more neutral... black, perhaps. Or white."

The rest is history.
 

GojuTommy

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The first black belt dates back to the 12th century, when Tomoe Gozen pointed out to her master, the shogun Minamoto no Yoshinaka, that his lavender colored obi clashed with his kimono. When he asked her for suggestions, her response was captured in the Tale of Heike, where she is quoted as saying, "I don't know... something more neutral... black, perhaps. Or white."

The rest is history.
So now fashion advice is part of martial arts?
 
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PhotonGuy

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I have already wrote countless times on other posts: Shodan First black belt (that is if they wear one) is a "qualified" beginner in Japan. My students leave high school with Sandan. What should be mentioned is that they practice twice a day and all day Saturday and Sunday. So not only do they have the grade but compared with the West of perhaps practicing twice week it's a double standard. Its also a local level . National level is Rokudan.
So that would mean that I was right in what I said in my initial post when I started this thread back in 2014 and I was right in what I said in post #29 in July this year. Making it much harder to get from Ikkyu to Shodan then it is to get from Nikyu to Ikkyu is very much an American thing. As you said, Shodan means you're a qualified beginner in Japan. If your students are at Sandan by the time they graduate high school, Sandan is third degree black belt so that would've meant they would've made Shodan well before graduating high school.
 
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PhotonGuy

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The origins of the black belt are related to schools and the education system. Does anyone seriously believe a belt system was in use before Kano and the others invented them? Even the kyu/dan system in martial arts was based on the popular board game of Go 😂
Kano was famous for giving black belts for his more advanced students in his Judo class but the history of the belts of rank goes back before that. In China, way before Kano's time, sashes were worn in the kung fu classes and over time they would accumulate dirt and become darker in appearance and thus more experienced students could be identified by their darker sashes.
 
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PhotonGuy

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Then it should be out of your system already.
Nope, you see it took me much longer to get it then it should've, way past my cutoff point.

And also what's important to take into account is that my instructor was from Japan. Although he lived in the USA and had his dojo in the USA he was born in Japan and grew up in Japan.
 

Dirty Dog

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Dirty Dog, let me ask you this, from your point of view, is the black belt a big deal or isn't it?
It's a step. One of many. Each step has importance, but the belt should not be the goal, as it has clearly become for some.
 

Hot Lunch

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Nope, you see it took me much longer to get it then it should've, way past my cutoff point.

And also what's important to take into account is that my instructor was from Japan. Although he lived in the USA and had his dojo in the USA he was born in Japan and grew up in Japan.
So all this means that black belt doesn't count?
 

Hot Lunch

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If we're only paying attention to aesthetics (which can and does affect our perception of prestige), the view of the black belt can vary by art.

In judo, the only difference between the black belt and the belts below it is the color. It's made of the same material, it's the same width, of equal stiffness (or lack thereof), and most non-Japanese judoka don't have embroidery on their black belts.

In karate, the black belt is MADE to look like a big deal. It's wider, it's made of silk or satin so that it gets a "worn" look, it's embroidered, it's stiffer, etc, etc.

It's easier to perceive a judo black belt as "just another belt" than it is to perceive a karate black belt that way.
 

GojuTommy

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What does swimming have to do with it?
I read somewhere that swimmers got colored sashes to signify ranking within a league or within the nation or something like that and the sashes were like white, green, brown, and black
 
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PhotonGuy

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It's a step. One of many. Each step has importance, but the belt should not be the goal, as it has clearly become for some.
Well a black belt is not THE goal, and by that I mean its not the ultimate and final goal in the martial arts as there is no ultimate and final goal except to just keep getting better and learning more as you can always get better and learn more no matter what rank you hold and no matter how good you are but for some people it is a goal, particularly here in the USA where we've got a culture that is very goal oriented. Setting and working towards goals is part of the American culture and part of the American way of life so it would make sense some people would apply that towards earning a black belt at a dojo if said dojo is in the USA. You said it's a step, isn't a step a goal of a sort?

The thing is, if the black belt isn't a big deal then you might as well just hand out black belts like candy at your dojo, as some dojos do. After all, if the black belt isn't a big deal there is no reason that black belts shouldn't be handed out like candy.

Of the black belt is a big deal, and if you make the black belt really hard to get at your dojo by doing so you're making it into a big deal, then it stands to reason that there are going to be people who want to earn it and there are even going to be people who are obsessed with it because that's what happens when something is a big deal. When something is a big deal the result is that there is going to be people who want it and there is going to be people who are obsessed with it.
 
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