How the Japanese view of the black belt

Gyakuto

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To the best of my knowledge 5th Dan is the highest rank that is attained by skill in the art. The ranks of 6th Dan and above are not attained by skill and are not awarded by an instructor but rather by your peers. It's your peers that promote you to 6th Dan and above and promotion at those ranks is given based on factors such as your teaching ability and how much you contribute to the art, not on your technical skill the way the lower ranks are. At least that's how it is with some styles such as the first style I started to seriously train in.
That was the case at the beginning of the 20th Century when standards were low (have a look at the technique of some of the founding fathers if you can find them on film). When my original Karate teacher came to the U.K. in the early 60s, 5th Dan was the highest technical grade which he held, but as the art developed and evolved, further technical grades were added up to 8th Dan. 9th and 10th Dan are usually honorary grades and are bestowed for services to the art: promoting it, pushing up the standards, and model behaviour. These Dan grades are augmented by the shogo honours, renshi, kyoshi and hanshi for which criteria differ amongst associations. Heres an example:
 

Fungus

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That was the case at the beginning of the 20th Century when standards were low (have a look at the technique of some of the founding fathers if you can find them on film). When my original Karate teacher came to the U.K. in the early 60s, 5th Dan was the highest technical grade which he held, but as the art developed and evolved, further technical grades were added up to 8th Dan. 9th and 10th Dan are usually honorary grades and are bestowed for services to the art: promoting it, pushing up the standards, and model behaviour. These Dan grades are augmented by the shogo honours, renshi, kyoshi and hanshi for which criteria differ amongst associations. Heres an example:
In my style(kyokushin karate) our shihan says 5th Dan is the highest grade he can "train to get" in kyokushin, all above that are as mentioned are more honorable degrees for efforts and long contributions to the art. Which requires engaging in national and international work. I think these details would differ from style to style though.
 
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Gyakuto

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In my style(kyokushin karate) our shihan says 5th Dan is the highest grade he can "train to get" in kyokushin, all above that are as mentioned are more honorable degrees for efforts and long contributions to the art. Which requires engaging in national and international work. I think these details would differ from style to style though.
宇his amp goes up to 11. Im sure a Kyokushin 5th Dan is technically equivalent to, say a Wado Ryu 7th Dan etc
 

Hyoho

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That was the case at the beginning of the 20th Century when standards were low (have a look at the technique of some of the founding fathers if you can find them on film). When my original Karate teacher came to the U.K. in the early 60s, 5th Dan was the highest technical grade which he held, but as the art developed and evolved, further technical grades were added up to 8th Dan. 9th and 10th Dan are usually honorary grades and are bestowed for services to the art: promoting it, pushing up the standards, and model behaviour. These Dan grades are augmented by the shogo honours, renshi, kyoshi and hanshi for which criteria differ amongst associations. Heres an example:
So has ZenKenRen farmed out shogo honours now to individual renmei?
 

Gyakuto

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So has ZenKenRen farmed out shogo honours now to individual renmei?
Only to the BKA and about 5-7 years ago, if I recall correctly. As BKA secretary, I helped design the original shogo with the chair and vice chair.
 

Hot Lunch

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Nearsighted Westerners, however, view a black belt as the end-all, usually blind to the tremendous amount of knowledge and understanding that comes post black.
I think "westerners" are their own worst critic. Yes, a new black belt knows that there are more things to lean beyond shodan. A white belt who's been training for a month knows this after seeing the curriculum or watching a black belt learn a new kata, so there's no way a shodan doesn't know.
 

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I'll also add this: as most people here know, Soo Bakh Do has the "midnight blue" belt for dan ranks, instead of black. Their reasoning is that the color black represents "completion," as there is no darker color beyond black.

Basically, the color "black" is revered so much, that no Soo Bakh Do practitioner is considered to be worthy of wearing a belt of that color.

So it's not just "westerners."
 
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punisher73

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To the best of my knowledge 5th Dan is the highest rank that is attained by skill in the art. The ranks of 6th Dan and above are not attained by skill and are not awarded by an instructor but rather by your peers. It's your peers that promote you to 6th Dan and above and promotion at those ranks is given based on factors such as your teaching ability and how much you contribute to the art, not on your technical skill the way the lower ranks are. At least that's how it is with some styles such as the first style I started to seriously train in.
Depends on the style and the organization.
 

punisher73

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But Jigoro Kano was a Judokan not a swimmer, at least I don't think he was a swimmer.
Are we talking about Judo or are we talking about swimming? Judo and swimming are two different things.
I was a competitive swimmer for nine years, the only thing you would wear when you swam would be a bathing suit and goggles if you needed them. You wouldn't wear anything else such as ribbons, they would slow you down.

Now if you're talking about the ribbons you would get for winning, blue ribbon for first place, red ribbon for second place, white ribbon for third place, the same kinds of ribbons you get for running or for just about any racing sport, that's a different matter but you wouldn't wear those ribbons while you were competing.
Not sure where the confusion was.

Jigoro Kano took the IDEA of colored ranks/belts FROM swimming and applied it TO Judo.

Remember we are talking about Japan and how it did things back then in swimming, NOT modern placing awards and attire.
 

Gyakuto

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Not sure where the confusion was.

Jigoro Kano took the IDEA of colored ranks/belts FROM swimming and applied it TO Judo.

Remember we are talking about Japan and how it did things back then in swimming, NOT modern placing awards and attire.
Swimmers wore coloured belts in Japan? Coloured trunks cord would be a better idea.
 

Hot Lunch

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Swimmers wore coloured belts in Japan? Coloured trunks cord would be a better idea.
Makes sense. Back then, people held their pants up with suspenders. Belt loops didn't even exist until 1922, and didn't become common until after the second World War.
 

Hyoho

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Makes sense. Back then, people held their pants up with suspenders. Belt loops didn't even exist until 1922, and didn't become common until after the second World War.
But it's not a "belt" per se. The Japanese Obi () is from the Heian period (794-1135) Japanese don't call it a "belt". Seems like in doing that things seem to have got mixed up. You don't hold you trouser up with it! It's generally worn on the outside over jackets. In my case the hakama goes on top of that. Black is a 'qualified beginner' regardless of however anyone else wants to twist its meaning abroad and in other arts. Associations have seniors panels to award higher levels. Expounding on the beginner concept even a licence of full transmission in the classical school still mentions the fact that you are still in a learning process.
 

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But it's not a "belt" per se. The Japanese Obi () is from the Heian period (794-1135) Japanese don't call it a "belt". Seems like in doing that things seem to have got mixed up. You don't hold you trouser up with it! It's generally worn on the outside over jackets.
Belts worldwide have, historically, been worn over the jacket, and this continues today.
 

Gyakuto

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But it's not a "belt" per se. The Japanese Obi () is from the Heian period (794-1135) Japanese don't call it a "belt". Seems like in doing that things seem to have got mixed up. You don't hold you trouser up with it! It's generally worn on the outside over jackets. In my case the hakama goes on top of that. Black is a 'qualified beginner' regardless of however anyone else wants to twist its meaning abroad and in other arts. Associations have seniors panels to award higher levels. Expounding on the beginner concept even a licence of full transmission in the classical school still mentions the fact that you are still in a learning process.
17C84FE4-12A3-44BC-8B86-A6F12A6DEDA5.jpeg


Like a kaku obi? More like a sash than a belt.
F54A9168-ADB3-4866-88E1-1FE7C1F55D75.jpeg
 

Hyoho

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View attachment 30140

Like a kaku obi? More like a sash than a belt.
View attachment 30141
I didn't look it up. I don't need to. It's an everyday word I used at work in Japan. As an example in some dojo graduated students keep in touch with old school dojo. That's called an Obi Kai. The police and prison staff in my area have a group numbering 120 from my campus. Some I taught, some near my age. Other have moved on to other areas

So for Western things Japanese use kata kana. A belt is written as 怒 So it looks like the use of the word belt was made up by Westerners top describe things. The main thing is it's not in the apparel but what we call the grade which of course is Dan (Rank). So shodan is first rank or first step. Not first as in "top" so this always gets called "belt" in English
Belts worldwide have, historically, been worn over the jacket, and this continues today.
Yes. But sadly Westerners have the word belt meaning dan as in rank rather than an item of apparel.
 
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