New Belt versus Old Belt.

d1jinx

Master Black Belt
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
1,390
Reaction score
17
Location
all-ova
Dress and Appearance:

I see many Black Belts walking around wearing raggedy, old, frayed, faded Belts. Like it's a sign of their "years of training" or some badge of honor. I hear many people who think it's cool and means something. But I must be different because I think it is just plain dirty and cheap looking. I have always worn new, clean uniforms and belts. When they begin to wear out, or fade, I replace them. It's who I am. I wear nice clothes and keep my appearance neat and professional. When I walk into a dojang, with an Instructor who has on an old raggedy uniform and belt, the first thing that comes to my mind is "slob". Not "oh he trained a long time". I feel that an instructor should display pride and a image of professionalism through their teachings AND appearance. If a student sees his teacher wearing an old faded raggedy uniform and belt, they cannot be expected to keep a neat appearance. They are following the example.

I "retire" belts and uniforms when they need to be. I dont wear them when the collars are faded and frayed or my belt has begun to unravel and fall apart. When my Black Belt begins to look white in spots or begins fraying.... I replace it. I like my crisp, clean belts and uniforms. Knowledge is in my head... not my belt. So when you see me wearing a new looking uniform or belt, chances are it is. But thats me. Crisp and clean... (with no caffine).

Am I the only one who feels this way?

What image do you get when you see an instructor with an old frayed, faded belt?
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
269
Location
Olney, Maryland
Honestly, I pay more attention to what the instructor is doing and how he or she is teaching than I do their belt.

Having said that, I do think that the old, worn belt is cool. But that does not factor into my opinion of the instructor. As you said, knowledge is in the head, not the belt.

Daniel
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,302
Reaction score
248
I totally understand the attachment to old, ragged uniforms and belts. It's a sign that you have invested a lot of sweat and time into this pursuit. That said, I agree with you. Frayed and yellowing uniforms with holes in them are a sign of poverty to me rather than a status symbol or an honored badge. Let's think about this from the Asian perspective since we do practice an Asian art after all, whether it's taekwondo, karate, jujutsu, or aikido. Asians value cleanliness and tidiness... With that in mind, is it really appropriate to come into the dojo or dojang with old, battered gear that should really be replaced at first opportunity?
 

Earl Weiss

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
3,149
Reaction score
600
Worn looking Belt OK, Worn uniform not OK.

Just changed belts after 7 years. Time on the floor during that period was minimum 6 hours a week, Belt did not look too bad, just had to get a new one. I think belts may be more durable these days. It must be really something to wear out any number of belts, unless of course you wash them or drag them behind your car.
 

goingd

Purple Belt
Joined
May 17, 2009
Messages
322
Reaction score
5
Location
So Cal
Not everyone can afford a new uniform every time one seems to wear out.
There are people who will buy belts that are already made to look like they are worn out, just for the look of it. I think that is just silly.
As for those with belts that are genuinely battered and bruised, that is, to me, somewhat a sign of maturity. That's not to say that years in experience equals quality knowledge. I agree with the first posts - I look more at what the instructor or student knows rather than their uniform and belt.

^~^
 

terryl965

<center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR
MTS Alumni
Joined
Apr 9, 2004
Messages
41,259
Reaction score
336
Location
Grand Prairie Texas
I wear my old belt not because it is old but because my GM gave it to me. When it becomes to the point of falling a part then I guess I need to test and recieve a new one. As far as uniform man they need to be clean at all times.
 

CoryKS

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
4,403
Reaction score
182
Location
Olathe, KS
Saw a lot of that in the Marines too. The old-style uniforms tended to show wear and fade after use, and the guys who had them before the new (at the time) uniforms came in continued to wear them in order to look more "salty".

IMO if you're going to wear a uniform, including belt, it should be immaculate and indistinguishable from all the other uniforms. Otherwise it's not a uniform, is it?
 

msmitht

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
836
Reaction score
66
Location
san diego
I personally have 4 belts that I wear depending on the occasion. If I am teaching then I wear a simple BB with name on 1 side and TKD on other side (Both in Korean). When I attend USAT/USTC events I wear a Plain BB. When I attend MDK events/seminars I wear the belt my late GM gave me that has a blue stripe running its length. And when I am teaching a seminar I wear a BB with 5 stripes on it so that I can avoid too many questions.
When they get old I will replace them all except for the one given by my late GM....it has sentimental value.
It is not the belt, it is the knowledge gained leading up to it and beyond that matters.
 

Omar B

Senior Master
Joined
Nov 6, 2007
Messages
3,687
Reaction score
85
Location
Queens, NY. Fort Lauderdale, FL
I've got a plain old black belt I bought at an online retailer. No dan stripes or anything that works fine. The ones I get from my Sensei are worn for official school functions and testings, otherwise, people know who I am and my dan grade so why bother wear out that nice belt I was given when I can beat the crap out of a cheap one.
 

Fiendlover

Black Belt
Joined
Feb 17, 2008
Messages
579
Reaction score
7
Location
C.A
I agree that a worn looking belt is ok because I see it as that's how many years he's trained and has worked hard. But a worn looking uniform is not good. I don't think that that shows proffesionalism at all and that he is just too lazy to get a new one.
 

jks9199

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2006
Messages
22,132
Reaction score
2,301
Location
Northern VA
I totally understand the attachment to old, ragged uniforms and belts. It's a sign that you have invested a lot of sweat and time into this pursuit.

Sometimes...

I gotta wonder about someone who's been a black belt less than half as long as I have -- yet has a very frayed belt... Much more so than my own.

The uniform and any gear should be clean and in good repair. The belt may be worn or frayed. It's sort of like a good tool; the time and years of use give it some character.
 

dbell

Blue Belt
Joined
Jun 17, 2009
Messages
294
Reaction score
6
Location
Ashland, KY
Dress and Appearance:

I see many Black Belts walking around wearing raggedy, old, frayed, faded Belts. Like it's a sign of their "years of training" or some badge of honor. I hear many people who think it's cool and means something. But I must be different because I think it is just plain dirty and cheap looking. I have always worn new, clean uniforms and belts. When they begin to wear out, or fade, I replace them. It's who I am. I wear nice clothes and keep my appearance neat and professional. When I walk into a dojang, with an Instructor who has on an old raggedy uniform and belt, the first thing that comes to my mind is "slob". Not "oh he trained a long time". I feel that an instructor should display pride and a image of professionalism through their teachings AND appearance. If a student sees his teacher wearing an old faded raggedy uniform and belt, they cannot be expected to keep a neat appearance. They are following the example.

I "retire" belts and uniforms when they need to be. I dont wear them when the collars are faded and frayed or my belt has begun to unravel and fall apart. When my Black Belt begins to look white in spots or begins fraying.... I replace it. I like my crisp, clean belts and uniforms. Knowledge is in my head... not my belt. So when you see me wearing a new looking uniform or belt, chances are it is. But thats me. Crisp and clean... (with no caffine).

Am I the only one who feels this way?

What image do you get when you see an instructor with an old frayed, faded belt?
I would have to agree that worn belt is not a good thing, but is not proper maintenance of your tools (holds gi shut, used for leverage (in throws), and shows position in school), which I read as not following your art well. It especially bothers me when I see a person in the arts for less than say 15 years, a 3rd Dan already, and with a frayed/white black belt. Makes me go "Hmmmm"...

Uniform and belt should both be clean, serviceable and of the right color for that school and rank. The old adage of "White belt turned black from use and black belt turned white from more use" doesn't cut it for me, and when I hear it, I loose a lot of respect for the speaker...
 

ACJ

Blue Belt
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Messages
223
Reaction score
5
I've had my black belt for about 5 years and you'd only know it's faded when you compare it with a fresh black belt, or look at my first dan stripe compared to my second dan stripe. And I'm pretty sure it will stay that way, usually a really faded belt either means they've had it a looooong time, or they don't treat it very well. I just make sure I put my belt away properly after using it.
Now I'm sure this will differ with grappling arts (I grapple but not with my belt on) as they're belts would seem to have more wear and tear inflicted on them.
 

NPTKD

Brown Belt
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
426
Reaction score
8
I personally have 4 belts that I wear depending on the occasion. If I am teaching then I wear a simple BB with name on 1 side and TKD on other side (Both in Korean). When I attend USAT/USTC events I wear a Plain BB. When I attend MDK events/seminars I wear the belt my late GM gave me that has a blue stripe running its length. And when I am teaching a seminar I wear a BB with 5 stripes on it so that I can avoid too many questions.
When they get old I will replace them all except for the one given by my late GM....it has sentimental value.
It is not the belt, it is the knowledge gained leading up to it and beyond that matters.

I have seven belts.. yes seven! My Monday belt says " I hate Mondays" on both side in Korean. My Tuesday belt is all black no strip or word. But it is a bit longer.. the reason is that After monday night football I feel alittle big in the belly from all the beer from the game the night before. My Wednesday belt is a red with three black strips.. I know, this is a JR. belt but at the middle of the week I feel that I'm not worthy of the rank I am and a lot of self dout sets in. But, But on Thursday I've turned around, my Thursday belt has all the bells and whistles.. Its kind of like batmans utitlity belt. It has gold letters, gold strips, Dragon and a snake wearing a vest on it! It a beauty... I only wear this on Thursdays because that is the day that it seems I get alot of traffic in the school. The ladies LOVE IT! Now my Friday belt is a peach colored with a solid yellow strip down the middle with my personal phone number in koreaa and english. Why this one you ask? Ladies night, ladies night! That takes me to my Saturday belt. This belt is the Granddaddy... It almost like my thursday but it have a cup holder, a slot for a pen and.. and a credit card swipe machine because this is "Testing day". Now Sunday, My last belt...All black on one side, brown when you turn it over. It does have a gold buckal. I have had to add a few hole over the last couple of years... it goes with everything! Man I love that belt the most!
 

Earl Weiss

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
3,149
Reaction score
600
I would have to agree that worn belt is not a good thing, but is not proper maintenance of your tools (holds gi shut, used for leverage (in throws), and shows position in school), which I read as not following your art well. ...

FWIW my classic instructors would correct us if we used the belt for throws . It was considered cheating due to the fact that the opponent may not be wearing a belt in SD.

Classes that were geared toward SD allowed belt grabbing. If it was available use it. So, in some systems grabbing the belt is a non no.
 

dbell

Blue Belt
Joined
Jun 17, 2009
Messages
294
Reaction score
6
Location
Ashland, KY
FWIW my classic instructors would correct us if we used the belt for throws . It was considered cheating due to the fact that the opponent may not be wearing a belt in SD.

Classes that were geared toward SD allowed belt grabbing. If it was available use it. So, in some systems grabbing the belt is a non no.

True, a belt may not be on a person in a real fight, but if they have a belt on, use it to your advantage. ;)
 

jim777

Master Black Belt
Joined
Jan 22, 2007
Messages
1,014
Reaction score
31
Location
Blackwood, New Jersey
I like the look of a graying at the edges blackbelt, I think its a good look for everyday use. As for uniforms, I like the look of bright white, pressed gis/doboks, at least at the beginning of class. I don't care what your gi looks like at the end of class :) I'm also one of those people who wears the full gi all the time, even in June/July when our school allows just the pants and a school t-shirt.
 

mwd0818

Green Belt
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
174
Reaction score
9
Location
Louisville, KY
Belt wear

Worn and frayed belt from use is a pseudo-badge, but like stripes on a belt, it better have the skill to back it up. My old instructor had one that was just "his" belt. He had others, but that was the one that meant something to him as his original Black Belt, etc. It was worn, tattered, and frayed, but honestly, it looked right. He had other belts that he'd wear for more formal occasions, but otherwise, it was just that one. When that finally fell apart, he had a student remake the belt by getting new black cloth to slip over it.

Uniform Wear

Ummm . . . . no . . . they're not that expensive!

Then again, American Kenpo is known for the stone-washed black/gray gis . . . so what do I know? :)
 

msmitht

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
836
Reaction score
66
Location
san diego
I have seven belts.. yes seven! My Monday belt says " I hate Mondays" on both side in Korean. My Tuesday belt is all black no strip or word. But it is a bit longer.. the reason is that After monday night football I feel alittle big in the belly from all the beer from the game the night before. My Wednesday belt is a red with three black strips.. I know, this is a JR. belt but at the middle of the week I feel that I'm not worthy of the rank I am and a lot of self dout sets in. But, But on Thursday I've turned around, my Thursday belt has all the bells and whistles.. Its kind of like batmans utitlity belt. It has gold letters, gold strips, Dragon and a snake wearing a vest on it! It a beauty... I only wear this on Thursdays because that is the day that it seems I get alot of traffic in the school. The ladies LOVE IT! Now my Friday belt is a peach colored with a solid yellow strip down the middle with my personal phone number in koreaa and english. Why this one you ask? Ladies night, ladies night! That takes me to my Saturday belt. This belt is the Granddaddy... It almost like my thursday but it have a cup holder, a slot for a pen and.. and a credit card swipe machine because this is "Testing day". Now Sunday, My last belt...All black on one side, brown when you turn it over. It does have a gold buckal. I have had to add a few hole over the last couple of years... it goes with everything! Man I love that belt the most!
Are you mocking my post or being serious? Just wondering
 
Top