What if the white belt replaced the black belt as the top belt?

R5ky

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What if the white belt took over as the top belt from the black belt?


As a black, your techniques would be considered dirty and disorganized, whereas as a white, it would represent that your techniques are considered polished and clean.
Would you be motivated in the same way?
 

Holmejr

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Yes, because I wouldnt know any other way. What would be after black? Brown?
 

skribs

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It might make sense in your school. However, one general piece of advice people give to new martial artists looking for a school is to see if the upper belts are better than the lower belts. If you see a school with a bunch of slop at black belt, and the white belts are beating them in sparring, it would probably turn folks away.
 

Gyakuto

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It might make sense in your school. However, one general piece of advice people give to new martial artists looking for a school is to see if the upper belts are better than the lower belts. If you see a school with a bunch of slop at black belt, and the white belts are beating them in sparring, it would probably turn folks away.
'Slop', however, can be difficult for the inexperienced to assess. When I swing my sword in a kata, newbies gasp in awe. When they then see my teacher doing the same kata after mine, they give me dirty looks!:(
:oops:
 

skribs

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'Slop', however, can be difficult for the inexperienced to assess. When I swing my sword in a kata, newbies gasp in awe. When they then see my teacher doing the same kata after mine, they give me dirty looks!:(
:oops:
That's why I said to compare the upper belts to the lower belts.
 

wab25

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That's why I said to compare the upper belts to the lower belts.
How do you know which are the upper belts and which are the lower belts? Every art, organization, school and club has their own set of colors, in their own order. Just because blue is above green in one art or school, does not mean that blue is above green in another art or school. Unless you know the order of colors in the school you are looking at... you would not know who is higher than who...

How does it work in a boxing gym or wrestling gym? They don't wear color belts. How do you know who is higher than who? How do the students know who they can pull rank on?

The only real change if you started at black belt and worked to white belt... would be that when you get a new student, you have to open his gi and replace the white belt that it comes with for a black belt. Sure, it would be weird for a bit... but then training would continue.

The Aikido school I train with uses color belts... but after putting on their belt, they put on their hakama... and you can't see the belt color or even if they bothered to put the belt on. Their training seems unaffected...
 

Gyakuto

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How do you know which are the upper belts and which are the lower belts? Every art, organization, school and club has their own set of colors, in their own order. Just because blue is above green in one art or school, does not mean that blue is above green in another art or school. Unless you know the order of colors in the school you are looking at... you would not know who is higher than who...

How does it work in a boxing gym or wrestling gym? They don't wear color belts. How do you know who is higher than who? How do the students know who they can pull rank on?

The only real change if you started at black belt and worked to white belt... would be that when you get a new student, you have to open his gi and replace the white belt that it comes with for a black belt. Sure, it would be weird for a bit... but then training would continue.

The Aikido school I train with uses color belts... but after putting on their belt, they put on their hakama... and you can't see the belt color or even if they bothered to put the belt on. Their training seems unaffected...
A point I tried to make some time ago!
 

Dirty Dog

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What if the white belt took over as the top belt from the black belt?


As a black, your techniques would be considered dirty and disorganized, whereas as a white, it would represent that your techniques are considered polished and clean.
Would you be motivated in the same way?
Being motivated by a belt is a very superficial and noob thing.
 

Gyakuto

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Being motivated by a belt is a very superficial and noob thing.
And yet, even advanced students (age- and grade-wise) are motivated by them. Get rid of them, I say...they're for show offs, especially all those yellow stripes at the end!
 

Oily Dragon

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Monkey Turned Wolf

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Belt's serve a few specific purposes, almost all for people outside of the one who has the belt. They help new students know who to look to for advice (and who not to), let larger organizations know at a glance where a student is in their training, and help from a high-level organizational/curriculum creating/managing standpoint.

For the individual their pretty meaningless, beyond an indicator that you're improving (or not improving) and something you need in certain styles to learn new material or teach. So for that purpose I can see the motivation, and in those instances the color doesn't matter any more than if it were a certificate rather than a belt. So no, nothing would change if white was black and black was white.

As a side note, this is also why I find it weird when places charge for belt testing (beyond the physical price of the belt). It's much more beneficial for the school/instructors for you to buy into the belt thing than it is for the student, and yet the student's the one that has to pay for it. My second school was like that (my first two, but I was too young to know better), and I told them pretty directly that I'm here to train, I don't care about testing so if they want to change my rank that's fine but I'm not paying extra or taking off work to test for it. Eventually they just gave me my new belt :cool:
 

skribs

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How do you know which are the upper belts and which are the lower belts? Every art, organization, school and club has their own set of colors, in their own order. Just because blue is above green in one art or school, does not mean that blue is above green in another art or school. Unless you know the order of colors in the school you are looking at... you would not know who is higher than who...
It's obviously not universal. Most people know that white belts are beginners, black belts are advanced, and colored belts are somewhere in between. There are a few exceptions (looking at you, BJJ red belts), but that's generally how things go.

It's also not about "make sure the 3rd keub students are better than 4th keub students". Rather, it is to make sure that the colored belts look better than white belts, and the black belts look better than the colored belts.

This advice doesn't work if you can't see the ranks, but that's a bit of a different discussion. If you can see the ranks, then people will judge the school based on their preconceived notions that white belt = beginner and black belt = expert.
 

Dirty Dog

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And yet, even advanced students (age- and grade-wise) are motivated by them. Get rid of them, I say...they're for show offs, especially all those yellow stripes at the end!
Some advanced students (age- and grade-wise) are superficial. I don't know very many high Dan holders (if any - I have not discussed this topic with all) who are motivated by belts. Belts serve a purpose, but once past the lower levels, motivation is not high on the list.

I have lots of belts with yellow stripes. They're like ties. I wear them to be dressy and fancy. They're not a day-to-day thing.
 

Dirty Dog

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Why do you give students new belts?
Because new students are superficial. Along with how to apply the techniques they learn, they are taught that the belt is not important. The knowledge it represents, yes, but the belt? Not so much.

I have visited new schools and worn a white belt. I don't think anybody believed I had no idea what I was doing.
 

skribs

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Some advanced students (age- and grade-wise) are superficial. I don't know very many high Dan holders (if any - I have not discussed this topic with all) who are motivated by belts. Belts serve a purpose, but once past the lower levels, motivation is not high on the list.
I could be mistaken, but I don't think that many folks gatekeep techniques or privileges at higher dan ranks. I'm not aware of very many differences between a 7th and 8th Dan in Taekwondo, for example.

There are many cases in which things are held back. Sometimes it's to protect the student from overstimulation when they're already overloaded with information. Sometimes it's to reward higher belts with more advanced technique. Sometimes it's just to create mysticism and hierarchy.

In Taekwondo, many schools are going to teach you basic kicks at white belt, and probably not show things like tornado kicks or spinning hook kicks until upper belts. Most of the time, you're going to have to pass a test to learn the next set of forms. Schools and organizations have requirements on what level you need to be in order to have leadership roles. With one exception (me) you had to be at least a 1st keub to assist with classes at my school. You need to be 4th dan and have an extra certificate to promote your own students.

My pursuit of 4th dan was not because I wanted a 4th dan and to be called "Master". It was because I wanted to be able to open my own school and function with relative autonomy. And even after that, there is another goal that gets presented. To be 5th dan would mean I could promote to 4th dan, and allow one of my students to reach that same goal of being able to open their own school and teach their own students. To be 6th dan, I could promote someone to the level that they could do that.

The belt is the goal, but that's because the organization makes it a requirement in order to achieve other goals. When belts are a prerequisite for technical advancement or privilege, then pursuit of belts in effort to achieve that advancement or be granted that privilege is not superficial.
Because new students are superficial. Along with how to apply the techniques they learn, they are taught that the belt is not important. The knowledge it represents, yes, but the belt? Not so much.
So why not have a system without belts? New students go into boxing or wrestling without expectation of a belt. Why don't you adopt that philosophy?
 

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