Fight.TV and Wayofmartialarts.com are bringing you a curation of views on the state of martial arts today on this blog post. What better way to discuss the way of martial arts, than to talk about the belt system.
Martial arts belt systems are derived from in East Asia and most commonly assosciated with ancient china. Although many argue it wasn't karate but Judo or Taekwondo that set the pace with the belt system. Regardless, today we know there's a belt system for almost every martial art from jiujitsu to karate.
You always start with a white belt because traditionally, that's a new belt. As the O.G's would train, their belt would change color. It would go from white to yellow, then turn green after months and years of training. After about a decade, your once white belt would now be some shade of brown or black. Hence, black belts. Back in the day if you saw a dude with a black belt, it was the equivalent of cauliflower ears. A warning sign of consistent grind in the art of whooping butt.
Now a days, belts come a little easier. You actually get them in the color of your martial arts rank by testing or proving yourself to your teacher instead of like just sweating on it for 10 years. Imagine what a real black belt must have smelt like. Probably a highschool football locker room x 100.
Many people are concerned with the direction of belt systems today. As martial arts studios are being dubbed "mc-dojo's" for doing things like giving away black belts in a year or allowing 9 year olds to earn black belts. Gracie Jiujitsu has come under scrutiny in the BJJ community because of their online video jiujitsu program where you can earn your belts by sending them videos of you reciting submissions, escapes, over videofeed to send back to them after watching their instructional videos.
Nothin is worse than going into a gym and rolling with a guy who calls himself a black belt and knowing the guy is fudging it. It's rare but it happens and there's instructors out there who aren't the rank they claim to be.
Martial arts is a diverse field of people from all walks of life. Traditionally the way is to earn your spot through consistent effort and grinding. Putting in those hours. To those who have done that, it's very disheartening to see belts given away. Watering down the community. Other don't see it as much of an issue.
What do you think? Should our belt systems revert to the old days of letting it change color on it's own? Can we balance a modern system that has clean new belts but still makes you earn them? Can children really earn the title of blackbelt? Share and let us know what you think!