What belt are you? Does it really matter? No. Ranking systems do have a purpose. It's like moving through grades in schools. Based on your level in the curriculum of your style, you receive a rank. Karate borrowed it's uniforms and belt colors from Judo. When Funakoshi brought Shotokan from Okinawa to Japan, he was sponsored by Kano (founder of Judo). Combat sports like boxing and kickboxing don't have belts systems. You are a novice in boxing when you start. After 10 bouts, you start competing in the open division where for your 15th fight you might fight an opponent who has 30 fights. So, you go through the learning curve and hone your skills. I'm not saying that belts are stupid and should be done away with. I want people to train for the sake of training and not focus on belts and focus on developing skills. I've taken kids to tournaments who were green and under and they've competed against kids who had black belt ranking (I mentioned in an earlier post that kids can't be black belts for real until 18 years old!). The difference in rank did not show when they fought. It might show in kata (forms) where the higher ranking student has learned more kata for their rank. But fighting comes down to mastering fundamentals and being willing to duke it out. That has nothing to do with rank. My idea of a black belt is being able to apply techniques under pressure. What I like about the knockdown style of karate (shidokan, kyokushin, etc.) is that they emphasize fighting whereas a lot of martial arts dwell in theory. So, we need to change the perception of belts. The black belt factories came about because of commercialism. Most can't defend themselves or fight their way out of a wet paper bag.
World Champion Richard Trammell shares his experiences, views and thoughts on fitness, martial arts and fighting.