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Colored Belts

Poster: Betty & David Eyer <Betty_and_David@compuserve.com>

Daffyd wrote:
I think coloured belts are largely a product of post-WWII commercial
expansion of oriental martial arts into the US market.

Close.   Actually, the colored belt system was created in Japan in the
begining of this century when the martial arts entered the school system. 
Prior to that it was all based on reputation and the approval and support
of recognized schools.   I do not know about Korean styles, but I imagine
that it is about the same.  In short, colored belts were designed to
motivate CHILDREN, and tests were timed to fit  into divisions of a school
year, thus the three and six month traditions of time in grade.   

The system was modified in the '60s and '70s when Japanese and Okinawan
instructors taught american servicemen during their short stay oversees. 
That modified version is the one brought to the US and then heavily
commercialized into the silliness we see today.  Some current oriental
systems, recognizing that adults are not very much motivated by these
ranking systems, have a three color system - teachers wear black, visitors
wear white and everyone else wears red, for instance.  High dan ranks are
supposed to indicate the structure of heirarchy in a style, but in reality,
the closest relatives of the deceased or retired master or his designate
usually take over modern styles.  

Magdalena de Hazebrouck
3rd Dan,  Orthodox Sakagawa Shorinji Ryu Karatedo
1st Dan, Shotokan Karatedo
unranked, Shoriji Kempo/Jui Jitsu
unranked, Ishinryu Karatedo/Aiki Jitus

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