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Cezar Tipa
02-05-2011, 02:25 PM
Few years ago I participated at an international stage. In that time I was 1 kyu and accordingly with our Iwama's school regulation I was wearing an white belt. We were practicing jo suburi and a guy near me wearing a brown belt was doing very bad, pushing the jo without sliding but just gripping it very tight and moving it like pile driver. I told him in a polite tone that he is doing it in a wrong way. He looked at my belt and says " who the fuck do you think you are, a sensei??"

gregstec
02-05-2011, 06:26 PM
Few years ago I participated at an international stage. In that time I was 1 kyu and accordingly with our Iwama's school regulation I was wearing an white belt. We were practicing jo suburi and a guy near me wearing a brown belt was doing very bad, pushing the jo without sliding but just gripping it very tight and moving it like pile driver. I told him in a polite tone that he is doing it in a wrong way. He looked at my belt and says " who the fuck do you think you are, a sensei??"

A good example of belt blindness and too much ego - very sad, but it is everywhere to some extent.

Greg

Janet Rosen
02-05-2011, 10:28 PM
On the other hand....Regardless of belt color, I don't know that at a large seminar working on solo weapons I'd be very open to a stranger telling me I'm doing things all wrong...

raul rodrigo
02-05-2011, 10:55 PM
He didn't ask for help or feedback, so in your shoes, I wouldn't have offered any.

RAUL

guest1234567
02-06-2011, 03:11 AM
I think the only one who should correct anyone is the sensei.

Hellis
02-06-2011, 04:13 AM
No matter how well meant, it is not a good idea to correct a stranger on the mat...Many students go to a seminar to `see` something different, most have a mindset " thats not how we do it"...
It is wise to just let them `do` what they do, unless they ask.

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/

ChrisHein
02-06-2011, 10:56 AM
On the other hand....Regardless of belt color, I don't know that at a large seminar working on solo weapons I'd be very open to a stranger telling me I'm doing things all wrong...

Me either.

Belt color is kind of nice when you are a beginner and looking for someone better than you to train with. That guy was a brown belt, likely the same or close to the same rank as you at 1st kyu. If he didn't ask, I wouldn't tell, if I were you.

I've often thought about adding blue and brown belts to our class ranking. But it's not really that important. It kind of makes students feel good, kind of helps new people judge who has a more informed opinion, but I also think colored belts are kind of silly.

Keith Larman
02-06-2011, 11:09 AM
I was helping teach a seminar and we had a student from our style but out of state attending. She was clearly not liking some stuff we were doing. Eventually she tells me that the way we were using the jo wasn't the same as Shindo Muso Ryu jodo. My response was "That's good to know so the next time I'm training at a Shindo Muso Ryu dojo I'll be sure to do it the way they do it."

Marie Noelle Fequiere
02-07-2011, 01:35 PM
The guy was definitely rude. You do not talk like that to anyone, regardless of rank.
Still, he mistook you for a novice, that was not his fault.
As for offering advice to a higher ranked student - in the other guy's mind, this is what was happening, I suggest that you visit another thread called: Training With Others. It's in the "General" category.
Did you say that it happened a few years ago? Awww, come on, let go of it.;)

Janet Rosen
02-07-2011, 04:00 PM
I've often thought about adding blue and brown belts to our class ranking. But it's not really that important. It kind of makes students feel good, kind of helps new people judge who has a more informed opinion, but I also think colored belts are kind of silly.

I've been a member of dojos that did the colored belt thing and dojos that didn't. I understand awarding colored belts in kids classes but overall I tend to go with the KISS principle when possible and would prefer the white-until-black.

Janet Rosen
02-07-2011, 04:01 PM
Eventually she tells me that the way we were using the jo wasn't the same as Shindo Muso Ryu jodo. My response was "That's good to know so the next time I'm training at a Shindo Muso Ryu dojo I'll be sure to do it the way they do it."

:D

Shadowfax
02-07-2011, 04:56 PM
I've been a member of dojos that did the colored belt thing and dojos that didn't. I understand awarding colored belts in kids classes but overall I tend to go with the KISS principle when possible and would prefer the white-until-black.

I kinda like that my dojo does white, brown and black. I think the brown belt at least gives you a better idea how far along a kyu ranked person is. Helps me know how to adjust my intensity. ;) Not into rainbow colors and I certainly don't think that coping an attitude on someone at a seminar, who gives advice is wise. You never know just who you are training with. For instance suppose some yundasha forgot his belt and is wearing a white on loan for a day?

I hope I don't develop such an arrogant attitude as I progress. I'm all for the, nod and smile and either try out their suggestion or just keep doing what I'm doing until sensei comes to correct whichever of us is wrong. :)

ninjaqutie
02-07-2011, 05:58 PM
We were practicing jo suburi and a guy near me wearing a brown belt was doing very bad, pushing the jo without sliding but just gripping it very tight and moving it like pile driver. I told him in a polite tone that he is doing it in a wrong way. He looked at my belt and says " who the fuck do you think you are, a sensei??"

1.) Maybe he was having an off day
2.) Maybe what he was doing was new to him (not everyone does weapon work the same way- even in the same affiliation)
3.) I wouldn't have said anything. I just would have let him do his thing and I would have done my thing. At the last seminar I attented, I wasn't sure of who was senior to me and there were times my partner was doing something wrong or insisting I do it wrong and I either said "Lets watch another group for a sec." or just kept doing it wrong until the sensei came around and corrected us. I didn't feel like it was my place to correct them because I had no idea where they stood in their training. Sure, I looked like I didn't know what I was doing, but I would rather that then put my foot in my mouth.
4.) If this happened a few years ago, why are you bring this up now?

lbb
02-08-2011, 08:18 AM
I think that in most cases, colored belts cause more problems than they solve. But then, you can argue that the same is true with white and black belts, I suppose.

David Board
02-08-2011, 11:32 AM
1.) Maybe he was having an off day
2.) Maybe what he was doing was new to him (not everyone does weapon work the same way- even in the same affiliation)
3.) I wouldn't have said anything. I just would have let him do his thing and I would have done my thing. At the last seminar I attented, I wasn't sure of who was senior to me and there were times my partner was doing something wrong or insisting I do it wrong and I either said "Lets watch another group for a sec." or just kept doing it wrong until the sensei came around and corrected us. I didn't feel like it was my place to correct them because I had no idea where they stood in their training. Sure, I looked like I didn't know what I was doing, but I would rather that then put my foot in my mouth.
4.) If this happened a few years ago, why are you bring this up now?

It can be rather amusing to watch this turn into a game of Aikido Telephone.

I wonder if you could incorperate that into a learning game for youth programs with the story line that everyone has the responsibility to watch Sensie when learning a technique. Hmm, might take some tweaking.

Keith Larman
02-08-2011, 11:40 AM
:D

FWIW the student didn't catch on to the underlying irony. I eventually suggested she just might want to humor the Shihan and do what he was teaching.

Nothing more entertaining than enthusiastic mudansha who read a lot...

Belt color has nothing to do with any of this. It is simple politeness and common sense. Those two things are not affected by the color of the best worn.

Mark Freeman
02-08-2011, 12:58 PM
I think that in most cases, colored belts cause more problems than they solve. But then, you can argue that the same is true with white and black belts, I suppose.

Mary, I hereby award you with a neutral coloured belt, voila! no problems:D

Chris Farnham
02-09-2011, 01:09 AM
Within the Aikikai in Japan it seems pretty universal that 3rd and under wear white belts and 2nd and 1st wear brown, but some dojos seem to do it differently.

I am an Ikkyu but I wear white because I tested for Ikkyu through the USAF where all non yudansha wear white. I have had seniors tell me I could wear a brown belt if I'd like, but I feel like there's no point. My "white" belt with it's sweat stains, and flecks of brown and black has been with me from day one, and serves as a testament to my training. Besides, my white belt provides me with endless entertainment. I train at a number of dojos as a guest and I laugh every time a new nikkyu with a shiny new brown belt, who has been training for about three years, treats me like a beginner when I have trained almost as long as many of the nidan in his or her dojo. It usually takes five minutes before they realize that the color of the belt means nothing. I've also trained with people wearing white belts who I later found were nidan or sandan from non affiliated dojos. It didn't take me long to realize they had weren't beginners. Again, regardless of belt color, a person's ability becomes pretty clear once you lay hands on them.

Peter Goldsbury
02-09-2011, 01:50 AM
Within the Aikikai in Japan it seems pretty universal that 3rd and under wear white belts and 2nd and 1st wear brown, but some dojos seem to do it differently.

Hello Chris,

This might be true in university clubs, but I have not yet come across this in non-university dojos.

Best wishes,

PAG

raul rodrigo
02-09-2011, 09:50 AM
Hello Chris,

This might be true in university clubs, but I have not yet come across this in non-university dojos.

Best wishes,

PAG

Chris, I didn't happen to encounter a single brown belt during the week I trained in Hombu dojo. Only white belts and people in hakamas.

Ketsan
02-09-2011, 11:10 AM
Few years ago I participated at an international stage. In that time I was 1 kyu and accordingly with our Iwama's school regulation I was wearing an white belt. We were practicing jo suburi and a guy near me wearing a brown belt was doing very bad, pushing the jo without sliding but just gripping it very tight and moving it like pile driver. I told him in a polite tone that he is doing it in a wrong way. He looked at my belt and says " who the fuck do you think you are, a sensei??"

Oh the stories:

Beginner: "Oh good, we're all beginners, here. How many weeks have you been training?"
Me: "About seven years."

My mate, a Karate instructor: "Where's your belt?"
Me: "I'm wearing it"
Mate: "No, your brown belt"
Me: "I don't have a brown belt; there are only white and black belts in Aikido."
Mate: "Why's that?"
Me: "In okinawa belt mean no need rope hold up pants"

Beginner to me: "I don't take instructions from white belts"
Sensei: "You take instructions from 1st kyus"

Beginner: "Eight years and you're STILL a white belt?"

Me: "Actually I should take black belt next year......."
Beginner: "But you're a white belt?"
Mate: "He's a fast learner."

phitruong
02-09-2011, 12:02 PM
Endo sensei walked on the mat wearing a brand new gi and white belt with no hakama. he said (through interpreter) "i know a bit about aikido. i'll show you what i know." (his luggage didn't make it in time for the seminar). visitors were quite amazed that a while belt threw a bunch of black belts around like they were nothing. :)

ninjaqutie
02-09-2011, 05:51 PM
Hehe.... thanks for the humor Alex and Phi.

Phil Van Treese
02-11-2011, 03:04 PM
Had someone talked to me on the mat like I just read, he'd be out that door amazingly fast. There is no room to be rude or just plain stupid. If you are not doing it correctly and there is someone who knows how to do the technique, regardless of rank, so what if he offers a correction??? When it gets to the point that "rank" dictates who can correct someone, then we all need to wear white belts. But "asking" someone "who the f**k are you" when help was offered is the fastest way to get throttled and put out of my dojo. No room for that garbage.

Stephen Fasen
02-11-2011, 05:03 PM
Shoshin... heart of the beginner or mind of the beginner it is the foundation. Unfortunately everyone wants to be Sensei and there is always a "right way" to do things. Last time I checked however, the job of helping a student to a more efficient technical expression was the job of the designated instructor. If help is requested when that person is not aware... it should be honored and humbly offered. But, the instructor should be aware. If it is not requested (by someone doing something "incorrectly"), and they are only putting their own progress in jeopardy, it should not be "offered" unless you are the designated instructor. If they are putting someone in jeopardy... then it should be offered respectfully, immediately and then brought to the instructors attention. The confrontational language is never appropriate, but rude is as rude gets. Ignoring that stuff is far more effective. Too bad this crap is even an issue where a common goal is involved.:rolleyes:

Amassus
02-11-2011, 08:09 PM
My club uses coloured belts, it is UNCOMMON but practiced by other clubs in NZ. It's up to the individual what you make of it.

I was a green belt when I visited another aikido dojo once, one of the partners I trained with asked if I practiced karate. (this club only had the white-brown-black system). Its all assumptions based on what you know.

*shrug* everyone knows that if you train long enough, belt colour means zip. The comments you get about belt colour usually come from newbies or those of ignorance.

Keep on keeping on ;)

As for the original post, better to just get on with your own training, but yeah, if someone tries to give you help you don't want, at least be polite in your response.

Dean.

Insane Duane
02-12-2011, 09:02 PM
We use colored belts at my dojo starting at 7th kyu (yellow). 2nd & 1st are brown. I think it helps in the beginning to get newbies motivated. After a while it doesn't really mean much but it does make a good motivational tool in the beginning.

As far as the A hole asking you if you are a fucking sensei...LOL, wow, bad attitude, just broke up with his significant other, who knows. Impolite and disrespectful? Sure. Worth loosing sleep over? No. I would just assume he was in a bad place at the time and let it go. If he was at my dojo then that would be a different story. Since it was at a seminar I would just let it go.

osaya
02-17-2011, 02:44 AM
from what i've heard, this issue doesn't just stop with coloured belts. i've heard a couple of yudansha complaining about how other less experienced and/or lower ranking yudansha telling them how to (wrongly even?) do a technique at seminars (where they don't know each other).

that said, i think the issue is more about etiquette and ego - both which do not stop at coloured belts, or indeed aikido.

as to the original question about the importance of belt colour; well, it's as important as you want it to be i guess.

Hellis
02-17-2011, 04:10 AM
The following is an extract from a short article I wrote a few years ago on the subject of coloured belts.

The Origins of the Coloured Belt System ~ UK

The origins of the coloured belt system are discussed on most martial arts forums from time to time. Whilst there are some serious and honest debate, I am often amazed at some of the wild and stupid replies that many forum contributors add. Some claim, the colours are an ego trip for the student. How can it be an ego trip ?, if you join a dojo and that is their method of grading, as it still is my own organisation. We are teaching Traditional Aikido, and the coloured belt system is a part of that tradition of early UK Aikido. When you join a dojo, you either follow their system, be it coloured belts or not, or move on, there is no choice.
I first started Judo in 1956 at the ` Abbe School of Budo ` which is the now known as the Hut Dojo. The coloured belt system was an integral part of the then grading system, as introduced and recognised by Kenshiro Abbe himself. The following year 1957, I joined the small Aikido group at the Hut Dojo, the gradings were carried out with the same colour system as the Judo, once again with the approval of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei. Aikido had started at the Hut Dojo. Which was the birth place of British Aikido. With the spread of Aikido throughout the UK with the only eight Aikido dan grades in the UK, all based at the Hut Dojo, and as Aikido spread, so followed the coloured belt grading system. Every `single` Aikido dojo in the UK in those early years were graded in this way. If for example a student had come into the dojo and stated that he or she did not like the coloured belt system, they would have found the exit faster than they had found the entrance. on yer bike.
As I stated at the beginning of this article, I do not know the true origins of the belt system internationally, there are so many variations, all I know is from my own experiences from the early days of Martial Arts in the UK.

In those early days money was scarce, a student would not do as they do today, go and buy a new coloured belt after each grading. The sequence of colours were arranged so that the white belt could be dyed to yellow, and so on and on. I should add that with the dyeing there were some really weird shades of the colour system.
The first belt or grade was 6th Kyu = white belt - 5th Kyu = yellow belt - 4th Kyu = orange belt - 3rd Kyu = green belt - 2nd Kyu = blue belt - 1st Kyu = brown belt - 1st dan = black belt.
Junior gradings followed with the same colours but with the mon system of grading with stripes in an effort to spread the gradings over a longer period, If a junior was for example a 5th kyu – yellow belt, after grading he would receive a mon or orange stripe, after four stripes he would eventually receive a full orange belt. The highest grade a junior could reach would be 1st Kyu 3 black stripes or mons. When a junior of this grade became a senior at sixteen he would receive a senior 3rd Kyu – green belt, and then work his way up the senior rankings. No junior could ever be graded to first dan. I have never agreed with juniors being graded to dan grade. It is now so common place to see newspapers with a page headline “ 7 year old Boris is the youngest black belt in the UK “ we soon see another headline `OH No he’s not !! ` “ 6 year old Mabel is the youngest dan grade in the UK “. I personally consider this form of publicity irresponsible by the instructor of the child. I also consider this to be a form of child abuse. Boris and Mabel will be the target of every hard nose kid at school. I know from my own school days, there would be a long queue to level Boris.

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/

Mark Freeman
02-17-2011, 09:47 AM
No junior could ever be graded to first dan. I have never agreed with juniors being graded to dan grade.

Hi Henry,

you'll be happy to know that tradition is still alive and well with us.

I have a lad going for his 1st Dan grading next Saturday. He started with me just before his 8th birthday and he will be 18 in a couple of months time. He has done every stripe on every belt, so has experienced more gradings than any one I know.

I'm expecting him to pass! :)

thanks for the background history. I did judo in the 1960's as a kid so was subject to the 'mon' system. Unfortunately I hit the max number of mons too young and could not enter the 'coloured belt' system until I reached 16, so I sort of lost motivation. A shame because I was good at what I was doing.

regards

Mark

Hellis
02-17-2011, 04:17 PM
Hi Henry,

you'll be happy to know that tradition is still alive and well with us.

I have a lad going for his 1st Dan grading next Saturday. He started with me just before his 8th birthday and he will be 18 in a couple of months time. He has done every stripe on every belt, so has experienced more gradings than any one I know.

I'm expecting him to pass! :)
Mark


Mark
thanks for the background history. I did judo in the 1960's as a kid so was subject to the 'mon' system. Unfortunately I hit the max number of mons too young and could not enter the 'coloured belt' system until I reached 16, so I sort of lost motivation. A shame because I was good at what I was doing.

regards

Mark

Hi Henry,

you'll be happy to know that tradition is still alive and well with us.
Mark

I am very pleased to hear that . The one treasured thing that Abbe Sensei left his old students with, was a sense of loyalty and friendship. All the old Hut dan grades are still connected in some way, I receive many emails from old Judoka of SenseiAbbe.
Some with old photos or films of Abbe Sensei.

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/

Tibokio
06-14-2011, 02:31 PM
In our Dojo, we just have white and black belts.

Wether you are 6th kyu, or 1th kyu, it doesn't matter, you wear a white belt in our Dojo. I think it's a good thing, because, what does the colour of your belt matter, really? Would it improve your skills? I think this method is used in almost all Dojos here in Belgium, but I'm not sure though.

Anyways, just my opinion on the colour of belts.

Also, I thought that coloured belts were only employed in the kids department in Japan, no? :)

Tony Wagstaffe
06-14-2011, 02:42 PM
Few years ago I participated at an international stage. In that time I was 1 kyu and accordingly with our Iwama's school regulation I was wearing an white belt. We were practicing jo suburi and a guy near me wearing a brown belt was doing very bad, pushing the jo without sliding but just gripping it very tight and moving it like pile driver. I told him in a polite tone that he is doing it in a wrong way. He looked at my belt and says " who the fuck do you think you are, a sensei??"

:D I would have asked him if he was having trouble, if no let him carry on.....

Tony Wagstaffe
06-14-2011, 03:10 PM
Hi Henry,

you'll be happy to know that tradition is still alive and well with us.
Mark

I am very pleased to hear that . The one treasured thing that Abbe Sensei left his old students with, was a sense of loyalty and friendship. All the old Hut dan grades are still connected in some way, I receive many emails from old Judoka of SenseiAbbe.
Some with old photos or films of Abbe Sensei.

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/

Same here Sensei as you may probably know from my history page....

If I/we or my old students visited another dojo or organisation, we would always wear white belts, unless instructed by the sensei of that dojo otherwise.... It has the power to stop accidents happening to, as it served as indicator of someone's level and what they were capable of receiving, but as you know that is not always the case......

Adam Huss
06-14-2011, 03:33 PM
Same here Sensei as you may probably know from my history page....

If I/we or my old students visited another dojo or organisation, we would always wear white belts, unless instructed by the sensei of that dojo otherwise.... It has the power to stop accidents happening to, as it served as indicator of someone's level and what they were capable of receiving, but as you know that is not always the case......

I adhere to the same practice as well. I also do it at my own dojo when attending classes of martial arts I don't normally train in.

dapidmini
08-23-2011, 10:54 AM
I've recently learned to only offer help/instructions when I have a leverage such as belt color.. it's like a badge of authority for some people. :rolleyes:

Adam Huss
08-25-2011, 04:52 PM
Some people are uncomfortable with receiving instruction. At least at your home dojo, you can assess which students are open to suggestion and comment. I always phrase it from the point of view of what I am feeling as uke...and make suggestions that "hey, that feels great, but i think if you pushed a little further this way it would drop me straight to the basement!" ...or something like that. Some people don't like suggestions even that way...so I don't provide any to them unless asked for. When the same happens to me, I always try to listen to the person giving me advice, even if they are junior, or maybe do not put as much effort and sacrifice intor their training as I do...I feel you can always learn; whether its how/why to do something or how/why not to do something. I feel most people offering suggestion have the best of intentions, my encounters with people just wanting to hear themselves talk, or seeking to make themselves feel relevant...that's a bit of a rareity, and it saddens me when I encounter it.

robin_jet_alt
08-26-2011, 01:52 AM
Same here Sensei as you may probably know from my history page....

If I/we or my old students visited another dojo or organisation, we would always wear white belts, unless instructed by the sensei of that dojo otherwise.... It has the power to stop accidents happening to, as it served as indicator of someone's level and what they were capable of receiving, but as you know that is not always the case......

This is an interesting tactic. I can definitely see the advantages, especially if a group of people do it. I have a friend who got his black belt and asked is sensei if he could wear his old white belt when attending a seminar because he was not confident with his ukemi. His sensei refused. He said that it was disrespectful to the sensei not to show the rank that he had earned. This situation would be avoided if his dojo did the same as yours does.

When I got my black belt, my sensei had a bit of a talk with me about how wearing a black belt when training with people from other dojos is like having a target painted on you. He said he wanted to be absolutely sure that I could handle whatever sort of ukemi was necessary before he put me in that position. I guess this is another way to address the same problem.

ryback
08-27-2011, 06:32 AM
Few years ago I participated at an international stage. In that time I was 1 kyu and accordingly with our Iwama's school regulation I was wearing an white belt. We were practicing jo suburi and a guy near me wearing a brown belt was doing very bad, pushing the jo without sliding but just gripping it very tight and moving it like pile driver. I told him in a polite tone that he is doing it in a wrong way. He looked at my belt and says " who the fuck do you think you are, a sensei??"

In my opinion, belt colour has no actual importance, level of technique executing ability has! The guy you mentioned was obviously an impolite person with no manners and a huge ignorance of etiquette. But in a real fight, where it really counts, verbal offence won't help him. Or the colour of his belt for that matter...

Lyle Laizure
08-27-2011, 10:28 AM
The color of the belt isn't the problem. The problem lies directly with the person wearing the belt. From day one we are taught, as I am sure in every other martial art, to be humble, to lose our ego. It shouldn't matter if the person is sempai or kohai, if they are offering information that you don't want to accept simply smile and nod or move away from that person. Personally, if I am at a seminar and I am offered input by anyone I listen. I give the person sharing the information the respect due another human being. I can't stress enough that it isn't the colored belt or the lack of a colored belt, nor is it about rank.

We as a whole are failing for two reasons. The first is that we aren't practicing what our sensei teach us. that is to be humble. The second is that there are a multitude of instructors out there that lead by the wrong example. It is sickening.

cguzik
08-27-2011, 11:35 AM
I've said it before and I will say it again:

My wife tells me the color of my belt should match my shoes, and I take off my shoes when I enter the dojo.

matty_mojo911
08-28-2011, 05:11 PM
What some of you have missed is this - having belts (white/yellow/green etc..etc..) can help maintain some students as it rewards progress.
But in Aikido it seems to be an issue due to the natural of Aikido - togeetherness and the like. We should all blend and not be above each other so the blet "system" and Aikido seem to clash.
Also, and I believe this to be very important is there is probably (in the eyes of someone whose been around a while) little difference between a blue belt and a blue belt with two green stripes, if you do that sort of thing - so I'm saying that belts, if you have them need to have real value.

In BJJ for instance we start at white, move to blue, purple, brown and black. Think of this - a BJJ Blue belt is a proverabial light year better than a white belt, it is a measurable and extremly tangible thing, the first step to blue is huge and they will make absolute mince meat of a white belt, but they are no match for a purple belt. Achieveing a brown belt is considered a remarkable feat, and I can say that of the 130 students at our BJJ club almost all of them would see a black belt as unatainable. A belt system can work well, if there is real value in the belt.

Having said all this I don't like it in Aikido as it clashes with the philosophy of it all, brown belts are fine, but under that just be happy to train.

graham christian
08-28-2011, 05:34 PM
Nice points by Matt and Lyle.

Belts are a validation of achievement. As are any exam certificates or marks or even tattoos of the yakuza.

In Aikido, and I would say in life also really, a validation or reward should be cherished by the receiver, it's a personal thing. It's for self not for some arrogant identity.

So if you have a belt that you have earned you should wear it with pride as a matter of honour. This shouldn't be used to mean or show you are better than or superior to. It means you're just more able to help.

Regards.G.

Lyle Laizure
08-31-2011, 01:05 AM
What some of you have missed is this - having belts (white/yellow/green etc..etc..) can help maintain some students as it rewards progress.


As a retention tool for a children's class but not so much for an adult class.

A belt system can work well, if there is real value in the belt.


Quantifying the value placed upon the belt is the problem. Qualifying the value based on technique alone is inadequate as well as qualifying the value on a student's character alone. But this is more specifically related to rank in general, whether there is a colored belt involved or not.

Randy Sexton
08-31-2011, 08:15 AM
As I advance in Aikido I am finding that I am less and less inclined to offer suggestions or corrections unless I am asked. As a doctor I have been a lifelong student and have been a teacher of medical students and residents for years and it becomes a bad habit.

With my friends at the dojo we offer feedback to each other but only if we know the person wants it and is open to it. Our Sensei encourages us to just do the technique the best we know how and let the person learn by feeling our technique and how we take our Ukemi.

I really am working on shutting the hell up and not be rude enough to "correct" amyone else. I am really trying hard to keep a benginner's mind to learn from anyone and offer suggestions only when asked and "teach" only by doing the technique and Ukemi the best I know how.

To those whom I have offered unsolicited suggestions forgive my arrogance. To those whom I have given bad suggestions I am sorry. To those whom I have given good advice who did not want it I am really sorry. To those whom I have given good advice who wanted it I apologize for not letting you learn it from experience and allow you the opportunity to "steal it" from the instructor on your own. It would mean more to you and allowed you to experience the thrill of those wonderful moments of enlightenment.

With my apologies,
Doc Sexton

Tim Ruijs
08-31-2011, 08:38 AM
As I advance in Aikido I am finding that I am less and less inclined to offer suggestions or corrections unless I am asked. As a doctor I have been a lifelong student and have been a teacher of medical students and residents for years and it becomes a bad habit.

With my friends at the dojo we offer feedback to each other but only if we know the person wants it and is open to it. Our Sensei encourages us to just do the technique the best we know how and let the person learn by feeling our technique and how we take our Ukemi.

I really am working on shutting the hell up and not be rude enough to "correct" amyone else. I am really trying hard to keep a benginner's mind to learn from anyone and offer suggestions only when asked and "teach" only by doing the technique and Ukemi the best I know how.

To those whom I have offered unsolicited suggestions forgive my arrogance. To those whom I have given bad suggestions I am sorry. To those whom I have given good advice who did not want it I am really sorry. To those whom I have given good advice who wanted it I apologize for ...



...not letting you learn it from experience and allow you the opportunity to "steal it" from the instructor on your own. It would mean more to you and allowed you to experience the thrill of those wonderful moments of enlightenment.


Only recently I came to realise the importance of learning this way. It is something I will need to work on as a teacher to allow my students to work even more autonomously. Thanx! :)

matty_mojo911
08-31-2011, 08:27 PM
Quantifying the value placed upon the belt is the problem. Qualifying the value based on technique alone is inadequate as well as qualifying the value on a student's character alone. But this is more specifically related to rank in general, whether there is a colored belt involved or not.

Nice. But what I was trying to say, poorly perhaps, was that in BJJ blets have "real value" because people see them as having real value. A white belt looks at a blue belt somewhat in awe, and rightly so. This is a belt that has value.

A white belt might well know all the techniques a blue belt knows, but they don't have the same attitude, the same ability to execute techinque. I have seen people stay white belts in BJJ for 4 - 5 years before getting a blue belt (in our style you'd be lucky to get one in under 3 years) because it took them that long to "get it."

So in Aikido when a person is awarded a 5th, or 4th Kyu, or some belt colour, if the club has such, do the others see that belt, or Kyu as having real value.

In a lot of places this is not the case - the McDojo effect.

Commander13CnC3
09-29-2011, 08:32 AM
Our dojo sticks with the white-brown-black system.
Although colors are nice and they add a nice effect, I have this notion that they add,maybe, too much confidence?

As a white belt until 3rd kyu, I can fully realize I am new and have very much to learn.
To me, it helps with the learning process.

Shadowfax
09-29-2011, 08:47 AM
After 2+ years of training my belt has gone from white to brown... so far as I can tell it makes not one bit of difference in how I feel about my abilities on the mat or how others view them. It holds my gi shut pretty much the same as my white one did.

Phil Van Treese
09-29-2011, 03:32 PM
In My dojo we go white, yellow, green, 3 degrees of brown (sankyu to Ikkyu) and black. It shows progression and the students feel proud of an achievement they have done. My students don't have an ego problem with their rank other than trying to help out others----as it should be. I can remember 1 time at a seminar where I was trying to help another lower ranking black belt. When I tried to help him, he got a little arrogant and said that he'll do it his way. To that response I just asked him politely if he would mind if I laughed at his technique that he was doing. Didn't have a problem with him until the break. When he arrogantly asked me to randori, I accepted. I had fun but he didn't. Never saw him again either. There is only 1 attitude to have in aikido---a good one willing to help others. Rank means zilch but skill and character are everything. Rank doesn't back up your knowledge-----knowledge backs up your rank. Your character speaks the loudest of all.

JJF
09-30-2011, 04:00 AM
In .... Never saw him again either. There is only 1 attitude to have in aikido---a good one willing to help others. Rank means zilch but skill and character are everything. Rank doesn't back up your knowledge-----knowledge backs up your rank. Your character speaks the loudest of all.

I agree Phil, that character speaks the loudest. Too bad yours made this guy leave aikido (as I read your post). He might have learned something valuable.

It's difficult not to look down your nose at somebody for having the 'wrong attituted'. I do it myself all the time. Hope to be able to let it be one day.

Back to topic: I believe in the white-black system with the hakama at 3. kyu. It works fine for adults. For kids klasses colored belts are a great thing to keep them going. For adults though.. if you need the colors to keep on the journey I believe chances are you are in it for the wrong reasons.

Also belts with colors tends to create those situations where one tend to feel superior to others. It is not a healthy way to practice. Hakama and black belt are not 'diplomas' or 'medals' to wear as a sign of your achivements. It is signs that you are ready to take the responsibility of a higher level of dedicated ability. The hakama tells your partner that you are able to take care of your self during practice, and that he can expect you to give an honest and dedicated attack and effort. The black belt indicates that you should be at a level where people can seek you out for help and guidance. Understand this and be humble about it.

Anyway.. that's how I see it.

Edgecrusher
05-02-2012, 12:48 PM
Few years ago I participated at an international stage. In that time I was 1 kyu and accordingly with our Iwama's school regulation I was wearing an white belt. We were practicing jo suburi and a guy near me wearing a brown belt was doing very bad, pushing the jo without sliding but just gripping it very tight and moving it like pile driver. I told him in a polite tone that he is doing it in a wrong way. He looked at my belt and says " who the fuck do you think you are, a sensei??"

I find it humorous that those with whom have achieved a specific rank and/or belt color designation (for some of us) feel a sense of entitlement and are close-minded when it comes to suggestion and/or correction of a technique from a peer or someone rank below. That says a lot about how that person was trained and how they learn. You have obviously been trained with humility and a sense of respect for those around you. Belt colors are meaningless and no matter what style we are training in, it is a lifetime commitment. When we go to seminars it is easy to tell the good practitioners from the bad. I am an Ikkyu in Tomiki and am in no hurry for Shodan. We wear colored belts because our Shihan (main instructor) tests and promotes with colored belts.

LinTal
05-02-2012, 11:29 PM
I'd like to just say I'm really enjoying this thread, thanks all.

Personally, I find them useful to get a feeling for how the other person moves if you don't usually train with them, but it doesn't take too long to figure it out anyway so perhaps there's not much point. In my own dojo those wearing the hakama/black belt combo are just marked as the partner I try to nab for practice. It seems to me, though, that there are so many strands that aikido works on, and the black doesn't serve as a blanket promise for brilliance at all of them. Some members are amazing at the clarity of footwork but need to stop relying on height, for example.

PeterR
05-03-2012, 12:32 AM
I find it humorous that those with whom have achieved a specific rank and/or belt color designation (for some of us) feel a sense of entitlement and are close-minded when it comes to suggestion and/or correction of a technique from a peer or someone rank below. That says a lot about how that person was trained and how they learn. You have obviously been trained with humility and a sense of respect for those around you. Belt colors are meaningless and no matter what style we are training in, it is a lifetime commitment. When we go to seminars it is easy to tell the good practitioners from the bad. I am an Ikkyu in Tomiki and am in no hurry for Shodan. We wear colored belts because our Shihan (main instructor) tests and promotes with colored belts.

This was also one of my personal moments. At the Shodokan Honbu dojo there is a system of coloured belts which really does serve a purpose since some people train once a week and others train multiple sessions every day and it really is hard to remember all the faces. It is a good rough indicator of background skill.

The university clubs don't have coloured belts but they all enter the club together, train loads together and know each other well.

I still remember how cocky I was as a newly minted green belt and how shocked I was playing shihan to a mere white belt. One of these "Kinki girls" (Kinki Daigaku) shorter and lighter than I was broke my grip and tossed me with a perfect gedan-ate - I never even saw it coming. I was more careful after that.

Coloured belts have no more meaning than a tool to organize teaching. My general suggestion is that when you visit another club, even in the same style, you wear your white belt.

Edgecrusher
08-09-2012, 04:52 PM
This was also one of my personal moments. At the Shodokan Honbu dojo there is a system of coloured belts which really does serve a purpose since some people train once a week and others train multiple sessions every day and it really is hard to remember all the faces. It is a good rough indicator of background skill.

The university clubs don't have coloured belts but they all enter the club together, train loads together and know each other well.

I still remember how cocky I was as a newly minted green belt and how shocked I was playing shihan to a mere white belt. One of these "Kinki girls" (Kinki Daigaku) shorter and lighter than I was broke my grip and tossed me with a perfect gedan-ate - I never even saw it coming. I was more careful after that.

Coloured belts have no more meaning than a tool to organize teaching. My general suggestion is that when you visit another club, even in the same style, you wear your white belt.

I agree with you. I have visited another dojo while my shihan was away on vacation. I elected to wear my white belt. I received funny stares and could hear the rumblings from the main students for they felt I might have known something. Irregardless, I still maintained respect for their school and their teaching from their sensei. Bottom line, you represent your school and teacher when you walk and/or train somewhere else. I ever want to hear is that another instructor mentions to mine, I can see he was taught by you and you should be proud.

Chris Li
08-09-2012, 05:05 PM
Reminded me of my latest blog post - "Something's Rank - Black Belts in Aikido (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/archive/2012-08-05/somethings-rank-black-belts-in-aikido)". :D

Best,

Chris

aiki-jujutsuka
08-17-2012, 12:10 PM
Just to put a positive spin on belts and rank, for me it motivates me to be worthy of the belt. When I grade I do my very best to execute each technique with the required level of skill and finesse that would be deserving of the belt/grade. After I have been awarded my new belt/grade I feel a sense of duty and responsibility to act as one befitting and deserving of the grade. When I am in my club I try and be a positive role model to the lower grades, to help them where I can and to be respectful and humble towards my sensei and Shihans appreciating that I still have much to learn. I remember the first week I wore my hakama and how proud I felt but also how important it was that I take my training seriously and conduct myself in a manner worthy of the privilege of wearing it. For me the belts and rank keep me humble because I am constantly trying to prove myself that I deserve to wear the belt/hakama.

amoeba
08-20-2012, 08:53 AM
About the original post:

Sorry, but to me your behaviour seems equally rude as the guy's. I'd never, ever go around correcting random strangers in solo practice at seminars. Maybe (just maybe) when we train two on two and my partner is either doing a grave mistake continually or is just a confused beginner, I might make a humble proposition ("You know, I think it might work a little better if..." "Didn't sensei show it like...").

But in single training, a guy I've never seen before? Sorry, but there the only one supposed to correct me is the teacher. Or maybe someone from my dojo that I know. Or my teacher. But definetely no strangers. And that's not depending on rank at all...

(Although of course the guy was rude - I tend to go with "smile and ignore"...)

Anyway, we don't really have the belt colour issue here in Germany (or Sweden, or France), as it's mostly only black and white, apart from a few organisations we don't really have a lot to do with.
We do wear a hakama from second kyu though...