Matthew McKnight wrote:
FWIW I feel that the American value of the belt stemmed from the fact that we are a rewards based culture and as when the belt system was designed the black was the highest color we awarded it some special consideration. Since it was perceived as the top belt(color) it was also seen as the end of the ranking system and therefore a symbol of completed training, and I feel that this belief took firm root and has refused to leave.
My best guess is along these very lines... the stereotypic American wants to know when he'll see "results" and in the spirit of competitiveness and one-upsmanship measures according to belt color. Nevermind that you can see these "results" and changes from day one.
I picked up a book in the library the other day that was a guide to the parent seeking a martial art for thier kid. On a worksheet designed to bring to "interview" the dojo was the question "How long to reach black belt?" Granted, it *didn't* place any extra value on this question but it still caught my attention.
That's my bit of info...