Erik Haselhofer (Erik) wrote:
I'm not sure it was for Westerners. I think it was an attempt by Kano to do what we always accuse ourselves (the heathen Westerners) of doing with the Japanese. I believe he wanted a way of showing progress or differentiating students. I believe it even had a motivational intent as well.
As far as colors they were instituted in Europe sometime in the 30's or 40's if I remember correctly.
My thoughts are not terribly coherent right this second. I'll see if I can find a link on it.
From what I have read, Jigaro Kano started the colored belts for his children's
classes, to give them rewards for achievement.
As for recognizing rank, everyone in our dojo pays fees to join the Aikikai, and has the card to show at any dojo we may go to. While not an absolute measure of rank, it does at least show recognition from Aikikai Hombu.
Just my two cents....