Thanks for posting those links, Erik, they were very informative. I had not heard before that the intermediate colors originated in Europe. Can anyone else confirm this? Perhaps this may be the reason why intermediate colors are generally not used in Aikido.
As to the subject of rank being such a big deal, I personally believe that this is precisely the reason why it takes so long to receive shodan in this country compared to Japan. I have read the theories about the Japanese prefering that they have higher ranks than Westerners, and there may be some truth to them, but I can't help thinking that if Americans did not generally think that wearing a black belt means so much that it would not take so long to receive the rank usually required to wear one in Aikido.
In traditional arts, the color of a belt is considered no more significant than the color of a gi or hakama. Iaidoka obviously wear obi to keep their swords in place, but in many arts, such as kendo, belts, per se, are often not even worn.
Although the issues of rank and dress are frequently considered the be the same thing, it should be clear that they are not. Even when using the modern dan-i ranking system rather than the traditional makimono system it is by no means required that the there must be some sort of dress code that corresponds to ranking. Again, kendo and iaido are good examples of this. Quite frankly, I find that the almost religious conviction within the mainstream martial arts community in the West that there must be such a relationship is childish and somewhat militaristic and I believe that it has no place within a serious study of budo.
Last edited by G DiPierro : 09-23-2002 at 10:45 PM.