Re: Belt color importance
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.