Nick Pittson wrote:
Just re-read your post; do I understand you correctly? There could be one club with colored belts and one without, but both would be part of the same association/federation/group?
That is true. When I was in Japan, at one of the dojo's I belonged to it was white until 3rd kyu, then brown for 2nd & 1st, then black. This club was part of the Aikikai, the kaicho is in fact a director of the All Japan AIkido Renmai, and the Tokyo AIkido Renmei, reporting directly to Doshu at hombu where they don't have brown belts in their syllabus.