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?
Yes, you do understand correctly. It shocked me as well.
From Peter, I know that Japanese Shodokan university clubs do not wear color belts. Shodokan hombu does have color belts. We, in the UK, have a different set of color belts. However, everyone is within the JAA -- headed by Shodokan. Go figure.
At least, we all wear a dogi... apart from Tomiki-shihan who sometimes used to train in street cloths.
At least, no one wears the hakama... well, unless you decide you want to wear a hakama for embu competitions. At least we don't get too much of discussions how long your hakama should be and all other associated myths.
All in all, ask the sensei who's teaching about etiquette -- when in Rome do as the Goth... or something.