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Old 02-11-2011, 07:09 PM   #26
Amassus
 
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Re: Belt color importance

My club uses coloured belts, it is UNCOMMON but practiced by other clubs in NZ. It's up to the individual what you make of it.

I was a green belt when I visited another aikido dojo once, one of the partners I trained with asked if I practiced karate. (this club only had the white-brown-black system). Its all assumptions based on what you know.

*shrug* everyone knows that if you train long enough, belt colour means zip. The comments you get about belt colour usually come from newbies or those of ignorance.

Keep on keeping on

As for the original post, better to just get on with your own training, but yeah, if someone tries to give you help you don't want, at least be polite in your response.

Dean.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 02-12-2011, 08:02 PM   #27
Insane Duane
 
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Re: Belt color importance

We use colored belts at my dojo starting at 7th kyu (yellow). 2nd & 1st are brown. I think it helps in the beginning to get newbies motivated. After a while it doesn't really mean much but it does make a good motivational tool in the beginning.

As far as the A hole asking you if you are a fucking sensei...LOL, wow, bad attitude, just broke up with his significant other, who knows. Impolite and disrespectful? Sure. Worth loosing sleep over? No. I would just assume he was in a bad place at the time and let it go. If he was at my dojo then that would be a different story. Since it was at a seminar I would just let it go.
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:44 AM   #28
osaya
 
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Re: Belt color importance

from what i've heard, this issue doesn't just stop with coloured belts. i've heard a couple of yudansha complaining about how other less experienced and/or lower ranking yudansha telling them how to (wrongly even?) do a technique at seminars (where they don't know each other).

that said, i think the issue is more about etiquette and ego - both which do not stop at coloured belts, or indeed aikido.

as to the original question about the importance of belt colour; well, it's as important as you want it to be i guess.
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:10 AM   #29
Hellis
Dojo: Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido
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Re: Belt color importance

The following is an extract from a short article I wrote a few years ago on the subject of coloured belts.

The Origins of the Coloured Belt System ~ UK

The origins of the coloured belt system are discussed on most martial arts forums from time to time. Whilst there are some serious and honest debate, I am often amazed at some of the wild and stupid replies that many forum contributors add. Some claim, the colours are an ego trip for the student. How can it be an ego trip ?, if you join a dojo and that is their method of grading, as it still is my own organisation. We are teaching Traditional Aikido, and the coloured belt system is a part of that tradition of early UK Aikido. When you join a dojo, you either follow their system, be it coloured belts or not, or move on, there is no choice.
I first started Judo in 1956 at the ` Abbe School of Budo ` which is the now known as the Hut Dojo. The coloured belt system was an integral part of the then grading system, as introduced and recognised by Kenshiro Abbe himself. The following year 1957, I joined the small Aikido group at the Hut Dojo, the gradings were carried out with the same colour system as the Judo, once again with the approval of Kenshiro Abbe Sensei. Aikido had started at the Hut Dojo. Which was the birth place of British Aikido. With the spread of Aikido throughout the UK with the only eight Aikido dan grades in the UK, all based at the Hut Dojo, and as Aikido spread, so followed the coloured belt grading system. Every `single` Aikido dojo in the UK in those early years were graded in this way. If for example a student had come into the dojo and stated that he or she did not like the coloured belt system, they would have found the exit faster than they had found the entrance. on yer bike.
As I stated at the beginning of this article, I do not know the true origins of the belt system internationally, there are so many variations, all I know is from my own experiences from the early days of Martial Arts in the UK.

In those early days money was scarce, a student would not do as they do today, go and buy a new coloured belt after each grading. The sequence of colours were arranged so that the white belt could be dyed to yellow, and so on and on. I should add that with the dyeing there were some really weird shades of the colour system.
The first belt or grade was 6th Kyu = white belt - 5th Kyu = yellow belt - 4th Kyu = orange belt - 3rd Kyu = green belt - 2nd Kyu = blue belt - 1st Kyu = brown belt - 1st dan = black belt.
Junior gradings followed with the same colours but with the mon system of grading with stripes in an effort to spread the gradings over a longer period, If a junior was for example a 5th kyu – yellow belt, after grading he would receive a mon or orange stripe, after four stripes he would eventually receive a full orange belt. The highest grade a junior could reach would be 1st Kyu 3 black stripes or mons. When a junior of this grade became a senior at sixteen he would receive a senior 3rd Kyu – green belt, and then work his way up the senior rankings. No junior could ever be graded to first dan. I have never agreed with juniors being graded to dan grade. It is now so common place to see newspapers with a page headline “ 7 year old Boris is the youngest black belt in the UK “ we soon see another headline `OH No he’s not !! ` “ 6 year old Mabel is the youngest dan grade in the UK “. I personally consider this form of publicity irresponsible by the instructor of the child. I also consider this to be a form of child abuse. Boris and Mabel will be the target of every hard nose kid at school. I know from my own school days, there would be a long queue to level Boris.

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/
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Old 02-17-2011, 08:47 AM   #30
Mark Freeman
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Re: Belt color importance

Quote:
No junior could ever be graded to first dan. I have never agreed with juniors being graded to dan grade.
Hi Henry,

you'll be happy to know that tradition is still alive and well with us.

I have a lad going for his 1st Dan grading next Saturday. He started with me just before his 8th birthday and he will be 18 in a couple of months time. He has done every stripe on every belt, so has experienced more gradings than any one I know.

I'm expecting him to pass!

thanks for the background history. I did judo in the 1960's as a kid so was subject to the 'mon' system. Unfortunately I hit the max number of mons too young and could not enter the 'coloured belt' system until I reached 16, so I sort of lost motivation. A shame because I was good at what I was doing.

regards

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 02-17-2011, 03:17 PM   #31
Hellis
Dojo: Ellis Schools of Traditional Aikido
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Re: Belt color importance

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Hi Henry,

you'll be happy to know that tradition is still alive and well with us.

I have a lad going for his 1st Dan grading next Saturday. He started with me just before his 8th birthday and he will be 18 in a couple of months time. He has done every stripe on every belt, so has experienced more gradings than any one I know.

I'm expecting him to pass!
Mark


Mark
thanks for the background history. I did judo in the 1960's as a kid so was subject to the 'mon' system. Unfortunately I hit the max number of mons too young and could not enter the 'coloured belt' system until I reached 16, so I sort of lost motivation. A shame because I was good at what I was doing.

regards

Mark
Hi Henry,

you'll be happy to know that tradition is still alive and well with us.

Mark

I am very pleased to hear that . The one treasured thing that Abbe Sensei left his old students with, was a sense of loyalty and friendship. All the old Hut dan grades are still connected in some way, I receive many emails from old Judoka of SenseiAbbe.
Some with old photos or films of Abbe Sensei.

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:31 PM   #32
Tibokio
Dojo: Takemusu Aiki Dojo
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Re: Belt color importance

In our Dojo, we just have white and black belts.

Wether you are 6th kyu, or 1th kyu, it doesn't matter, you wear a white belt in our Dojo. I think it's a good thing, because, what does the colour of your belt matter, really? Would it improve your skills? I think this method is used in almost all Dojos here in Belgium, but I'm not sure though.

Anyways, just my opinion on the colour of belts.

Also, I thought that coloured belts were only employed in the kids department in Japan, no?
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Old 06-14-2011, 01:42 PM   #33
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Belt color importance

Quote:
Cezar Tipa wrote: View Post
Few years ago I participated at an international stage. In that time I was 1 kyu and accordingly with our Iwama's school regulation I was wearing an white belt. We were practicing jo suburi and a guy near me wearing a brown belt was doing very bad, pushing the jo without sliding but just gripping it very tight and moving it like pile driver. I told him in a polite tone that he is doing it in a wrong way. He looked at my belt and says " who the fuck do you think you are, a sensei??"
I would have asked him if he was having trouble, if no let him carry on.....
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:10 PM   #34
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Belt color importance

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Hi Henry,

you'll be happy to know that tradition is still alive and well with us.

Mark

I am very pleased to hear that . The one treasured thing that Abbe Sensei left his old students with, was a sense of loyalty and friendship. All the old Hut dan grades are still connected in some way, I receive many emails from old Judoka of SenseiAbbe.
Some with old photos or films of Abbe Sensei.

Henry Ellis
http://aikidoarticles.blogspot.com/
Same here Sensei as you may probably know from my history page....

If I/we or my old students visited another dojo or organisation, we would always wear white belts, unless instructed by the sensei of that dojo otherwise.... It has the power to stop accidents happening to, as it served as indicator of someone's level and what they were capable of receiving, but as you know that is not always the case......
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Old 06-14-2011, 02:33 PM   #35
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Belt color importance

Quote:
Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
Same here Sensei as you may probably know from my history page....

If I/we or my old students visited another dojo or organisation, we would always wear white belts, unless instructed by the sensei of that dojo otherwise.... It has the power to stop accidents happening to, as it served as indicator of someone's level and what they were capable of receiving, but as you know that is not always the case......
I adhere to the same practice as well. I also do it at my own dojo when attending classes of martial arts I don't normally train in.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:54 AM   #36
dapidmini
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Re: Belt color importance

I've recently learned to only offer help/instructions when I have a leverage such as belt color.. it's like a badge of authority for some people.
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Old 08-25-2011, 03:52 PM   #37
Adam Huss
 
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Re: Belt color importance

Some people are uncomfortable with receiving instruction. At least at your home dojo, you can assess which students are open to suggestion and comment. I always phrase it from the point of view of what I am feeling as uke...and make suggestions that "hey, that feels great, but i think if you pushed a little further this way it would drop me straight to the basement!" ...or something like that. Some people don't like suggestions even that way...so I don't provide any to them unless asked for. When the same happens to me, I always try to listen to the person giving me advice, even if they are junior, or maybe do not put as much effort and sacrifice intor their training as I do...I feel you can always learn; whether its how/why to do something or how/why not to do something. I feel most people offering suggestion have the best of intentions, my encounters with people just wanting to hear themselves talk, or seeking to make themselves feel relevant...that's a bit of a rareity, and it saddens me when I encounter it.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 08-26-2011, 12:52 AM   #38
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Belt color importance

Quote:
Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
Same here Sensei as you may probably know from my history page....

If I/we or my old students visited another dojo or organisation, we would always wear white belts, unless instructed by the sensei of that dojo otherwise.... It has the power to stop accidents happening to, as it served as indicator of someone's level and what they were capable of receiving, but as you know that is not always the case......
This is an interesting tactic. I can definitely see the advantages, especially if a group of people do it. I have a friend who got his black belt and asked is sensei if he could wear his old white belt when attending a seminar because he was not confident with his ukemi. His sensei refused. He said that it was disrespectful to the sensei not to show the rank that he had earned. This situation would be avoided if his dojo did the same as yours does.

When I got my black belt, my sensei had a bit of a talk with me about how wearing a black belt when training with people from other dojos is like having a target painted on you. He said he wanted to be absolutely sure that I could handle whatever sort of ukemi was necessary before he put me in that position. I guess this is another way to address the same problem.
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Old 08-27-2011, 05:32 AM   #39
ryback
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Re: Belt color importance

Quote:
Cezar Tipa wrote: View Post
Few years ago I participated at an international stage. In that time I was 1 kyu and accordingly with our Iwama's school regulation I was wearing an white belt. We were practicing jo suburi and a guy near me wearing a brown belt was doing very bad, pushing the jo without sliding but just gripping it very tight and moving it like pile driver. I told him in a polite tone that he is doing it in a wrong way. He looked at my belt and says " who the fuck do you think you are, a sensei??"
In my opinion, belt colour has no actual importance, level of technique executing ability has! The guy you mentioned was obviously an impolite person with no manners and a huge ignorance of etiquette. But in a real fight, where it really counts, verbal offence won't help him. Or the colour of his belt for that matter...
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:28 AM   #40
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Belt color importance

The color of the belt isn't the problem. The problem lies directly with the person wearing the belt. From day one we are taught, as I am sure in every other martial art, to be humble, to lose our ego. It shouldn't matter if the person is sempai or kohai, if they are offering information that you don't want to accept simply smile and nod or move away from that person. Personally, if I am at a seminar and I am offered input by anyone I listen. I give the person sharing the information the respect due another human being. I can't stress enough that it isn't the colored belt or the lack of a colored belt, nor is it about rank.

We as a whole are failing for two reasons. The first is that we aren't practicing what our sensei teach us. that is to be humble. The second is that there are a multitude of instructors out there that lead by the wrong example. It is sickening.

Lyle Laizure
www.hinodedojo.com
Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 08-27-2011, 10:35 AM   #41
cguzik
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Re: Belt color importance

I've said it before and I will say it again:

My wife tells me the color of my belt should match my shoes, and I take off my shoes when I enter the dojo.
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Old 08-28-2011, 04:11 PM   #42
matty_mojo911
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Re: Belt color importance

What some of you have missed is this - having belts (white/yellow/green etc..etc..) can help maintain some students as it rewards progress.
But in Aikido it seems to be an issue due to the natural of Aikido - togeetherness and the like. We should all blend and not be above each other so the blet "system" and Aikido seem to clash.
Also, and I believe this to be very important is there is probably (in the eyes of someone whose been around a while) little difference between a blue belt and a blue belt with two green stripes, if you do that sort of thing - so I'm saying that belts, if you have them need to have real value.

In BJJ for instance we start at white, move to blue, purple, brown and black. Think of this - a BJJ Blue belt is a proverabial light year better than a white belt, it is a measurable and extremly tangible thing, the first step to blue is huge and they will make absolute mince meat of a white belt, but they are no match for a purple belt. Achieveing a brown belt is considered a remarkable feat, and I can say that of the 130 students at our BJJ club almost all of them would see a black belt as unatainable. A belt system can work well, if there is real value in the belt.

Having said all this I don't like it in Aikido as it clashes with the philosophy of it all, brown belts are fine, but under that just be happy to train.
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Old 08-28-2011, 04:34 PM   #43
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
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Re: Belt color importance

Nice points by Matt and Lyle.

Belts are a validation of achievement. As are any exam certificates or marks or even tattoos of the yakuza.

In Aikido, and I would say in life also really, a validation or reward should be cherished by the receiver, it's a personal thing. It's for self not for some arrogant identity.

So if you have a belt that you have earned you should wear it with pride as a matter of honour. This shouldn't be used to mean or show you are better than or superior to. It means you're just more able to help.

Regards.G.
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:05 AM   #44
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Belt color importance

Quote:
Matt Morris wrote: View Post
What some of you have missed is this - having belts (white/yellow/green etc..etc..) can help maintain some students as it rewards progress.
As a retention tool for a children's class but not so much for an adult class.

Quote:
Matt Morris wrote: View Post
A belt system can work well, if there is real value in the belt.
Quantifying the value placed upon the belt is the problem. Qualifying the value based on technique alone is inadequate as well as qualifying the value on a student's character alone. But this is more specifically related to rank in general, whether there is a colored belt involved or not.

Lyle Laizure
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Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:15 AM   #45
Randy Sexton
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Re: Belt color importance

As I advance in Aikido I am finding that I am less and less inclined to offer suggestions or corrections unless I am asked. As a doctor I have been a lifelong student and have been a teacher of medical students and residents for years and it becomes a bad habit.

With my friends at the dojo we offer feedback to each other but only if we know the person wants it and is open to it. Our Sensei encourages us to just do the technique the best we know how and let the person learn by feeling our technique and how we take our Ukemi.

I really am working on shutting the hell up and not be rude enough to "correct" amyone else. I am really trying hard to keep a benginner's mind to learn from anyone and offer suggestions only when asked and "teach" only by doing the technique and Ukemi the best I know how.

To those whom I have offered unsolicited suggestions forgive my arrogance. To those whom I have given bad suggestions I am sorry. To those whom I have given good advice who did not want it I am really sorry. To those whom I have given good advice who wanted it I apologize for not letting you learn it from experience and allow you the opportunity to "steal it" from the instructor on your own. It would mean more to you and allowed you to experience the thrill of those wonderful moments of enlightenment.

With my apologies,
Doc Sexton

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will"
Gandhi
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:38 AM   #46
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Belt color importance

Quote:
Randy Sexton wrote: View Post
As I advance in Aikido I am finding that I am less and less inclined to offer suggestions or corrections unless I am asked. As a doctor I have been a lifelong student and have been a teacher of medical students and residents for years and it becomes a bad habit.

With my friends at the dojo we offer feedback to each other but only if we know the person wants it and is open to it. Our Sensei encourages us to just do the technique the best we know how and let the person learn by feeling our technique and how we take our Ukemi.

I really am working on shutting the hell up and not be rude enough to "correct" amyone else. I am really trying hard to keep a benginner's mind to learn from anyone and offer suggestions only when asked and "teach" only by doing the technique and Ukemi the best I know how.

To those whom I have offered unsolicited suggestions forgive my arrogance. To those whom I have given bad suggestions I am sorry. To those whom I have given good advice who did not want it I am really sorry. To those whom I have given good advice who wanted it I apologize for ...
Quote:
...not letting you learn it from experience and allow you the opportunity to "steal it" from the instructor on your own. It would mean more to you and allowed you to experience the thrill of those wonderful moments of enlightenment.
Only recently I came to realise the importance of learning this way. It is something I will need to work on as a teacher to allow my students to work even more autonomously. Thanx!

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
www.aikido-makato.nl
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:27 PM   #47
matty_mojo911
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Re: Belt color importance

Quote:
Lyle Laizure wrote: View Post
Quantifying the value placed upon the belt is the problem. Qualifying the value based on technique alone is inadequate as well as qualifying the value on a student's character alone. But this is more specifically related to rank in general, whether there is a colored belt involved or not.
Nice. But what I was trying to say, poorly perhaps, was that in BJJ blets have "real value" because people see them as having real value. A white belt looks at a blue belt somewhat in awe, and rightly so. This is a belt that has value.

A white belt might well know all the techniques a blue belt knows, but they don't have the same attitude, the same ability to execute techinque. I have seen people stay white belts in BJJ for 4 - 5 years before getting a blue belt (in our style you'd be lucky to get one in under 3 years) because it took them that long to "get it."

So in Aikido when a person is awarded a 5th, or 4th Kyu, or some belt colour, if the club has such, do the others see that belt, or Kyu as having real value.

In a lot of places this is not the case - the McDojo effect.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:32 AM   #48
Commander13CnC3
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Re: Belt color importance

Our dojo sticks with the white-brown-black system.
Although colors are nice and they add a nice effect, I have this notion that they add,maybe, too much confidence?

As a white belt until 3rd kyu, I can fully realize I am new and have very much to learn.
To me, it helps with the learning process.

Though only one enemy calls you out
Be on your best guard.
To deal with one adversary in the spirit of facing ten thousand
Is the Way of the Warrior.
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Old 09-29-2011, 07:47 AM   #49
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Belt color importance

After 2+ years of training my belt has gone from white to brown... so far as I can tell it makes not one bit of difference in how I feel about my abilities on the mat or how others view them. It holds my gi shut pretty much the same as my white one did.
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:32 PM   #50
Phil Van Treese
Dojo: Tampa Judo and Aikido Dojo, Tampa, Fl
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Re: Belt color importance

In My dojo we go white, yellow, green, 3 degrees of brown (sankyu to Ikkyu) and black. It shows progression and the students feel proud of an achievement they have done. My students don't have an ego problem with their rank other than trying to help out others----as it should be. I can remember 1 time at a seminar where I was trying to help another lower ranking black belt. When I tried to help him, he got a little arrogant and said that he'll do it his way. To that response I just asked him politely if he would mind if I laughed at his technique that he was doing. Didn't have a problem with him until the break. When he arrogantly asked me to randori, I accepted. I had fun but he didn't. Never saw him again either. There is only 1 attitude to have in aikido---a good one willing to help others. Rank means zilch but skill and character are everything. Rank doesn't back up your knowledge-----knowledge backs up your rank. Your character speaks the loudest of all.
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