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Old 12-14-2006, 12:17 PM   #51
natasha cebek
 
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Re: Belt problem

Finally..aha!
I completely agree with you.

Respectfully,
Natasha

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Old 12-14-2006, 12:19 PM   #52
DonMagee
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Re: Belt problem

I believe belts are black for a simple reason.

It is easier to dye a fabric to a darker color. You couldn't start with black and then dye a belt yellow. It wouldn't work, you would need to bleach it first. But you could take a white belt, dye it yellow, then dye it orange, blue, brown, black. No bleaching needed.

Also I train 4 days a week. In hard nasty sweaty martial arts. I have the same white belt for years that I've worn though aikido, judo, and still wear in bjj (which I hope is about to change soon). I didn't wash it until recently after a ring worm outbreak. I realized that belt is soaked in blood, sweat, spit, water, dirt, etc. It is down right nasty. I wouldn't eat off of it, yet it gets in my mouth from time to time when people try to choke me with it. Its been dragged across my eyes, I touch it then I may touch my eyes or mouth afterwards. This is just down right nasty.

I was amazed how little my belt changed in color after washing. It is still dingy and worn and dirty looking with blood stains all over it. I also did not lose any skill by washing it. It did slightly warp and fit funny for an hour as it stretched back out.

The simply fact is that I will choose safety over any tradition, any day of the week. I do modern sport stretching and warm ups. Why? Because they reduce the risk of injury a lot better and have been proven with scientific fact to be better. I no longer do some body weight exercises because they have been proven harmful. Why wouldn't I want to wash my belt?

My aikido and judo teachers too believed in the white to black thing. They believe you should not wash your belt. But the next time you get that belt on your hands, in your wounds, on your mouth or eyes, think about all that nice sweaty nasty bacteria making a home inside your body. I just hope you are not training for health :-)

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 12-14-2006, 12:43 PM   #53
Michael Hackett
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Re: Belt problem

Belt color and myths be damned. One of my friends, a BJJ instructor, is off the mat for another couple of weeks as he recovers from MRSA, a strain of staph infection. It started as a simple scratch on his belly, right about the level of his beltline and quickly got out of hand. Now with a regimen of powerful antibiotics and time away from teaching and training, it is coming under control. I expect to train in a clean environment and with clean people in clean uniforms. I don't know if "crud" is a color, but an unwashed white belt will certainly become cruddy long before it becomes black. Wash your gear - it won't impact your skill a bit, but it will make you more pleasant to train with and keep everyone healthier.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 12-14-2006, 12:47 PM   #54
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Re: Belt problem

we try and keep our mats wiped down with bleach as much as we can. MRSA is very dangerous and contagious, not something to play around with.

I cannot understand why anyone cares about belt color, how worn their belt is, or anything else like that over cleanliness and safety.

I have a hard enough time training in clean clothes then to worry about this type of thing!
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Old 12-14-2006, 01:47 PM   #55
natasha cebek
 
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Re: Belt problem

I have never met anyone who has gotten a staph infection from their belt. How odd, today is the first time I have ever of such a thing. I have always made it a practice to hang my belts after each class and they eventually dry and they never smell bad. I suppose if I were to put it in my bag after a good workout, while it was still wet with sweat and leave it there until the next class-it could get nasty and smelly and I would certainly be concerned if my Obi had bugs in it.
For the record, I never condone dirty Gi's or bad hygeine, and in my Dojo-I'm the first one to let you know. I wash my Gi's daily and keep my nails trim, I would expect nothing less from those that I train with.
I treat my Obi, my Gi, my weapons- all with great respect. Yes, ultimately it's about the practice and it really doesn't matter what we are wearing.
Why do we bow upon entering the Dojo or mat-after all it's just a room.

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Old 12-14-2006, 02:15 PM   #56
Michael Hackett
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Re: Belt problem

And I don't know that I ever have met anyone who contracted a staph infection from his belt either. My friend contracted the infection at his belt line from some source, perhaps from his work as a police officer, or from a suspect he dealt with. Perhaps he touched an infected person and then adjusted his clothing before he washed his hands. I don't know and neither does he at this point.

My sole point is that dirty uniforms, including belts can be the breeding ground for various little varmints that will make a person sick. I'm not a particular germaphobe, not after years in the Marines and many more years as a cop, but why roll in filth?

Your point about tradition somewhat eludes me. You compare a mythical tradition, albeit practiced in some dojo, with another tradition and ask why? Traditions are wonderful things and should be honored unless there is good and sufficient reason to dispense with them. If the dirty white belt turning to black was a tradition in fact, it seems that it should be on the hit list for health and sanitary reasons alone. Using your example of the dojo itself, I wouldn't take a second to bow if the building were on fire and I needed to pull someone out. Certainly a break with a very real tradition, but I think a reasonable and prudent course of action. YMMV, so follow your own lights.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:35 PM   #57
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Re: Belt problem

I'm not familiar with the "staph infection" wording. But if it refers, as i think it does, to flesh-eating bacteria or some sort of similar infection, you should all know that the source of infection can be anything. People can develop the infection simply after hitting some part of their body (like a toe on a table leg) and then a simple bruise start to transform in a wound. As far as I know, it is still some kind of medical mystery as to why ans how it happens to some people...

However, that being said I think the reason for having your belt washed is for hygiene sake. Like washing your Gi and your own body....foul odors never made anyone sick, it's only a matter of respect and courtesy.

I also doubt that keeping a Obi unwashed for its lifetime does not really fit with the traditionnal Japanese attitude as mentioned before...

"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
--- Albert Einstein
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:43 PM   #58
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Re: Belt problem

Ok, so lets agree to disagree on the Obi issue, we do agree on good hygeine and clean Gi's..excellent then.

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Old 12-14-2006, 02:51 PM   #59
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Belt problem

from the humorous side of this discussion...

http://www.24fightingchickens.com/20...-karate-belts/

on a more serious side:

http://www.judoinfo.com/obi.htm

And from the bottom of that page:
http://www.judoinfo.com/karateranks.htm
and
http://www.e-budokai.com/articles/belts.htm

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:56 PM   #60
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Re: Belt problem

Ron,
Thanks..love the humor and I'll check it out later, going to a seminar and I'm almost late.
Thanks again.
Respectfully,
Natasha

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Old 12-14-2006, 05:49 PM   #61
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Re: Belt problem

Quote:
Natasha Cebek wrote:
Ok, so lets agree to disagree on the Obi issue, we do agree on good hygeine and clean Gi's..excellent then.
Natasha can I clarify what your view on the Obi actually is? I've seen you make a couple of "don't people know the significance" type comments, and I've seen some people assume they know what your stance is based on that. But thought it worth checking whether or not there are crossed wires. Can you state in your words what the significance of the black obi is?

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 12-14-2006, 08:06 PM   #62
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Re: Belt problem

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
I believe belts are black for a simple reason.

It is easier to dye a fabric to a darker color. You couldn't start with black and then dye a belt yellow.
I believe Kano went straight to black... no mucking around with those other colors. The color scheme was introduced by Kawaishi teaching judo in Paris. Kano did have the kyu/dan system in place but he didn't start awarding black belts as symbols of rank until a few years later, so the new influx of students could tell who was most experienced.

Quote:
natasha cebek wrote:
I want hard,cold historical facts.

In Dave Lowry's new book "In the Dojo" he goes into a lengthy history of the keikogi and it's parts, including the obi. On page 53, after exploring the history of the colored belt he has this to say:
Quote:
...there is simply no evidence that colored belts or anything else pigmented have ancient martial sources. Or deep philosophical meanings. True, in Heian-era Japan, varying levels of officials in the imperial palace wore hats or other insignia that differed by color. But Kano never adotped this practice for his judo. It did not come about until judo had gone to Europe. And it requires a considerable stretch of the imagination to conclude that a judo teacher in Paris would have drawn from Japan's eleventh-century court dress as an inspriration for grading his judo students.
Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 12-14-2006, 08:50 PM   #63
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Re: Belt problem

Michael,
You are right, perhaps I wasn't being clear about the significance of the black obi. This really started when a woman had mentioned that her new Obi would not stay on, because it was too stiff. I simply told her that eventually it would soften up and hold the knot. I made the mistake of also telling her not to wash her Obi. Well much to my surprise, I was confronted and in some cases insulted. At one point it became combative and really over what? Look, I know that it is just a piece of fabric and that it really has no bearing on ones skill or not. My Obi is significant because it holds my essence and each mark or fray is a reminder of the work and dedication I have put into my training. The very first time I put it on, it was so stiff and it had nothing of "me" in it..it was empty of any spirit. Over time, I could feel the difference-it had life. NO, it does not affect my abilities, it is a personal thing. As far as the historical significance, from what I have been told and read in books; They never had belts indicating rank (until Kano) per se, they wore sahes to hold up their pants. Over time, the sashes/belts would turn black(with dirt and whatever else) which may have indicated skill level. Eventually in theory, it would fade back to white, thus the circle of yin and yang. The symbolism is important because it holds the spirit of Budo. Why do we fold our Hakima a certain way? Why do we bow upon entering the Dojo? Why kneel in seiza? What is so significant about how are hands are positioned, when bowing? Why all the formalities?
Because, the history and tradition of all the martial arts are based on principles that worked.
I'm tired and I'm not sure if I articulated my thoughts very clearly, I hope I answered your question.

Respectfully,
Natasha

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Old 12-14-2006, 09:50 PM   #64
Michael Hackett
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Re: Belt problem

Pierre,

A staph infection is an infection caused by a particular organism, the staphylococcus aurea bacterium. Staph can be picked up from many sources, including in hospitals and can be quite serious. MRSA is staph on steroids as it is mutated into Multidrug Resistant Staphylococcus Aurea which is very difficult to treat. The so-called "flesh eating bateria" that we read about in the news is a slightly different little beastie from what I understand that causes necrotizing fascitus (sp?). This is fairly common dinner table talk at home as my wife, She Who Must Be Obeyed, is an RN and nursing instructor who deals with this stuff frequently.

A dirty obi, a dirty gi, or even a dirty training partner won't necessarily cause staph infections or anything else, but they can become a vector or breeding ground for many different diseases. There are reasons for "universal precautions" when dealing with body fluids.

In my never humble opinion, even if this were a tradition, we simply have too many fairly modern diseases which can kill to continue to indulge it. It seems wise to change or modify a tradition to meet modern day needs if appropriate. We Marines stand at attention when the Marine's Hymn is played. Great old tradition that is well documented and accepted as factual. I doubt that you would find many of us doing so if our enemies played the Hymn in a combat zone. A silly example I admit, but not much sillier than following a clearly debunked, non-existent tradition. The major difference is that if I choose to stand up while the rounds are flying, I do so at my peril. To wear dirty uniform equipment in the close and intimate relationship of training involves the peril of others.

I'll climb down from my soapbox now........

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 12-14-2006, 09:58 PM   #65
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Re: Belt problem

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote:
MRSA is staph on steroids as it is mutated into Multidrug Resistant Staphylococcus Aurea
Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

I had to learn this a while back and, dang it, I'm gonna put that education to use

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 12-15-2006, 12:10 AM   #66
Michael Hackett
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Re: Belt problem

Bronson,

What is that Ed McMahan quote? Oh yeah, "You are correct, Sir!" Sorry, I was thinking of our recent exposures out here along the border with Multidrug Resistant TB as I wrote. Thanks for the correction - all that book larnin' is payin' off for you.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 12-15-2006, 06:18 AM   #67
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Re: Belt problem

Thanks for the info Micheal and Bronson.

Personnally, i am more affraid of getting warts or fungus on the mat or in the locker room than getting infected by a resistant bacteria....God I hate public showers

"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
--- Albert Einstein
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Old 12-15-2006, 07:06 AM   #68
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Belt problem

Quote:
Well much to my surprise, I was confronted and in some cases insulted. At one point it became combative and really over what?
Uh...exactly who insulted you? I'll go back over the thread just in case, but I don't recall anyone insulting you. As I explained earlier, it is no insult to attempt to educate someone. It is no insult to tell someone they are wrong. Who became combative? This is the internet...it is impossible for anyone to strike you here...so...relax. You are safe...

Quote:
Look, I know that it is just a piece of fabric and that it really has no bearing on ones skill or not. My Obi is significant because it holds my essence and each mark or fray is a reminder of the work and dedication I have put into my training. The very first time I put it on, it was so stiff and it had nothing of "me" in it..it was empty of any spirit.
As a personal feeling, if it gives meaning to you, fine. Nothing at all wrong with that. But you of course do realize that these are metaphors...

Quote:
As far as the historical significance, from what I have been told and read in books; They never had belts indicating rank (until Kano) per se, they wore sahes to hold up their pants. Over time, the sashes/belts would turn black(with dirt and whatever else) which may have indicated skill level. Eventually in theory, it would fade back to white, thus the circle of yin and yang. The symbolism is important because it holds the spirit of Budo.
Read the links provided in my previous post. This is not historical. It is a myth...If you want to accept it that is your business...but if you spread the myth on a site like this as a fact, people will correct you. Because it is false.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 12-15-2006, 07:43 AM   #69
natasha cebek
 
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Re: Belt problem

Ron,
It's just what I have been taught, that's all. It works for me and many other practioners I have met, of different disciplines. Why does it bother you so much. We see myths and rhetoric in every aspect of world history. There are people that believe wholeheartedly in various religious dogmas-is it realistic? I don't know, it doesn't apply to me. Your version of the truth may not be mine or someone elses. Just because you forward a link to me regarding someone opinion, does not mean it is right or wrong.
There are people on this site who either believe one way or the other. Even If I did have a document to back up my claim, it's only one version of many truths. Each discipline has its own traditions that they keep or reject. I would never think to insult a tradition that you or your teacher believed in, it would be completely inappropriate. I simply did not realize that people actually wash their Obi's, that's all.
I would imagine that if there was an issue of health in my Dojo as a result of unwashed Obi's, it would probably be advisable to wash them. It has never been an issue.

Respectfully,
Natasha

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Old 12-15-2006, 07:53 AM   #70
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Belt problem

Quote:
I would never think to insult a tradition that you or your teacher believed in, it would be completely inappropriate.
Again, it's not about insulting anyone or anything. It's just a statement of fact.

Hypothetical: I have a friend who believes the earth is flat...he has all kinds of old historical documents to support his theory. Guess what...he is wrong. Stating that is not an insult...to anything.

Best,
Ron (hey, I'm done posting in this one, people have enough info to make an informed decision)

Ron Tisdale
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Old 12-15-2006, 08:18 AM   #71
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Re: Belt problem

Quote:
Natasha Cebek wrote:
Ron,
It's just what I have been taught, that's all. It works for me and many other practioners I have met, of different disciplines. Why does it bother you so much. [snip]

Just because you forward a link to me regarding someone opinion, does not mean it is right or wrong.
Yet you felt compelled to chastise everyone who did not believe as you do about the significance of the belt and its color. What you choose to believe is in fact your choice. When you start telling others (who in this case provided some basis for their beliefs) that their beliefs are wrong because you believe otherwise, is when you got yourself into a confrontation.

Respectfully

Dan
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Old 12-15-2006, 08:25 AM   #72
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Re: Belt problem

Quote:
Pierre-Olivier Courcelles wrote:
Thanks for the info Micheal and Bronson.

Personnally, i am more affraid of getting warts or fungus on the mat or in the locker room than getting infected by a resistant bacteria....God I hate public showers

Just imagine what rolls around on those mats to help pick up that fungus.

As for the whole color issue. I think what Ron is trying to say is to not present something as fact if it is not really a fact. It is the same thing I preach when someone starts talking martial technique. If the technique is flawed, I don't care how many generations you trained it, it still wont work, and to present it as fact that it does work is not acceptable.

It is great you have a tradition. I would say "In my club we use colors to represent the dirt, sweat, blood, and tears that goes into our training, with each tear and worn spot representing growth in our ablities." rather than saying "The black belt was historically caused though training until a white belt slowly changed to black, we of course honor this history with a tradition of colored belts." One of these statements is truth, one is spreading a myth as fact.

Inner club traditions with myths metaphors, etc, are very nice and add flavor to clubs. But falsely representing myth as fact does everyone a disservice.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 12-15-2006, 08:53 AM   #73
Aristeia
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Re: Belt problem

Quote:
Natasha Cebek wrote:
Ron,
It's just what I have been taught, that's all. It works for me and many other practioners I have met, of different disciplines. Why does it bother you so much. We see myths and rhetoric in every aspect of world history.
Fair enough. But what has happened here is that you have made reference to a well known and long debunked myth. Some people have pointed out that it's a myth, as they have to many people before you, but you seem particularly defensive? Instead of the the comments above why not just say "oh hey, I must have been mistaken/misunderstood that it it wasn't literal, my bad"? Or do you still beleive it to be true?
Quote:
There are people that believe wholeheartedly in various religious dogmas-is it realistic? I don't know, it doesn't apply to me. Your version of the truth may not be mine or someone elses. Just because you forward a link to me regarding someone opinion, does not mean it is right or wrong.
not all opinions are created equal. There's opinion, there's fact and there's opinion about fact. You cannot cite "oh it's just differing opinion here" in the same way you could if we were arguing over whether strawberries are tasty. This is a discussion about historical fact. The links that have been forwarded you back up one position with evidence. On the other side of the coin you have what you've been told by your sensei.

As with anyone in a position of power you should be wary of holding onto ideas in the face of contrary evidence just because sensei says so. Your sensei may well have been misinformed as well.
Quote:
There are people on this site who either believe one way or the other.
I'd be amazed if you can find another person that will support your claim on this site. You will find people to say "oh yeah I heard that as well" *raises hand*, but not that will support you in the face of the counter argument that's been offered.
Quote:
Even If I did have a document to back up my claim, it's only one version of many truths.
No. Truth is truth.
Quote:
Each discipline has its own traditions that they keep or reject. I would never think to insult a tradition that you or your teacher believed in, it would be completely inappropriate.
No! This is not a matter of tradition. We're not talking about what you say as you bow in or what order you line up in seiza. We're talking about something you are presenting as histoical fact which is simply not. Obfuscating an (incorrect) statement of fact by calling it opinion or tradition is disingenuous.
Quote:
I simply did not realize that people actually wash their Obi's, that's all.
I would imagine that if there was an issue of health in my Dojo as a result of unwashed Obi's, it would probably be advisable to wash them. It has never been an issue.

Respectfully,
Natasha
For what it's worth I have never washed my obi and have never had a problem with it getting stinky or nasty.

That's not the point. The fact that you've not seen this myth debunked before makes me suspect that you've just started being active on martial arts forums. If so - you're in for a good time. There's lots of good discussion to be had and stuff to be learned. But people will call you on it when you have misinformation.

This is incredibly healthy. In the past martial arts have been plagued by the kind of insular thinking, beleifs and mindsets that you see in groups that sequester themselves from the wider community. Individual ryu have been so isolated due to lack of crosstraining and discussion that various myths and beleifs get deeply ingrained into the culture. This is no one's fault, it's just what happens naturally when groups are isolated. The internet has been an invaluable tool for breaking down alot of that and propelling the arts forward. When I first started surfing in the late 90s it challenged *alot* of my assumptions and beliefs in martial arts. I resisted many of those challenges until the evidence became overwhelming and I had to start rethinking. I'm extremely grateful for that as my practice is infinitely more useful and enjoyable as a result of the reality checks I got.

So if you are going to participate in these types of discussions I personally reccommend you prepare to have many of your beliefs challenged, keep an open mind because at least some of them will need that challenge, and develop a thick skin.

MTCW

Last edited by Aristeia : 12-15-2006 at 08:58 AM.

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Old 12-16-2006, 08:30 AM   #74
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Re: Belt problem

I did make an inquiry with Palumbo Sensei who trained in Japan for many years directly under Okiyama Sensei(Hakkoryu). He informed me that washing the Obi was adopted in the west and that it was never done in Japan, unless the Obi was caked with 6" of mud-then it would only make sense. It simply was not common practice.
This is all just semanitics anyway, don't you think?
I have certainly learned quite a bit, thank you all.

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Old 12-16-2006, 08:46 AM   #75
raul rodrigo
Location: Quezon City
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 777
Philippines
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Re: Belt problem

You didn't start out saying it was all semantics. You said you had the facts and the rest of us didn't. Turns out that this is not the case.

For what its worth, I don't wash my belt either. The hakama covers most of it and it doesnt get to smell too bad. But the hakama can get pretty toxic.
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