Saturday, November 18, 2017
Would You Like Fries With That Black Belt?


Colored belts are the grading system of choice for most martial arts and fighting systems. It is great to have a goal to work towards, and when you have trained hard and you achieve that next colored belt you feel a sense of accomplishment. But, there are some out there that just feel that the whole belt grading system in general has just gone downhill, or is at least a far cry from the days when Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee owned the martial arts movie screen. Back when someone was a black belt you knew they had train extremely hard for a long time, and was mentally tough and physically fit.

Black Belt - $467.98 plus tax

Now, there is simply no respect for someone that says they are a black or brown belt anymore. Because, many schools are handing out those belts to students who have paid only in money and time, but lack the necessary skills they should posses as a high rank. These martial arts schools are considered a 'McDojo' since all you have to do is put in your order pay your money and drive to the next window for you black belt. There are some big martial art school franchises who have turned the whole belt grading system into even more of a joke. Just by going to class and paying whatever they are charging to get to the next rank you can get a new belt and keep moving up the ladder. But this is regardless if you can really spar, break boards, or do a concise form.

Some Students ARE NOT Black Belts

When there is a 5'3", 300 pound person, that looks like he has never been to the gym in his life gasping for air in the warmups and can't raise his leg higher than his other knee to kick, it makes you wonder. Now I am not saying a person that size can't do martial arts but their skill is close to a beginner and they carry around a black belt it becomes absurd. If they want a class to get fit and learn martial arts have them go to TaeBo or Cardio Kicks, don't give them a black belt if they don't have the skills. What happened to gang style initiations when you would have to fight multiple opponents that ranked higher than you to move up? Wouldn't it b better to walk into the octagon as a blue belt and then just destroy your 10th dan opponent in 5 seconds? Some schools know this and they have brown belts in the school that are UFC fighters, but that is another article!

Martial Arts or a Subway Franchise?

Yes, you have to respect the entrepreneurial side of it and that this is capitalism in motion. Of course if you could open hundreds of schools and keep them full because you give away belts for dollars and make millions, maybe you would would do it also? But, back in the day when you told someone, "I am a black belt" they respected that because martial arts was built around respect, integrity, and hard work? Maybe this is why the newest fighting systems like UFC and MMA don't offer belt grading anymore? So if you long for the olden days stay tough, stick to your principals and remember it's what you can do when it counts not the color of your belt that is important!

So, even though this article has been kind of harsh on some martial arts schools, there are many out there which are sticking to their roots and actually producing martial artist rather than black belts. If you are just handing out belts because someone is paying an entry fee please think about it and ask yourself, "does this student truly posses the skills and abilities needed in order to represent this belt"? If you can truly say "yes" to every student within your school then congratulations you are sticking to the solid foundation that the martial arts has been built upon, and if not then why not give them some fries with that brand new black belt.


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