Kyokushin Musings 
  Some thoughts about belts....
What's new at Australian Kyokushin Sitemap The Makiwara Guest book FAQ Email contact Australian Kyokushin frontpage

   Different Strokes Part I : New or old belts?

One school of thought regarding the belts is that the belts literally and symbolically represent your own sweat and effort. In some styles/schools they even make the students dye the belts themselves, just to further emphasise the point, firstly through the effort of dyeing it, and secondly so that they have the same belt throughout training to ensure that the sweat in it is all theirs. If you want evidence of my sweat in training, look at the back of my dogi where the belt goes. The rainbow of colours leached from the belts by my sweat, and then FIXED by salt in my sweat is there as proof for all to see!

On the other hand, in one of the dojo I have trained there was a tradition of giving your belt to a person below you who had just been awarded that rank, and you got your "new" one from the person above you who was just promoted. In the dojo where I gained my shodan, one of my fellow students wore what had been my brown belt, and he did so with pride. He wore my green belt before that. Different strokes for different folks.

   Different Strokes Part II : To wash or not to wash?

In our syllabus, we are also told never to wash the belt, again because we would symbolically be washing away our hard work. Fair enough. Many styles have that, and every culture has similar little mysticisms.

My reasons for not washing belts are simple — the colours run. I want a red belt, not a pink one, a blue belt, not turquoise, yellow belt, not a cream one, a green belt, not an aquamarine one, a brown belt, not a tan belt, and a black belt, not a grey one (though if you keep it long enough, it does turn grey). Since all the belts but the black and brown are usually worn for less than a year, I couldn't be bothered with washing in salt water to fix the colour etc...

   Different Strokes Part III : Discussion

Everyone needs symbols, some more than others. Some are dictated to us, while others are voluntary. At work, some of us have a mobile phone, a BMW, or both (not me, I work at a University!). Others have gold chains and a leather jacket. Some people have a problem with the incorrect treatment of flags. Yet others require a be-haloed mother and child. Numerous now-torn-down statues of Marcos and Lenin show us the durability of involuntarily imposed symbols. The new symbol in those places is the prone position or the state of decapitation of the statues. The point is, we pretty well all need them.

My instructor and I both need no proof of effort, (though the grade certificate feels good to have and, with it, an instructor who doesn't know you will be sure you didn't buy the belt in the Power Rangers' section of the local toy store!). The belt is to let others know, particularly in other Kyokushin dojo, where I am supposed to stand when we're told to line up in rank order.

Disclaimers Copyrights and Ownership