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Martial Matters, Issue #004 -- Black belt
July 27, 2003

Black Belt ?

Hello people,

Welcome to Julyís edition of Martial Matters.

Firstly Iíd like to thank all of you who came along to the Conflict Management seminar on the 13th of July, we had a really great day and everyone enjoyed it (Apart from the pain)

In this edition Iíd like to stimulate some debate, and donít forget any opinion is a valid opinion and Iíll print them all next month.

The subject is:

Should a student be able to be awarded a black belt at any time if he / she is good enough ?

I had an e-mail after last monthís newsletter from a guy in South Africa, who I wonít name. He asked the question, Can I start my own style and award myself a black belt in it ? I am currently studying 3 different arts and am better than some of the black belts in the classes that I attend.

I wonít tell you what my reply to him was just yet, but lets look at this;

The EKGB stipulates that you must study for at least 3 years to attain a black belt grade and time limitations apply for all grades thereafter.

If you were in a sport like athletics you would not have to wait 3 years to be deemed good enough to compete in major events, if you were fast enough you would be in the Olympic team !

If you were a boxer, like Mike Tyson a few years ago, he was good enough and he became world champion at 21.

On the other hand, there has to be some controls over who can award black belt grades and some form of criteria for the attainment of them ?

Is the time limit criteria a fair one or the best we have at the moment, can we improve it ? What about if one guy trains for 3 years, once a week and another guy 4 times a week, who should get his black belt first ?

On a slightly different theme, look at the different clubs as football teams, some are premier league clubs and some are sadly 4th, , 5th , or even non league standard. But they all have black belts in them, so what really constitutes a black belt and who has the right to start their own art ?

Before you answer that remember Bruce Lee, no one in their right mind would challenge his art of JKD as not being legitimate and all things are there to be improved upon.

So when should a student be awarded his black belt ?

Should it be based on purely physical abilities or does his mental abilities also come into this ?

A lot of questions have been asked here, I look forward to receiving your replies, and remember:

Take what is useful and reject what is useless.

If any of you have any questions please let me know how I can be of help in any way.


Paul Swift.

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