What is a Black Belt?

The question of the day is, “What is a black belt?” 

     This question came up after reading Dagney’s comment on “Horizitonal vs Verticle” .  The post itself brought up the fact that some schools practically sell Black Belts to the highest bidder, so to speak.  I was wondering how other people define the black belt.  What qualities do they think a black belt should embody?  Have they ever come across a black belt who was less than honorable?  I think this information would be important to anyone looking for a school / instructor, so please elaborate as much as possible.  Your point of view is very much appreciated, thank you.

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7 Responses to What is a Black Belt?

  1. slideyfoot says:

    I’m wary of putting any ethical or moral provisos onto a belt, as that is potentially a step towards the dubious ranking systems of TMA. Similarly, I don’t call myself a ‘martial artist‘, as I feel that also has hokey associations.

    So for me, a black belt is somebody who is really damn good at BJJ: they don’t need to embody anything beyond a high level of skill. If they’re a douchebag, then I won’t want to train with them, but if they have the skill, they’re still a black belt.

  2. Georgette says:

    Um, yes. Slidey nailed it. I couldn’t say it any better.

    • So… What you and Slidey are saying is that “Mr Miyagi” doesn’t exist? First it was the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and then Santa Claus!!! Now your telling me there is no Mr Miyagi! All jokes aside, you guys do have a point. The wise all knowing martial arts master that is portrayed in the movies is just that, a movie portrayal. No mythical all knowing beings running around teaching Ralph Machio the hidden secrets of the world.

  3. slideyfoot says:

    Not to mention that the actor who played Miyagi had no martial arts training, even though he’d get people respectfully calling him ‘sensei’ in real life. 😉

    Nevertheless, he was an interesting guy, so worth reading up on him.

    • I’m always intrigued by interesting people. I will once again, take your advice and read up on Mr. Miayagi aka Pat Morita. I didn’t realize he had no martial arts training. Another myth shattered. “Not all Asians know martial arts”. Just kidding.

  4. A black belt is a person with magical powers. They are the ultimate role model for children and people starting in BJJ. They can move from one position to the other with ninja-like speed. They cannot be trapped in a room or a box if there is at least room for their leg to fit through. They can breathe underwater and their jokes are always funny. They develop an allergic reaction to the Internet, thereby keeping themselves free from directly involving themselves in petty Internet discussions.

    A black belt has an affinity toward animals as well. They can instantly ride any horse and it will be calm, they can stop a dog from growling and make it sleep, and cats avoid them. At some point they become vegetarians and gain strength from eating the magical acai berry.

    It is said that it is good luck to see a black belt before you sleep, or before they put you to sleep. You will have magical dreams and learn your own special path toward your very own black belt.

    I have a feeling this wasn’t very helpful. But it was fun to write! 😉

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