Monday, March 11, 2013


Belts have always been a bit of an area of indifference to me... i get it, but i work out in a very small dojo where everyone knows each other's abilities (three students is often a busy night)... sometimes, when we travel to another club or attend a seminar, it helps out with the teaching/learning match-ups... but belt standards are different in each dojo, plus, i go to maybe three such events a year, so for the most part i don't think too much about it.
however, my five-year-old son recently received his orange belt... and it was great to see the effort and energy he put into attaining it... even at his age--or especially at his age--i could tell he needed a boost and/or something to focus on... and so did his sensei... it was a huge motivator, and he earned the belt through so much hard work...   (and the great part at that age is there is absolutely no ego involved; the belt is just as exciting as getting a gift at Christmas, but there is little concern for what other kids are doing or achieving...)
so,  i learned that however indifferent i may have become, i got a real kick out of his acheivment, and i can see how it encouraged his growth as a little martial artist...
the only down side is that dad still ties his belt, and new belts always find a way to fall off during class... it took us more than a year to break in that yellow one...


  1. I humbly suggest to stop tying his belt. He has to earn the right to wear it by tying it.

    When I taught kids classes, I used to spend so much time teaching this. It is important. It is the first kata.

  2. Congratulations to your son - they know how to make you feel proud don't they! Bless 'em.

    On the whole I am a supporter of the coloured belt system. Even adults need those motivational steps, particularly in larger clubs where you are slightly more anonymous than in a small dojo. The downside is that it tends to make people focus too much on gradings rather than the training. It's not until you get to black belt and are released from the grading schedule that you truly appreciate that its really about the training but without the grading structure you may not have got to black belt in the first place. In other words you need to have achieved the black belt to realise that its not about the black belt! I call this the black belt paradox.

  3. The dogs get me up at 5 am. If I'm going to get up that early in the morning, I'll be damned if I don't have something to show for it and so I practice.

    The dogs are all the motivation that I need.