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Wrong Belt

One of the senior yudansha in my dojo is also a Judo yudansha. Once or twice he has accidentally worn his Judo black belt during our Karate class. This did not bother or upset me at all. It does not matter to me. One black belt is as good as another -- plus, I really like Judo!

But I have seen this kind of thing cause problems in other dojo. In particular, it would not be appropriate for a black belt holder to wear a red belt from another style or dojo. A red belt is quite different than a black belt. A solid red belt usually denotes a 10th dan and is reserved for the head of a style. While red and white striped or checkered belts can be worn from about the 6th dan level, most Okinawan Karate styles tend to avoid the use of red altogether.

Thus, showing up at a dojo wearing a red belt can cause some major problems and I have heard of it doing so. In fact, a yudansha who does this might even be expelled.

Some black belts also have stripes or bars to represent renshi, kyoshi, hanshi, or other designations. One should not wear a belt with such a designation if it is not applicable in the dojo.

I wear a plain black belt with no embroidery or writing. This makes things much simpler! A belt should hold our gi together, provide pressure on the tanden, and be avaiable for use in an emergency. It should not be a place for decorations or advertisements!

But I do like Judo belts.


Charles C. Goodin