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A Lost Black Belt

Earlier this week, one of my shodan students came to class. He thinks that he lost his belt. So I told him that he would have to start all over again from 10th kyu!

Only joking. I told him that belt or no belt, it makes no difference. Your knowledge and experience are not in your belt, they are in you. If the belt has some value, then someone could buy it.

Obviously, someone who purchases a black belt or yudansha ranking, would buy only the belt (or rank) -- he would know nothing about Karate.

I wear a black belt that cost about $3.50. I have two in case I misplace one. My belt has no embroidery or patches. It is very plain. I even remove the manufacturer's tag. That way there is no front or back. That makes it easier when I put it on.

The only time I am somewhat firm about my yudansha wearing their black belts is when we give a public demonstration. That has only happened a couple of times in the last 10 years!

Don't emphasize form over substance. A belt is just form. Skill is substance.

When I visited my Sensei in Okinawa, and when he visited me here, we often trained in shorts and tee-shirts!


Charles C. Goodin