Some people say colored belts and stripes used to denote achievement were never meant to be part of the martial arts. A traditional martial artist was given one belt. It was clean and white when training began, but over the years of sweat, blood, dirt and grime it passed through a range of somewhat identifiable stages. The practiced eye could tell you the time and effort (and therefor likely the skill level) the wearer of that belt had invested in the art.
After much hard work, the belt begins to look like the one on the right here. A symbol of the dedication and devotion to the art that individual has earned. Times have definitely changed! There are, of course, many reasons why we have adopted a system of colored belts and stripes. I decided to establish this site to explore this phenomena in order to help keep alive the spirit of the original meaning, and to educate myself and others on how colored belts and stripes are being used. Hopefully this site will help instructors learn how to use ranking systems in their schools to improve the experience for everyone.
I encourage everyone reading this to contribute something, and I promise I will do my best to keep it organized, useful, and accessible. (Advice on how to do that is also appreciated!)
What I’ve learned so far
It seems to me there are five basic topics to cover, so this site will be structured along those lines to begin with. As your suggestions and contributions come in, I will add to this as appropriate.
Everybody needs encouragement and praise for a job well done, especially kids. Positive reinforcement is widely regarded as the best way to educate kids.
showing your kids (and adults) the internal rewards of doing their best. This is one of the most valuable lessons you can teach.
Holding on to your students can be challenging. Happy students tend to stick with you longer, giving you more opportunity to truly have a impact on their lives. Of course it’s great for your bottom line too!
Usually we think of this as spending hundreds, even thousands of dollars on advertising, but everybody knows word of mouth is the best form of advertising. Like retention, word of mouth is dependent on happy customers.
Keeping up with all of your students can be hard. Remembering what they have and have not mastered whether it’s technical skills or attitudes can become overwhelming.
Please feel free to make suggestions
As I said before, people use stripes on karate belts in a lot of different ways, some of which I’m sure I haven’t thought of. I welcome your suggestions and comments and I hope you can take something away with you after reading.