- Black Belt Prestige
- High times
- Low times
- What happened?
- Page 5
- Children black belts
- Page 7
- Page 8
- Women black belts
- Physically or mentally disabled
- Over the hill black belts
- You can still do that which you do, because you do it.
- Is there something that can be done?
- Has the prestige of the black belt been lost forever?
- All Pages
One of the side effects of lowering the requirements and standards for attaining a black belt is that the prestige and meaning of the black belt has also been lowered. To compensate for this, more levels of black belts, other belt colors (such as red/white sectioned belts and extra wide belts), and other titles (such as supreme master and ethereal master) have been created. When it reached the point where there was a soke (founder of a martial art) on every corner, the sokes began claiming high ranks and master status in numerous other martial arts. When it reached the point that all masters were “super sokes,” the masters began claiming PhD’s in the martial arts (from bogus universities). What will come next?
Another reason for the black belt’s loss of prestige was the degrading of the belt by giving of “honorary” black belts to celebrities, politicians, and people in positions of power. This was supposedly done to publicize the martial arts and help them gain more legitimacy. It may have done that, but at what cost. We do not give “honorary” Purple Hearts, Silver Stars, or Medals of Honor. To do so would degrade their positions of honor.
In the navy, chief (E-7) used to be the highest enlisted rank, and chiefs ruled the navy. Then, to keep more sailors in the navy, more of them were promoted to chief, until there were too many chiefs. To fix the problem, they created the senior chief (E-8) and then the master chief (E-9) and congressional limits were place on the number of senior and masters chief that could serve in any one year. These extra ranks gave the chiefs an opportunity to increase their rank, but the extra ranks lessened the status of the chief. The same thing has happened to black belts. To compensate for creating so many black belts and provide the better ones with a way to increase their prestige, more ranks and titles have been added, which has reduced the prestige of the black belt. The black belt is now just another rank.