5 Secrets about Black Belts that you may not know

Many people in western society believe that the martial art lack belt is the ultimate goal and status symbol.  What's worse is that so many people believe this that they would avoid hard training to earn one.  Today's belted martial art systems are highly commercialized and are centered on getting a black belt.  Some people have even gotten a black belt in as short as 2 years.  Not all schools are black belt nightmares and some schools really make you earn it through legitimate training.  We often see how proud kids are when they wear their uniforms and belts out in public, but before you get excited about the self-esteem boosts that are common with a belted system, here are some things you may want to know about black belts.





Not all things are bad about but here are 5 major realities that are commonly tied to a black belt

1. Black belts do not represent a person’s fighting ability. Unless you are taking Brazilian Jui Jitsu, the black belt is not going to represent a person’s fighting ability or their ability to use the techniques that they have learned.  A black belt simply means that you have learned the skill sets set by a school.  Some schools have a higher skill level requirement than others.  Brazilian Ju Jitsu schools require students to compete as a way of seeing if the student knows how to use the techniques.

2. Black belts are not universal.  The right to hold a black belt does not extend beyond the school.  A person can receive a black belt for Taekwondo at one school and have to start all over at white belt if they decide to train Taekwondo at another school.

3. Black belts are sometimes used as a marketing tool.  Some schools use the belted system as a marketing tool to attract students who want to get their black belt in the shortest amount of time.  Unfortunately schools like that often do a disservice as student are let to believe that they have practical self-defense skills.

4. Black belts are sometimes used to keep students from leaving the school.  Belted systems are some of the most expensive martial art schools around.  Some of these schools charge expensive testing fees and have contracts that lock students in for a period of time and it’s all done with the promise that the student will earn a black belt.

5. Confidence and self-esteem are often tied to the belt and not the student’s own abilities.  The higher the belt the more confidence a person has.  Take away the belt or have a black belt defeated by a white belt then the confidence and self-esteem crashes.

How does the black belt test compare with what  Jow Ga students learn?

Keep in mind that different schools and belted martial arts have different black belt tests. 

The video below is an example of a black belt test.  The majority of the skills being tested in the video below would be considered beginner skils in Jow Ga Kung Fu.  Many of our students would have learned similar skills (with the exception of the high karate kicks, board breaking, and ground fighting which are not a part of Jow Ga) by the time they learn their  first full form Sei Ping.  This is possible because kung fu is not a belted system and our skill sets are not limited to belts.


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