Thursday, June 12, 2014

What Does it Mean?

Back on the 31st of May, I examined two students for Shodan - 1st degree Black Belt.

Some myths:
  • A black belt is invincible.
  • A black belt knows everything about the art.
  • A black belt is a master. 
  • A black belt is worthless in a fight. 
  • A black belt means nothing with regards to self defense. 
  • Just anybody can get a black belt.
Black belts are not invincible, nor do they know everything about the art. Black belts are not necessarily masters of their art. A black belt simply means that one has a thorough understanding of the fundamentals. In short, the Shodan is now ready to start his specialty in the martial arts. 

Similarly, there have been too many "McDojos" that promote any kid that hangs around for 18 months to black belt. These folks most certainly are worthless in a self defense situation or fight. However, for the classic systems, and a few modern systems, we know better.

A black belt in my dojo means a minimum of 350 hours on the mat. Our fundamental curriculum is based heavily on the Gracie Combatives. Anybody who doubts the effectiveness of these techniques is fooling nobody... not even themselves.

A black belt in my dojo also faces one of the most difficult tests around. There is no doubt in the mind of the candidate, or the audience, or the examination panel, or the instructor. 


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