Did you know that the use of belts to indicate rank first appeared in the late 1800s? And at that time, there were only 2 Belt Colors: white and black.
The belts were necessary to hold the kimono closed. White was what you got when you started. Black is what you earned when you achieved the basic foundational elements of the art form. Kind of like earning your bachelor’s degree. Colored belts like orange, green and blue didn’t show up until the 1900s, and with the popularity explosion of martial arts, the meanings have changed.
Not at Kore. Although we don’t use belts for our adult program, our patches are based on the original differentiation. The patches are divided into two groups (well 3 kind of). Group 1 = Practitioner Levels, there are 5. Group 2 – Graduate Levels, 5 of those too.
Our “black belt” is Graduate Level 1. It means what it meant originally – you have graduated from the bachelor’s program. You have the basics down. If you choose to continue, you are ready to take those basics and deepen your application, knowledge and skill.
Other systems based in Krav Maga that use patches prefer to say their Expert Ranks = Black Belt. That goes along with the current idea that Black Belt means expert.
We disagree here at Kore. Here’s why:
You – nor anyone else out there – will ever be an EXPERT in violence. Not really. Violence is a paradox. It is both a constant in our species, and across nature, period; and it’s also constantly changing and evolving.
Next time someone tells you they have a Black Belt, ask that person what they think it means. Their answer will be revealing. Their answer will tell you whether or not they seek status or knowledge.
See you on the mat,