"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
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"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour

"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

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What are your thoughts on belt striping for black belts?

Depends on the dojo. Personally I think they serve a purpose and that if a dojo makes use of the system they make sure they are clear as to its purpose and history.

There are two systems for belt striping for black belts. The first is a gold stripe. There are only three gold stripes. One stripe is when a practitioner reaches a level of skill that is deemed extraordinary. This is where one is first recognized as a person of character and one at a level that is considered a Sensei in the true nature of that title. They are awarded a teaching certificate and the title of Ren-shi, 6th level dan-sha at minimum age of 35 years. The second stripe, total of two gold strips, is indicative that person has reached a level commensurate with a professorship. This title is Ren-shi, 7th level and an age of 48 years. The third stripe, total of three stripes, is indicative of a person who has reached a level that they are literally a "model" to those in the martial systems. This title is Han-shi, 8th level dan-sha at a minimum age of 58 years.

The second system is one where each level of black belt has a stripe on the end. Although there are no standards or practices governing this system it is best to remain separate and distinct from the three striped teaching title system above. As a black belt I tend to lean toward a stripe of a color that is minimally contrasted to the black belt. Red is a good color that I would use and it has a symbolism for my view as reaching toward the sky, red belt 9th and 10th level black belt.

I would add that if you follow a classical martial system, in general, you don't use any stripes on the black belt other than those Sho-go system three stripe gold teaching titles.

Now, in regard to the paneled belts, i.e. the red/white paneled, etc.? On special occasions it is worn by 6th level dan-sha up to 8th level where 9th and 10th can wear solid red if they so desire. Don't go searching the Internet for any one group that will validate my view on this. There is one site I am providing that explains the "Sho-go system" and you will find an article in this month's black belt magazine by Dave Lowry on this system. Dave Lowry is better qualified to provide data on this system.

In addition, the sho-go system, as well as the second system, until the last couple of decades was none existent. The paneled belt has been in that same status for the same approximate time window. Early Okinawan karate, martial systems, barely used colored belts until the sixties or seventies. At one time there was white, green and black; later white, green, brown and black; then all sorts of colors appeared, etc.


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