"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
My personal "Interpretive" Lens!
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"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.
What does it mean or what does it symbolize, the black belt?
Many of the things quoted and mentioned in the post speak volumes to my views on this subject. First, being a black belt, specifically sho-dan, does not mean or make one an expert. Using some insight from Coles Sensei here is what I feel denotes the belts we wear:
1st Kyu brown belt is like moving or graduating from middle school to high school. To be awarded sho-dan is tantamount to graduating from high school. It does not guarantee the privilege of entering into college or university (that is another whole post on its own). If one is allowed to participate in the college/university levels then to earn San-dan is to graduate with a degree from college/university - an undergraduate. Again, no guarantee that you will attend grad school here either.
Now, to attain a graduate degree of say a PhD or Masters means you have attained the level of roku-dan. Between san-dan and roku-dan one may or may not be accredited the ability to "teach, mentor or instruct" in the system, style or branch of martial art.
If allowed to gain entrance into upper education in martial arts one can achieve a degree and the experience necessary to be awarded the levels of shichi-dan, hachi-dan, ku-dan and ju-dan, i.e. like taking the requirements the the residency necessary to be a doctor.
This is how I envision the belt system with emphasis on the black belt system. One knows instinctively in the martial arts that the label "black belt" covers far more than that first one, sho-dan. Even if the system, style or branch practiced uses the paneled belts and red belts not to forget all those other colors used depending on the systems, etc. that the black belt actually covers, fundamentally, all ten levels of the dan grades.
Making, earning or the award of the sho-dan black belt simply states that one has entered the beginning and is no longer a novice but now a deshi, a practitioner or a disciple, your choice as to perception.
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