Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:


I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn


Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung

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.

The Red Obi

I was just provided a photo of three gentlemen and all three, in one place, were wearing a red obi. I guess they all have mastered their system(s). I am not saying they have not but since, in recent years, I have noted a "lot of red belts" being worn I began to wonder how that could be and what criteria was used to award such a level, grade or rank to "anyone."

I was originally led to believe that there were no ranks above go-dan or fifth level. At least when the dan-i system was created for the Judo world that was the highest level awarded by Judo's founder. This was somewhere around the late eighteen hundreds or early nineteen hundreds. 

In karate the Okinawans adopted the dan-i system but I believe no one actually wore the red belts at that time. I have been informed that the founder of the system of Okinawan karate I practice wore a red/white paneled obi, a red belt with gold strip in middle lengthwise or gold belt that seems to be strictly of Okinawan origins (it seems to have fallen out of favor and very few wear them now). 


It also was my teachings that the only person who wore a red belt or attained such high levels were the founders of a system such as Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei who created Isshinryu. 

So, back to my inquiry, what constitutes a red belt and what criteria says one is a master of a system? I don't know but it seems to me that it should be a combination of things such as, (1) a certain dedication and diligence toward training, practice and teaching; (2) a certain level of knowledge and experience in at least their parent style or system plus; (3) a certain level of holistic understanding of all that is a martial system such as "Theory," "Physiokinetics," "Technique," and "Philosophy"; (4) a certain level of inner peace in the individual; (5) a certain age level such as reaching the winter years of a life long dedication of study, practice and training in their style or system. 

I am sure there may be more that denotes one who has achieved such a level of mastery but not necessarily over the more technical teachings ergo why numbers (2) and (3) tend to hold more importance from some perspectives simply because (3) covers the entire holistic training and practice of martial systems at a fundamental level, a foundation that is mastered. 

I can say that such master does not come at an early age regardless because only age and a maturity that comes with it can provide a person mastery of this level. 

In a nutshell I don't feel that many people can truly wear a red belt even when they create a system in martial arts. I am only saying this is true for me and from my perceptions and perspective. After all, who am I anyway, right?

Lastly, as to technical knowledge I believe a san-dan level should have a solid and complete knowledge and experience in those things where any levels about san-dan are about "polishing and refining" those things. Again, my perception and perspective. 

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