Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

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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

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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. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.


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Obi's Long and Dangly


I believe my answer can be given right off as the sizes sold often are longer to fit properly when bought from karate belt stores. I was one of those who felt that the longer ends were more a nuisance than anything. I would purchase a size 5 obi, put it on so one end was the length I wanted it and then I would perform surgery on the other end to make them meet properly. I usually wanted about six inches hanging down with no more than eight inches maximum (a good way to judge this is enough end to put your hands on each and pull the knot tight). Then when sparring, etc. I would do, as you may be able to see in one of these photo's, tuck the ends in the obi at the waist to remove those dangling ends. Why, you might say?

Well, when I first put on a green belt and when I first started to learn how to fight/spar, Henry sensei would reach in and grab the end and then pull me around the dojo like a whip. I quickly learned to shorten the obi and then tuck it in making it a more difficult target. Not that I would have to worry about the obi in a fight or self-defense (I was a Marine then and fighting was an option vs. just self-defense but hey I was a Marine). 

I often wonder if in most of today's dojo what the reason might be for the longer ends on the obi. I believe the sizes, say from size 4 to size 5, that the ends would be within the standards I use and if not then either shortening one end or actually making a custom purchase would work. I am not saying the kyu grades would go custom but as to the black belt that is often worn an entire life of a martial artists is often a one time purchase. 

I have seen ends dangling down past the knees and wonder, why do they do that? I can tell from that length that the next size down would bring the ends closer to the length that seems to me more appropriate but I wonder why? Is it ego? Is it some symbolic thing? Is it because the dangling and swinging of the ends in kata contribute to the sense that one is doing kata with spirit, vigor and effectiveness? If so, NOT. 

I wonder why the ends of the obi tend to be long, swing, sway and dangle like they do. ;-) Take a look at the photos attached. The first one is of a first generation pair of practitioners practicing Isshinryu in 1965 and the second is another first gen practitioner on the left and a more modern practitioner on the right (note that you can see the end dangle just to the right of his forward thigh and appears longer than the guy on the left of the snapshot. 

Can anyone answer me why as to such long ends on the obi? 

Click the Photo for a Larger View

2 comments:

Des Paroz said...

It's simple, really. The ends need to be long enough to fit all the writing. Names, titles, etc. Particularly western names translated into katakana take some length.

Felicia said...

Can't speak for everyone, but I know I never bought my own belt until my "back up" black belt (I keep a spare in my car along with an extra gi, sports bra and biking shorts just in case something gets left behind as my dojo is an hour away from my house). I'm 6'2", skinny and wear a size 5 gi for the length (My real size, I've found, is a 4.5). A five belt is a bit big because I have a small waist, but when I order belts formy students, I go by their gi size if the belt they have on does not have the little size tag on it still. So I say all that to say that sometimes, it may be total happenstance that the wearer just gets used to. I think it has lots less to do with aesthetics or how it makes the karateka feel and more about what was ordered or bought for the student, I think...