Glossary Martial Arts / Term

The Black Belt

Color of belt worn in the Japanese, Okinawan, and Korean martial arts. Its wearer is generally recognized as an expert. In most styles there are 10 degrees of black belt, called den (rank; degree), in which the latter five are honorary. In some styles, the recognized master, a 1Oth degree black belt, will at his option wear a red belt.
Judo black belts are typically awarded by a national governing body whose standards are relatively high and competitive with that of other international bodies. In other martial arts, especially karate, certification of a black belt is not controlled by any single organization. Often, therefore, the standards required to achieve a black belt greatly vary. Since the mid-1960s, large numbers of karate black belts have emerged, many with questionable qualifications. There are major karate organizations whose membership maintains a high standard, but frequently one instructor will promote his students to black belt status based strictly on his own criteria. Similar problems exist in jujutsu, tee kwon do, and other martial arts in which a sole governing association is absent. An especially acute problem is the large number of high-ranking black belts whose only achievement has come through self-promotion of rank.

Permanent link The Black Belt - Modification date 2020-01-05 - Creation date 2020-01-05

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