One of the symbols that set martial arts apart from others is the black belt. It status represents the blood, sweat, and determination to earn such a high achievement. But since the introduction of mixed martial arts and the Ultimate Fighting Championship, it seems the black belt and belt system is not as important or significant today.
There are more martial arts schools today than there were in the eighties, and some of schools, also labeled “McDojos,” have promoted and guaranteed students they will achieve the black belt. Unfortunately, this guarantee has led to sub-standard black belt martial artists, and has scarred those school systems that do have a great and standards for instruction.
It is without wonder why most martial arts practitioners steer clear of schools with belt systems. They have been labeled irrelevant and fake. And it is sad to see the only reason new martial artists and fans of mixed martial arts are only interested in one thing, fighting. This mindset steals away some of the best and most honorable traits earning a black belt provides.
Earning a black belt in a traditional school teaches more than just knowing how to fight and defense. They are important and real, but what the belt represents also touches one’s character qualities. Confidence, strength, and courage are just a few character traits one learns in the martial arts setting, and respect is also learned.
Mixed martial arts schools are popping up all over the place, and just like McDojos, there are probably some fakes out as well with no formal training or experience. Even though a black belt can be bought and used by a fraudulent coach, you will know them by their character and demeanor.
The perseverance and determination it takes to earn a black belt will show much more than in the fight of a man. The status of the black belt will also show true in the character and life of a genuine martial artist.