Black Belts - Kmart Special, Anyone?


I recently needed to purchase another black belt - mine is getting ragged on the edges, and it seems more and more difficult these days to find a belt.

First, you have to decide whether you want a club belt, a competitor belt, or an “elite” belt - although I’ve not the foggiest notion of the differences. You can chose a belt that is 1 1/2″ wide or a belt that is 1 3/4″ wide, or one that is 2″ wide.  You’ll need to know how many rows of stitching you want… 8 rows, 12 rows, or some other number?  You can have stripes at the end of it, and of course, you can have all sorts of embroidery work done, in a rainbow’s choice of colors. Keep an eye on those lengths, too… different manufacturers use different lengths for the standard sizes… Naturally, you’ll have the brand name tag on the end of the belt as well… for the snob appeal, I suppose.

Luckily, I found a martial arts supply store in the same state, that offers just one black belt - a 2 inch wide “deluxe” black belt, for the grand total of $9.95… so I jumped on it.

This seems like a good time to muse on the rather funny difference between some styles of Karate, and Judo. In Judo, my belt starts to show a little white on the edges, and WHAM!! - it’s time for a new black belt. On the other hand, we have a Karate yudansha in this town who’s belt is so ragged and torn, that it looks like a bunch of grey threads holding his gi together, rather than a belt.

I recently had a new student to Judo asking me about the belts - it seems that he’d come from a dojo where the dropping of a belt to the ground was considered a worse offense than dropping the American Flag to the ground. Hmmm… seems to me that I wouldn’t intentionally throw my belt to the ground… but then again, neither would I get worked up about it either… we occasionally have belts on the mat, and I simply De Ashi ‘em to the sidelines so that Judoka busy doing randori don’t slip on a belt.