Sunday, April 6, 2008

Shabby, Old Black Belt vs. Shiny, New Stripey Belt

On my post entitled The Hakama Debate: Traditional vs. Practical, one of my students commented that he would like me to wear my formal sandan belt when making belt presentations. It's funny because until he mentioned it, it never occurred to me.

When I was promoted to sandan (3rd degree black belt) back in the summer of 2006, I was given the shiny, new stripey belt you see on the right in the above photo. I wear it for formal Jiu-jitsu BC events and that's about it.

For my day-to-day dojo duties, I wear the shabby, old black belt you see on the left. It may not be glamourous, or even clean for that matter, but I love that belt. There's a lot of history in it. I've been wearing it for 14 years. The wear and tear of all those years show in its stitches (or lack thereof).

I suppose to add to the formality of my dojos belt presentations I could wear my shiny, new stripey belt, but my heart will always be in the belt that has been weathered away by nearly a decade and a half of training, teaching, living and learning.


Tim said...

I always follow this ideology: "I have a black belt. It's leather and it holds up my pants."

Lori O'Connell said...

I totally agree with your philosophy. That being said, my shabby, old Jiu-jitsu black belt is the only belt I've worn consistently for over 14 years. :P

mariedke dalman said...

I got a shiny new belt when I opened my club last year (as my old one was from my previous club, with their embroidery, etc.). While I missed it's worn-ness and familiarity (it had been around my waist since I'd first earned it), the new one was symbolic of a new start for me. I hope to wear my new(er) one for a long, long time... preferably until it's threadbare.