Many people think of martial arts as being just for self defense purposes, this isn’t always the case. Martial arts are used in tournaments and competitions as well, which can include sparring, floor routines, and even block and brick breaking demonstrations. All across the world, there are competitions and chances for fighters to prove themselves and their knowledge. |
In general, all martial arts will teach you how to defend yourself and above all else - help you develop self control. Once you begin to study a martial art, you’ll quickly start to develop a much better state of mind. No matter what style of martial art you study, the instructors will drill self control into your head.
With most types of martial arts, the color of the belt that you have will signify your rank within your style of martial arts. The belts that are used with martial arts signify your rank within that style, although they have no universal means or ranking within the martial arts world. More or less, they tell others how much you know about your specific martial art.
The use of belt colors in martial arts is an old practice, dating back hundreds of years. Belts and their use in martial arts all started by a man known as Jigoro Kano, who created the style known as Kodokan Judo. Kano started out by using only white and black belts to signify rank within his style of martial arts. His reason for using belts, was to specify which students could compete in different activities. For example, those with white belts couldn’t compete in the same activities as those with black belts. Shortly after Kano introduced his idea of using belts, other belt colors were introduced to the world of martial arts. Over the years, it became a great way of telling what experience a student had in his style - just by the look of his belt. Other styles began to use this system as well over the years, including Karate, Taekwondo, and several others.
The only problem with using belts to signify ranking, is the fact that one school may have different requirements from another school. Even though they both may teach the same style of martial arts, their ranking system and requirements to get a certain ranking may be totally different. This can cause confusion in ranks, especially if a black belt from one school isn’t as versed in the style as a black belt from another school. Even though most schools stick to the same criteria, there are schools that choose to incorporate their own unique style as well.
Although most martial arts styles use belts to signify rank, there are some martial arts out there such as Shootfighting that don’t use belts at all. The styles that choose not to use belts don’t go by rankings either, as they are more or less for self defense purposes. Pitfighting is another style that doesn’t use belts either. These styles are great to learn for protecting yourself - although they differ from the traditional sense of martial arts.
All things aside, belts are an innovation to martial arts. They give students something to aim for, and a reason to keep practicing. Most students that study martial arts aim for getting the black belt, which is the most prestige belt in martial arts. A black belt takes years of practice to obtain, as the student will move through many lower ranked belts before getting the opportunity to try and earn the black belt. No matter how you look at it, martial arts can be great to learn if you learn it for the right reasons. Each style will vary in technique and what it has to offer you, which is why you should pick the best style for your needs and what you hope to accomplish. Martial arts can teach you a lot about self defense and yourself - all you have to do is give it a try.
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Copyright © Anne-Marie Ronsen
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