Why, “What color is your belt?” is a Stupid Question.

belt rlIf you have to ask someone, “What color is your belt?”, then their answer is irrelevant to you.

So many arts, so many styles, so many instructors and so many philosophies impact the color of belts that they are not a universal indicator of quality.

A series of questions that I like to ask is:

“How long have you been training?”

  • There is a big difference between a black belt who got their belt in 2 years and a black belt who has trained for 6.

“How many hours per week do you train?”

  • Most people today attend 2 classes per week.
  • I was an addict from my very first day and it didn’t take me long to develop the habit of 2 hours per day, 7 days per week (6 classes and 2 hours of personal practice at the beach back then).
  • My recommendation is that the number of hours that you train should, minimally, match the rank of your belt. For example, a yellow belt / 2 hours, but a green belt should be training at least 4 hours per week, in my school.

“When was your last class?”

  • There are so many posers in the world. “I used to do karate,” is a statement I have heard all too often. This is a vague and leading comment that usually comes to me from a man who is intimidated by my rank. If you were a black belt in some style when you were 16, and now you are 40, then I would love to see you train for a while to get back those skills.

The answers to those questions mean something to me.
They tell me about your humility, quality and dedication.

But, maybe they wouldn’t to the average person.
If you are the average person, then try this question instead, “What do you love about your Martial Art Style?”

There are so many great things to love about the arts, if you have a friend who is training, maybe you would love the same things that they do!

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