Karate Black Belt is Looking Good!
I earned my karate black belt in 1974. Back then we didn’t have all the karate equipment and martial arts supplies and stuff.
I was in Chinese Kenpo Karate at first, and we received neat, new belts with each promotion. I had an Orange Belt and a Blue Belt and Green Belt and all the other rank symbols.
Then I went to the Kang Duk Won, and belts weren’t the issue there. Knowledge was the point of it all.
I had gotten a white belt with my uniform, and my sensei told me, when I got my first promotion at the Kang Duk Won I was told to dye it.
So I put it in a pot, added dye, and the thing shrank a litte, but it was still workable.
For some belts we had to go into ladies fabric shops (blush) and get iron on strips of cloth.
By the time I reached Black Belt I had a beaten up short strip of belt that looked like it had been through the ringer.
So, I admit it, I bought my first real belt. It was long enough, it looked good, but it was…stiff.
Well, I had done enough already, actually buying a belt was a bit proud, so I just worked out hard and hoped nobody noticed the overly prideful guy with the NEW belt.
And it eventually work it’s way into a comfortable rag.
Speaking of rags, I should tell you about the artificial aging of belts. Some guys bought belts, and to make them look old, they would take a razor blade and shred the edges of the belts. They would have half a dozen belts, all artificially aged and cool looking.
Unfortunately, the karate these guys practiced wasnt’ aged, and it looked artificial.
And there were guys who would drag their belts in the dirt, scuff them by walking on them, and so on, just to look cool and official and aged.
I actually don’t wear a belt anymore. And my classes are so small that I don’t need to have people wear belts. So we actually practice in street clothes, which is what we would wear if we were attacked on the street.
Still, I remember my bouts with pride, and my first karate black belt, and the honor it was to wear it.