Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Why do we not wear ranking belts in Kendo?

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Why do we not wear ranking belts in Kendo?

    I was talking to a person interested in joining our club yesterday, and he asked if we wear rank belts under our hakama.

    I know that we don't wear any outward signs of rank in kendo (and iaido?), I was wondering what the official reason/philosophy behind that was. I've always sort of taken it for granted as something that "just is", but thinking about it made me curious.

    I've been in arts that have a whole rainbow of colored belts with various stripe combinations, and I've noticed that in those clubs people were generally much more rank conscious and rank competative.

    Is it just that you don't need a physical belt to hold up a hakama? If so, how does it work in aikido?

    Just curious

  • #2
    Good question! I don't know the answer but I'll tell you one thing: I'm glad we don't wear outward insignia of rank. Could it be because in kendo there is a "team" or collaborative emphasis?

    Comment


    • #3
      FWIW,

      I've seen some Kumdo Dojangs that makes their students wear colored nafuda/zekken. So, supposely, you'd have to buy another nafuda/zekken when you go up a color belt....

      Also, some places in SCKF requests that you have a white loop on your keiko-gi if you are a mudansha wearing an indigo keiko-gi.

      look at the kid's sleeve on the very right of the photo

      Personally, it doesn't take much to figure out what rank the other person is when you are practicing with them, unless they are really holding back. Kigurai is hard to hide.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by enkorat
        I've been in arts that have a whole rainbow of colored belts with various stripe combinations, and I've noticed that in those clubs people were generally much more rank conscious and rank competative.
        Got it in one. Also, kendo has closer ties to older arts than most modern budo, and pretty coloured belts are a modern invention.

        We use rank patches for kids in our club (just for kyu). We've never had any adults complain that they want the same. Most adults get shodan in 2 or 3 years anyways.

        Comment


        • #5
          The hakama has its own himo (strings) to hold it up.

          In logical sense, there is no point in tying an extra belt around your waist. It would get too much in the way of the tare (armor that protects the waist, hips and thighs) and do (armor that protects the abdomen) first of all, making the area bulky and cumbersome.

          So from a utilitarian point of view, there is no need for an extra belt. From a common logic point of view, once people know your rank is it necessary to remind them of your status every single time? Finally, even though one says their are a certain level of Kendo, I peronally believe it's their Kendo that should do the talking from then on.

          Patches are nice, but whatever floats your boat!
          Last edited by Swissv2; 2nd September 2004, 02:51 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Swissv2
            Patches are nice, but whatever floats your boat!
            We've found they are a good motivator for the kids. Other clubs/federations use them too (BCKF does, or used to). Like I said, adults don't much care.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Swissv2
              The hakama has its own himo (strings) to hold it up.

              In logical sense, there is no point in tying an extra belt around your waist. It would get too much in the way of the tare (armor that protects the waist, hips and thighs) and do (armor that protects the abdomen) first of all, making the area bulky and cumbersome.
              Well, it does get kinda bulky with the tare, but I actually wear an obi with the hakama.

              You'll notice that people who use and don't use obi in kendo tie it slightly differently....

              I personally don't like wearing only the tare when practicing kendo kata. But having the tare on properly could serve the same function as an obi, with regards to breathing.

              FWIW.

              Comment


              • #8
                Yeah, but you're talking about a iaido obi, not the karate/judo type. The knot for those would be pretty uncomfortable.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Maybe it's to make sure people extend respect to everyone because they won't be able to tell whether another person is a sensei or a beginner.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    To make an ostentatious display of rank would go against the basic Samurai ideal of modesty.

                    Another Samurai ideal is to develop refined judgement through careful observation. Anyone who knows what he is looking for can recognize an accomplished person without the aid of a colored belt.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      When I started kendo in Tokyo, Japan `73, there were colored men-himo representing kyu ranks for kids. This was unified color at least in Kantou area.
                      4-kyu under = white, 3-kyu = yellow, 2-kyu = red, 1-kyu = purple, and shodan up = indigo/blue.

                      They stopped this representation sometime in early 80's.
                      But still some dojos uses men-himo color as kyu rank representation.
                      (most dojo uses white men-himo for 1-kyu or below, and indigo/navy for dan)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Very interesting, I had no idea about the men-himo thing.

                        Thanks!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
                          Got it in one. Also, kendo has closer ties to older arts than most modern budo, and pretty coloured belts are a modern invention.
                          Actually i heard that it's pretty old....
                          maybe modern in comparison to the history of samurai but still pretty old.

                          1532, or there around... that was then arts like judo and karate as "systems" were founded based of the existing budo arts...

                          the coloured belt thing was started by Jigoro Kano who based his art (judo) on the samurai "jujitsu" self defence and adapted it to the times...

                          he was the first guy who started awarding coloured belts to his students
                          (however the idea of colour denoting rank is something seen historically in japanese imperial court, so that's not a new idea.)

                          Ive also heard stories my old karate sensei used to tell about the idea of colours changing as you got up in rank was thought up because you didn't wash your belt... and as time went on and you practiced more, it would get more and more dirty... going from a clean white to yellowish, and then darker... etc etc and then finally it would be blackened with dirt and after that, all the clumps of dirt and grime would flake off and reveal the white base cotton again (which is why you'll actually sometimes see high ranking blackbelts with a belt that actually has the black flaking off to reveal white.)

                          AND relathing to this idea, Kano used to award the highest ranking judo-ka with white belts again once they surpassed a certain stage....but ones that were double wide, so they aren't mistaken for beginners.

                          it's like a complete circle

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            1532, or there around... that was then arts like judo and karate as "systems" were founded based of the existing budo arts...
                            Judo was really developed in 1888-1905. Karate didn't make its way to mainland Japan until the 1920s.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by nalogg
                              the coloured belt thing was started by Jigoro Kano who based his art (judo) on the samurai "jujitsu" self defence and adapted it to the times...
                              Kano developed judo from jujutsu, but the kyu/dan part he got from what they were doing with swimming programs at the time I think. I believe the coloured belts to indicate kyu and dan were his own invention. IIRC he started only with white, brown and black. Older schools of bujutsu didn't use belts or dan - they sometimes had certificates of level within the school which were along the lines of initiate, student, instructor, master. You might have heard the term "menkyo kaiden" which was used to indicate a certificate of complete transmission of some koryu.

                              Short story - coloured belts are a modern invention. And no, the colours have nothing to do with how dirty the belt gets as you train.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X