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Black Belt Ascension Speech

2991 words - 12 pages

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The proper name for Karate is "KARATE-DO", "the way of the empty hand". The names of most Japanese martial arts are suffixed "-DO", meaning "the way" or "path", and are meant to convey the idea of a long journey or undertaking in a sense similar to a pilgrimage, a long-term commitment with spiritual implications. To follow the way is a constant test of personal qualities, but can provide many rewards in terms of physical and mental well-being.
So the suffix "-DO" serves to emphasize that the aim of practicing a martial art is mental and spiritual as well as technical and physical.
The martial arts are unique in that harmony of mind and body is actively promoted and are essential ...view middle of the document...

. and as it is”. In it he describes the following:
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“ In English history a man of valor and dignity who excelled in the arts of combat and social amenities was rewarded with the title of Knighthood. A designation which let it be known to all that he was a man not only of honor, but also of great fighting ability. This was true in Japan where the same type of men were called Samurai. In neither country was the man nor his rank to be taken lightly. For the prowess and title of each commanded respect! At this time both of these countries consisted of feudal states in which men, like the knights and samurai, were a necessary product of the social conditions in which the lived. A situation which does not exist today. Yet the desire for a man to excel in a martial art, for discipline and self-defense, still exists.Today a man strives initially in the martial arts to become a "Black Belt" in karate to learn to fight. But as his training progresses he should become aware of a stronger calling, the molding of himself into a better person, not only in fighting ability but also in dignity and honor. This has traditionally been the goal of the martial arts student. The black belt is an award or honor given to the modern knight or samurai who has sacrificed many hours in disciplining and honing his body and mind to achieve the epitome of physical and mental attainment. The black belt is the symbol of an expert.” |
Originally, the ranking system was established to provide a series of levels by which students could measure their progress. The first black belt awarded for karateka is known as a "Sho-dan".
This means the student has mastered the basics of the art and is now ready for a more advanced form of training. The student who continues training will now receive "Dan" ranks or degrees of black belt as he progresses. This ranking system has worked very well in motivation the student, but it also has developed some problems.
First, there is a disparity of standards. A proper ranking system should remain universally constant; just as on a ruler one inch is always equal to one inch, so should the standard of rank be equal. However, it must be remembered that the ranking in the martial arts consists of testing human reaction and because of the individuality of each person it is difficult to declare a definite set of standards. Yet this is what must be done if the rank of black belt is to have meaning. Judo and Kendo have one international standard of testing which prevails through the world. This is due in part to both of them having their origin in Japan where the rules of rank grew with the art. But with karate there were many different schools with each having it¡¦s own set of standards when it came to testing. So when karate was propagated internationally the various countries embraced each style and each set of standards. This made possible a situation in which unscrupulous individuals were able to set up their own organization in which they...

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