When a novice starts learning martial arts, he wears a white belt, symbolic of innocence. After months of practice, the white belt gets dirty and turns brown, symbolic of the first degree of attainment. After more practice, the belt gets soiled and eventually turns black, symbolic of full attainment.
If the practitioner does not stop learning even after full attainment, the black belt starts getting frayed, turning almost white, symbolic of return to innocence. The frayed white belt represents technical competence of an experienced martial artist, combined with the innocence and receptivity of a beginner. It signifies going beyond technique and embracing no-technique—coming full circle.
story source: white belt
The original martial arts used only one belt as described above. But now-a-days the different colored belts are used to describe the practitioners growth.
At inner spirit martial arts, the white belt was symbolic of the crane. Where speed was developed and patience acquired. A crane can only survive a tiger’s attack with evasive maneuvers.
Through much practice, exercise and persistence one attained an orange belt. The symbol for the Tiger, strength.
Then comes the green belt. Where the student learns holds and throws. Agility, vitality, perseverance.
here is where many schools differ, some will have blue belts (water), purple belts (air) and other colors before the brown belt. Many will go from brown to black as is many customary practices. At Inner Spirit Martial Arts the brown belt symbolized: Earth, well grounded, growth, deeply rooted and solid.
as shone here…
Red belt symbolized… the dragon, full of fire, energy and the stage where one readies them self for black belt testing.
To attain the black belt one must demonstrate their abilities in their style of martial arts. One of the key elements is teaching, for a black belts primary task will be to teach others… coming full circle.
I thought about this when I went to work the other day and I was asked to mentor a new officer. To teach them the ways of our profession. I realized I had come full circle in my employment. No matter what you do in life, when you have reached a certain point in your life, you will end up teaching others. Rather it be a profession or a grandparent. So, teach them well…
may you pass your wisdom on to another this day