The Ranking Ceremony
Ranking Ceremonies have evolved over the years and each school has their own way of promoting students. Some schools don't even have ceremonies, the Head Instructor will simply hand the student their new belt when they are ready. Other schools have huge Ceremonies and make a big deal out of the promotion. Despite the different types of promotion, the history and reasoning behind them are very interesting.
Tradition tells us that the first Black Belts were White Belts that turned black through years of training, dirt, blood, sweat, tears. This is why it is okay to wash your dobok (uniform) but one should never wash their belt. We jokingly say that washing the belt washes out the knowledge. During these old days of original Instructors their was only one promotion Ceremony, from White to Black, and this use to take around 10 years.
Times have changed and now their are many belts signifying many ranks. Our culture has more of a need for validation, and we can tend to be a little impatient; it's hard for students to wait 10 years for a Black Belt and only have a White Belt till then. During the 60's American children began training for the first time, and more colored belts were created to help keep them enthralled and engaged. Before long colored tape or stripes were added to the tips of the belts to signify progress between belts.
Despite all of this, progress and growth are the key. Students today earn and are awarded their next rank signified by a new belt. The belt really doesn't matter, anyone can order a colored or black belt online. The Certificate of Rank signed by a certified Instructor is what validates the belt.
During a ranking ceremony students show their proficiency in the material they have been learning. What I love about the way that we do our Ceremonies is that since we are a school, we are a team. As a team we train together, learn together, compete together, win and loose together, and test together.
This gives the higher ranking students a chance to help the lower ranking students succeed by example. If a lower ranking student happens to forget some of the material they simply have to follow along with the higher ranking students. Then one day those same lower ranking students will be the higher ranking students providing the help by being the example.
Everyone has been working really hard during this semester and I am proud of everyone.
You all deserve this Promotion Ceremony Week! Asa!