I agree with your thoughts about the belt system. It would be nice, however, if students would train with the goal of learning an art, not with the goal of owning a belt. A friend in my school once said to me at a belt ceremony “you realize that you are really not a better martial artist today than you were yesterday, right?”. Of course, his comment was meant as a joke, but there is a lot of real truth in that statement. Progress is slow and steady and takes years, and isn’t defined by large, sudden jumps in ability as the belt system might imply to some. Sometimes, I think that other students think, for example, that once they pass their green belt tests and attempt to pivot their base leg correctly that they have learned the sidekick and that it’s time to move on to other, bigger things! I am currently a green belt (and need to work on my sidekick for the next 10 years) and hope that I will always keep my rank in perspective. I hope I can always evaluate my technique honestly to measure my progress and not just look down at my belt.
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