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Understanding the Belt and grading System Part II

Understanding the Belt and grading System

There has not always been a grading and belt system in martial arts; originally there was a teacher and the student. The first black belt was introduced in judo, it was then followed by the coloured belt system. The grading system was introduced in class situations to encourage and mark the progress of each student, allowing the teacher to quickly identify what level the student is at and what new concepts the student needed to learn.

Like any test, the grading exam is not a perfect way of assessing competence.

Passing a test that results in a license to drive does not automatically make a good driver.

A student is only as good as his/her ability at every training session. A grading acknowledges ability at a particular 'point in time' - the true test of a person’s Martial Arts level is their ongoing commitment to the art.

White Belt

Almost all martial arts students begin as white belts. The colour white symbolizes an innocence of knowledge in the martial arts. White is like an empty void to be filled with knowledge and experience in the martial arts. As a white belt, students will generally learn the fundamentals of the style they are studying

Yellow Belt

A yellow belt signifies the first rays of sunlight shining down on a martial arts student. They are like new shoots, the beginning of a new life as the student takes his first step away from being a beginner with no knowledge of the martial art. As a yellow belt, students commonly expand their basic knowledge of their martial art and strengthen their fundamentals

Green Belt

Green belts signify a student's progress, like a tree, the new shoots become stronger and with patience and practice they begin to grow. As a green belt, students learn more advanced techniques and begin to refine their fundamental skills and create firm foundation of martial arts knowledge on which to build as they practice and refine their skills

Blue Belt

The blue belt signifies the blue of the sky. As a blue belt, students grow "stronger" in their development as martial artists, just as trees grow higher spreading out new branches and reaching for the sky. Blue belts have gained a more sophisticated understanding and ability in the martial art they are studying. The blue-belt student focuses his energy on achieving the next level

Purple Belt

Purple represents the changing sky of dawn; the purple light reflecting on the mountains, the branches of the tree undergoes a dramatic change and becomes much stronger and resilient. Once again the student undergoes a new change and prepares for the transition to advanced student. A purple belt starts to begin to understand the meaning of the black belt and what it represents, which gives the student a new focus which sometimes can be daunting

Brown Belt

The brown belt signifies the ripening maturing and strengthening of the branches. They have begun to amass a large arsenal of skills and are more than capable of using them. They are strong and able to support themselves and others; however, they have not progressed to the highest level and must therefore be regarded with caution as they are not yet in full control of their powers

Senior Brown (Black Tags)

The senior brown belt is a symbol of the how the strong branches have developed into the solid strong bows that you only see on mature trees, closely connected to their Black Belt Instructor. The Belt that senior brown students wear, has black tags symbolising the student finally has a number of the right elements needed to achieve a black belt. The student is gaining a level of maturity necessary to advance to the highest levels. They are reaping the benefits of hard work, dedication and determination

Black Belt

The Black Belt Is the trunk of the tree standing proud tall and closely connected to all the branches and shoots with a direct connection to earth by the roots of the artform, the Master Grades, who have a vast wealth of knowledge and understanding they have weathered many storms and held strong. As white belt a student had no knowledge of the martial arts. Now as a black belt the student has been tested and proved their mastery in all the skills and techniques required to become a Black Belt in Tetsudo. Black is the final coloured belt you can attain in all martial arts. However, black belts continue to learn and grow as they train with each other. The Black Belt is an ambassador of the artform and these words are embroidered on the belt, these words are a promise, an oath and must be upheld by the wearer. The belt is on loan from the artform and could be taken back if the standards are not maintained. The Black Belt is still a student of the art form and sees this as a new beginning and not the end of their training. Black Belts continue training, as always, with the view of seeking knowledge and enlightenment

Within the black belt level, a separate ranking system breaks down mastery into degrees, or levels of achievement, the evolution of an individual’s skill and knowledge beyond black belt into the senior ranks is hard to grade It is beyond technique. It lies in the person’s insights and their ability to pass on what they know to other students. After many decades it is possible achieve Master Grade Level where finally the Black Belt achieves enlightenment and becomes his or her own teacher

In Tetsudo Guru Dhaliwal is the single highest ranking Black Belt and is represented by the Earth from which everything grows from where the artform of Tetsudo originated. Seeds were planted in the mind of guru Dhaliwal by his teacher Guru Tambo Tetsura. Guru Dhaliwal has tended and nurtured these ideas and concepts for many years and which have evolved into the artform we have today: Tetsudo


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