E-Judo

Judo network and forum


    Red belt with white squares

    Share

    justcurious

    Posts : 28
    Join date : 2013-02-03

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by justcurious on Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:52 pm

    Cichorei Kano wrote:
    DougNZ wrote:
    Jonesy wrote:Some thoughts on red/white vs white/red here: http://www.chitoryu.com/Ranks.htm

    Also, http://avengersdantai.net/Obi&Gi.htm

    Interesting second article, thanks, Jonesy. I wonder how universal the Avenger's belt system is within karate. Some of their information seems contradictory, taken the site over. I also become wary when people talk about shogo, dani and other titles in the same breath.

    There are several errors in those texts. For example, in the second text it reads: "Jigoro Kano chose to recognize sixth, seventh, and eighth degree black belts with a special obi made of alternating red and white panels (kohaku obi)."

    This is not true. The kohaku belt as introduced by Kanô Jigorô actually extended from 6th to 9th dan, not 8th dan. The red belt was designated for 10th, 11th and higher dan-ranks. Only later under Nangô Jirô this was changed when after Kanô's death the Kôdôkan limited the highest dan-rank to 10, now that Kanô had never awarded any rank higher than 10th.

    The references to Genpei and Genji etc. may be somewhat confusing to people hence some clarification. The Genpei war, origin of the colors red vs. white took place between 1180-1185 between the Minamoto and Taira clans. 'Minamoto' is the kun pronunciation of the kanji 源, but its on pronunciation is actually gen, whereas Taira is the kun pronunciation of 平 while its on pronunciation is 平, hence why the combination of the two names 'Minamoto' and 'Taira' can be pronounced as 'Gen + hei' or 'Genpei'.

    The Genpei war was a critical and significant event in the history of Japanes budô. Although it would take another 350 years before the first jûjutsu schools (inter alia Takanouchi-ryû in 1532) would be established, it is the time when the Japanese katana would reach its perfection. Before the Kamakura period (1185-1333) the shape of the swords is not standardized. There are few swords left from the Heian period (794-1185) and although some late Heian swords are already katana most are not and not significantly different from swords in other countries. The Genpei war is also critical as the bedrock of bushidô despite claims from some that bushidô would be some kind of modern invention. When the foundations of a Japanese moral war code started to form themselves it was not under the name bushidô, but under the name kyûba-no-michi or the Way of bow and arrow. At that time it was not a fully developed moral code as it lacked the infusion of well-described philosophical bedrock, nor was it a generally accepted or expected way of behavior. Further development and changes of name into first shidô and later bushidô would extend over centuries. Nevertheless, the event is critical in Japan's military history and together with the other major war 400 years later (Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 resulting in the final unification of Japan), represents the most significant historic Japanese military event before its involvement in the 1904-1905 Great Japanese Russian War and World War II.

    It is the winning Minamoto clan that gave rise to the creation of the shôgun figure, which did not previously exist. This new position was established in Kamakura rather than in Kyôto, hence the start of a new era called "Kamakura period", inter alia characterized by the creation of a separate military government (named bakufu) in addition to the ruling emperor. However, despite the win, the rivalry between Minamoto and Taira which continued to exist due to family ties, hence why their colors red vs. white are so impactful in the Japanese understanding of 'competing interests' between two parties.

    I wanted to add the brief introduction above not certain how familiar the average person is with this, and to contextualized the background against which the introduction of the concept 'kohaku' needs to be understood.

    Thanks for this. I find this discussion very interesting. Could I please ask one question. I had previously understood that the original belt system under Kano contemptated as the highest award (above judan) a white belt twice as wide as a traditional obi. Is this totally incorrect?

    DougNZ

    Posts : 395
    Join date : 2013-01-28

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by DougNZ on Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:34 am

    justcurious wrote:
    Cichorei Kano wrote:There are several errors in those texts. For example, in the second text it reads: "Jigoro Kano chose to recognize sixth, seventh, and eighth degree black belts with a special obi made of alternating red and white panels (kohaku obi)."

    This is not true. The kohaku belt as introduced by Kanô Jigorô actually extended from 6th to 9th dan, not 8th dan. The red belt was designated for 10th, 11th and higher dan-ranks. Only later under Nangô Jirô this was changed when after Kanô's death the Kôdôkan limited the highest dan-rank to 10, now that Kanô had never awarded any rank higher than 10th.

    Thanks for this. I find this discussion very interesting. Could I please ask one question. I had previously understood that the original belt system under Kano contemptated as the highest award (above judan) a white belt twice as wide as a traditional obi. Is this totally incorrect?

    As I understand it, and CK will be able to confirm or otherwise, Kano provided for 12 dan grades and alluded to any further grades being represented by a white belt. With the re-organisation, 10th dan became the highest, represented by a red belt. However, in Western Europe, some interpreted the restructure to mean 10th dan was represented by a white belt (double width) and 8th and 9th by a red belt.

    Here is an example: http://cyberechos.creteil.iufm.fr/cyber11/sports/judo/lejudo.htm

    Cichorei Kano

    Posts : 1948
    Join date : 2013-01-16
    Age : 856
    Location : the Holy See

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:08 am

    justcurious wrote:
    Thanks for this. I find this discussion very interesting. Could I please ask one question. I had previously understood that the original belt system under Kano contemptated as the highest award (above judan) a white belt twice as wide as a traditional obi. Is this totally incorrect?

    There is no mention of this in the original text by Kanô. It simple reads in Kanô's exact words: "十段 以上を紅色とし、その以外は白色とする。" (...), which means "Someone in the capacity of 10th dan or above, aside from red color, may also use white color."

    There is no indication that this white belt would be double in width. Now, that does not mean that it is not true. It only means that IN THAT TEXT there is no such indication. By the way, there "red color" there is pronounced "aka-iro". There are several possibilities with regard to further characteristics of the white belt:

    1. Originally belts were worn in Kôdôkan that were not specific jûdô belts and that did not indicate dan-rank, since dan-ranks did not originally exist at the start of Kôdôkan in 1882. Those belts were similar to those worn in some koryû under the hakama and which are much wider.

    You can see those belts here:



    Thus the origin of the speculation may simply refer to the original belts worn, and represent a misunderstanding.

    2. It is possible that Kanô talks about it in another text which unfortunately I do not have accessible, but he does discuss jûdô ranks also in an article in one of the old magazines, either Jûdô or Yûkô-no-katsudô, but I cannot verify that right now and I do not recall it off the top of my head.

    3. It is possible that even if Kanô never decided this that it was decided so by the Kôdôkan during the vacuum caused by Kanô's death and the appointment of a new kanchô which did not occur immediately.

    4. It may be a legend which is untrue.

    One of those 4 is the most likely option, but I can at this stage not prove which one. For that you need to be patient.

    However, the Kôdôkan addressed the issue in Jûdô of November 1963. Its formal response to the question of the ranks of 11th and 12th really exist, it responds that these are theoretical grades that have never been awarded, and that the classical hierarchy stops at 10th, which at that point was the highest rank someone was in possession of (both Mifune and Samura). It adds though that ... "as there is no limit to the level of knowledge that can be acquired by improvement, there is not limit to the grade that one can receive as reward. If someone reaches the stage above 10th dan, there is no reason to refuse to give him 11th dan. And if there were a man of such worth that he merited an even higher reward he could then become 12th dan. He would then have the right to be called shihan, which up till now has only been given to the founder of Judo. But we are in the field of theory and the Kodokan at the moment does not envisage any nominations to these grades." (...)

    Again, one has to be careful. It is not because that is the official response of the Kôdôkan at that time that it is also historically correct. Clearly, Kanô in his own words talked about ranks of 10th dan AND HIGHER. Whether as the Kôdôkan suggests in 1963 these higher ranks would still exist is a matter of interpretation since the Kôdôkan itself formally cancelled them at the same time it decided that no one would be awarded the title of shihan in jûdô. I would have to look up exactly when this happened but I recall it was a couple of years after the death of Kanô and under Nangô Jirô. There is another anomaly in a sense that Mifune's 10th dan certificate does in fact mention the title shihan, which is also not in exact agreement with either the Kôdôkan's decision following the death of Kanô or its formal response in 1963.

    In other words, I cannot at this point in time conclusively address your question, but I speculate that there is no historic proof of it (apart from of course the zillions of Western popular judo books in which all kinds of nonsense is suggested), which ... also does not mean it is untrue. I fear that that is the best you are going to get.



    Last edited by Cichorei Kano on Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:38 am; edited 1 time in total


    _________________


    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."

    Cichorei Kano

    Posts : 1948
    Join date : 2013-01-16
    Age : 856
    Location : the Holy See

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:26 am

    DougNZ wrote:
    justcurious wrote:
    Cichorei Kano wrote:There are several errors in those texts. For example, in the second text it reads: "Jigoro Kano chose to recognize sixth, seventh, and eighth degree black belts with a special obi made of alternating red and white panels (kohaku obi)."

    This is not true. The kohaku belt as introduced by Kanô Jigorô actually extended from 6th to 9th dan, not 8th dan. The red belt was designated for 10th, 11th and higher dan-ranks. Only later under Nangô Jirô this was changed when after Kanô's death the Kôdôkan limited the highest dan-rank to 10, now that Kanô had never awarded any rank higher than 10th.

    Thanks for this. I find this discussion very interesting. Could I please ask one question. I had previously understood that the original belt system under Kano contemptated as the highest award (above judan) a white belt twice as wide as a traditional obi. Is this totally incorrect?

    As I understand it, and CK will be able to confirm or otherwise, Kano provided for 12 dan grades and alluded to any further grades being represented by a white belt. With the re-organisation, 10th dan became the highest, represented by a red belt. However, in Western Europe, some interpreted the restructure to mean 10th dan was represented by a white belt (double width) and 8th and 9th by a red belt.

    Here is an example: http://cyberechos.creteil.iufm.fr/cyber11/sports/judo/lejudo.htm

    Not in entirely correct, although several Western popular jûdô books write similar things. In Kanô's original writing he does not talk about any maximum, only about progression of skills and knowledge and how it is indicated. He then mentions the colors of belt that indicate that progression, i.e. black for 1st through 5th dan, red/white for 6th through 9th dan, red for 10th AND ABOVE (without indicating anywhere that the limit would be 12th dan) eventually also to be indicated by a white belt. That's all there is. All of the rest is deduction, most likely improper deducation and personal opinions including by later Kôdôkan sensei UNLESS the other text by Kanô, which I do not have here, adds anything significant to what Kanô himself writes on this in Kanō Jigorō. Jūdō kyōhon jōkan (柔道教範 上潘) [A textbook of jūdō]. Tōkyō: Shushiki Kaisha; 1931, p. 10-11. [in Japanese]

    The same text, by the way, is also one of the first, if not the very first where jûdôka (in this case Mifune and Kanda) are depicted wearing kohaku obi. Although several pictures circulate on the Internet, I am looking at the original documents right now to verify if the way the red/white color was organized differed and was always red at the end or not. This is, however, very difficult to conclusively derive from the pictures because jûdô belts traditionally are not tied the way they are today. Westerners and young Japanese today let the ends of their belts hang loose, whereas most female Japanese and senior Japanese tuck them in, but historically most tied them in a double or single bow. For that reason one oftentimes can't establish for sure if that what one is actually seeing on a historic pictures there represents the color at the ends or not. None of the classical texts by Nagaoka, Yamashita, Kudô etc, from the early 1930s contain any kohaku belts. All still wear black indicating the novelty of the kohaku belt, despite their promotion in April 1930 (of Nagaoka, Isogai and Yamashita) to 9th dan, which the also would be kohaku belts ...

    By the way, the link between belt colors (black) and dan-rank probably dates from 1886, and formal criteria for promotion were for the first time established in 1912 and revamped in 1923. I don't have those last ones in front of me, so I can't verify if criteria are mentioned for top dan-ranks or what exactly the text says word for word.

    Another thing to take into account that may have affected exactly how things would evolve later, espec. after Kanô's death, is how exactly the Butokukai did things, and how that might have differed from Kôdôkan and might have also affected knowledge that was spread abroad.


    _________________


    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."

    DougNZ

    Posts : 395
    Join date : 2013-01-28

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by DougNZ on Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:29 am

    Thank you for your incredibly insightful replies, CK, as well as the literal translation of Kano's words. Your translation is subtly different from the versions I have seen previously (even here or on the previous forum).

    I did not realise about the bows used to tie obi, but that explains various pictures I have seen. I believe there is even one of Kawaishi with his kohaku obi tied thus, so presumably taken during the 1950s.

    You raise an interesting final point regarding the influence, if any, of the DNBK on grades.

    Cichorei Kano

    Posts : 1948
    Join date : 2013-01-16
    Age : 856
    Location : the Holy See

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:54 am

    DougNZ wrote:Thank you for your incredibly insightful replies, CK, as well as the literal translation of Kano's words. Your translation is subtly different from the versions I have seen previously (even here or on the previous forum).

    This is indeed possible, even if I am the same author. This is because mostly I write from memory, sometimes from notes, in rare cases directly from the original source. Even then, translating Japanese is not always straightforward. Some English-language Japanese newspapers have translation contests and the best responses are printed, usually two or so. You will always see differences, partly because of the typical syntactic of the Japanese language, and because some expressions depending on context may have different meaning. For example, "以上" can mean, depending on the context "and beyond" or "above" or "not less than". The three are not identical in English. Clearly "above 10th dan" is not identical to "10th dan and beyond"; the first example refers to ranks starting at 11th dan, while the second example also still includes the 10th dan itself. Certainly, when one writes from memory such delicate differences may not always transpire. In any case, as far as known, no 10th dan holder in jûdô is known to have ever worn a white belt to indicate that rank, and since no one has been awarded a higher rank (except some self-promoted geeks) in judo than 10th dan, the point is more or less mute. Some authors, as far as I recall, only those of Western popular books, assert that Kanô would have sometimes worn such a white belt on his gi. As intriguing as that may sound I am very reluctant to believe that. Several reasons for that. There are quite a bit of pictures of Kanô. In most he does not even wear a gi, but when he does, he invariably wears a black belt, not red, not white, only black. Some authors of such Western popularized books have also claimed that Kanô supposedly would have held the rank of 12th dan in Kôdôkan jûdô. There is no substance to this. Every single Japanese historic source in agreement with what would culturally be proper, and does not assign any rank to the founder. The title of Kanô is "shihan" (of Kôdôkan), period. Thus it will read when he demonstrated something with Yamashita: "Performers: Kanô Jigorô, Kôdôkan shihan (tori) & Yamashita Yoshitsugu, Kôdôkan 8th dan". Similarly, Ueshiba Morihei did not hold any rank in aikidô either.


    _________________


    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."

    Jonesy

    Posts : 984
    Join date : 2013-01-02

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by Jonesy on Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:02 am

    Cichorei Kano wrote:
    DougNZ wrote:I would be interested in evidence to support you assertion; at what point in time, by whom and acting under what authority did a 'rule' become born stating that judo kohaku belts had red ends whilst karate had white ends?
    You want evidence ?  I assume you also want that for free ?

    What does "kohaku" mean ?  Doe it mean white and red ?  No, it literally means "red and white", first red, then white. The colors are derived from the traditional opposition of red vs. white in the Genpei war (1180–1185), i.e. the respective colors of the Taira vs. the Minamoto clan. Hence competition of something between two teams is often referred to as 'kohaku', i.e. red vs. white. The same colors are found back on the kōhaku maku 紅白幕, the red and white Japanese festival curtains, which similarly start with red, then white, not white, than red, and they also end on red. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dhaku_maku

    In other words, if used in stripes, 'kohaku' is understood to mean starting by red and ending on red. The same colors going back to the Taira and Minamoto later after the Genpei war also became the two colors for Japan's national flag.

    By whom ad acting under what authority did such rule become that jûdô kohaku bels had red ends ?  Um, by Kanô himself under the authority of shihan of Kôdôkan jûdô. At what point in time ?  They were introduced in March of 1930 (some sources say March 1926). Evidence ?  Kanô's own jûdô book (he only wrote one book on jûdô; I am not considering the booklet published by the Japanese Tourist Board a book), thus:

    Kanō Jigorō: Jūdō kyōhon jōkan [A textbook of jūdō]. Tōkyō: Shushiki Kaisha; 1931, p. 7.

    The idea originally was that people would wear these special belts all the time, but a modification was made after Kanô's death, and under Jirô Nangô in 1943. It was then made a rule that during ceremonial occasions 9th dan holders should wear red belts instead of black belts (after Kanô's death and the limitation to 10 dan ranks, red belts were changed to start from 9th instead of 10th dan). Initially Kanô had determined that kohaku belts would also include 9th dan.

    You will not find depictions of red and white belts in jûdô from before that date. In Kanô's 1931 book you'll see them being worn by Kanda-sensei and Mifune-sensei. These are some of the oldest depictions of jûdô's kohaku belt.

    There are older depictions of the kōhaku maku, and they started and ended on red. Here's an older depiction from 1920, but it does not allow to see it's begin and end:



    This one allows you to see begin and end, which each time indeed properly is red, which is why the term is 'kohaku' and not 'haku-ko':



    I am not 100% certain about the kujiramku, which are the black/white death screens. That term does not literally include the order of colors, and more over in English "black and white" is an expres​sion(cfr. "black and white photography", "black and white movie") but not "white and black", so I am not 100% certain if variation there is allowed.

    DougNZ wrote:
    Could it have been that a cheap belt manufacturer producing white-ended kohaku obi just happened to be located in Okinawa, the home of karate?  I recently saw a cheap kohaku belt out of Australia that had one red and one white end.  Is that for Australian masters of both judo and karate?  Smile
    The belt maker in Okinawa does not exactly make "cheap belts". It was a Shureidô 守礼堂 belt. If one thinks about it, the confusion isn't really possible, because ... Shureidô does not even make jûdô equipment, only karate (and kobudô) equipment and is quite conservative. Thus logically the belt could not even be a jûdô belt. (I note though that these days they seem to have adopted their product line: the Japanese page only lists black belts and lower colored belts: http://www.shureido-karate.com/SHOP/370287/list.html, whereas the US website also includes a jûdô-style kohaku belt).

    The case of karate is, however, far more complicated and I cannot satisfactorily answer your question with regard to that aspect. The reason is simply that karate is completely divided over numerous styles, with often Okinawan styles being distinguished from 'Japanese' karate styles, and Japanese styles also being different from each other. As far as I know the term "kohaku belt" is not typically used in karate by Japanese. Some styles maintain black belts all the way, some Okinawan styles incorporate one or two horizontal stripes for high ranks, and there are numerous varieties such as black-/white-paneled belts, and all kinds of other things. Some masters, such as Yamaguchi-sensei in Gôjû-ryû or Chitose-sensei wore red belts. Does the JKA even use colored belts at all for high dan ranks ? Dont think I ever saw Nakayama Masatoshi-sensei or Kanazawa Hirokazu-sensei in anything else but gi with a black belt. I don't know what Funakoshi himself wrote about belts and I would need to look it up, but I have no access to his major texts at this moment. Perhaps a karate scholar with immediate access to Funakoshi's original texts can address that part of your question more satisfactorily.
    I am of course aware that kohaku means "red and white" but does it explicitly mean "red then white" in a prescriptive order. Linguistically, in English, the accepted convention seems to be to use "something and white" (e.g. red and white belt, black and white photograph etc.) rather than "white and something" - "white and something" just sounds wrong on the ear.

    Interestingly, one of my sensei used to call the belt not a kohaku obi, but a shima obi = Striped belt

    As for the kohaku maku, well here is a photograph of the Butokuden perhaps showing one beginning in red and ending in white:



    Wrt karate, I have Funakoshi's original text, I will check but I do not recall him saying anything about belt colours. I have seen Okinawan masters wear a red belt at 9 and 10 dan, but I have never seen a karateka wear a red/white or white/red belt. Most high ranking Western karateka I have seen wear a badly frayed (originally black) silk belt, where most of the silk has come off leaving a white/cream/beige colour underneath.

    NBK

    Posts : 1060
    Join date : 2013-01-10
    Location : Tokyo, Japan

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by NBK on Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:08 am

    DougNZ wrote:Thank you for your incredibly insightful replies, CK, as well as the literal translation of Kano's words.  Your translation is subtly different from the versions I have seen previously (even here or on the previous forum).

    I did not realise about the bows used to tie obi, but that explains various pictures I have seen.  I believe there is even one of Kawaishi with his kohaku obi tied thus, so presumably taken during the 1950s.

    You raise an interesting final point regarding the influence, if any, of the DNBK on grades.
    CK makes the point of how much different Japanese to English interpretations can vary. The more esoteric the topic, they can vary pretty dramatically.

    Many photos show Mifune sensei wearing what appears to be a thin, black silk obi tied in a single bow. I went to the budo goods shop that supplies belts to the Kodokan and asked the old gent, near 80 (several years ago, too) I reckon, when the change from those thin obi to the much thicker, cotton / whatever material, multiple folded over and sewn obi occurred. He didn't know, so I suspect the answer is lost to history.

    The DNBK had its impact on ranks. Ueshiba sensei apparently didn't assign dan ranks before he joined the second, 'reformed' Butokukai. One of the first ranks he granted was to Dr. Tomiki Kenji, his deshi in Manchuria, promoting him to 8dan.

    NBK

    DougNZ

    Posts : 395
    Join date : 2013-01-28

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by DougNZ on Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:58 am

    Moving away from the kohaku obi, what would the Japanese name be for the double-width white belt (of Western fame, I guess, rather than Japanese)? How would it be discribed in Japanese? Simply as 'shiro obi', or something also describing its width?

    Cichorei Kano

    Posts : 1948
    Join date : 2013-01-16
    Age : 856
    Location : the Holy See

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:35 am

    DougNZ wrote:Moving away from the kohaku obi, what would the Japanese name be for the double-width white belt (of Western fame, I guess, rather than Japanese)?  How would it be discribed in Japanese?  Simply as 'shiro obi', or something also describing its width?
    Most likely there has never existed any "double width-white belt" as it is mentioned in some Westen judo books and as this is perceived by Westerners, namely a true judo belt that would be twice as wide. The reference problably originates in the days before judoka wore actual judogi and wore haori or montsugi (as Kanô does in the famous koshiki-no-kata film with Yamashita). Those belts are not judo belts and are also worn in many koryû underneath the hakama. They are much wider. If the haori is very formal then these belts are discreet and plain in color. In judo's initial discreet setting the belts that were worn the most were white or black. Later, the color black started to get associated with experience, and more experienced judoka tended to wear the black variation. These belts are called "kaku-obi", written 角帯. They are a much simplified version of the elaborate female obi.

    You see them here:




    There exist even other names for obi, such as the "shima-obi" or "jûdô shima-obi". This means "striped jûdô belt". I have in very rare occasions heard this term being used to refer to kohaku belts, but I think that it is an erroneous designation. The term is in itself confusing as it could also be understood as referring to the joshi obi. However, what the term "shima obi" really refers to is an actual kimono obi, thus a much wider belt as in the first clip in this post, but no longer plain, but with a horizontal stripes.


    _________________


    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."

    DougNZ

    Posts : 395
    Join date : 2013-01-28

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by DougNZ on Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:17 am

    That is very interesting, thank you, CK.

    How do you translate 'kaku' into English?

    Further, would you describe the so-called double width white belt as shiro kaku obi?

    Cichorei Kano

    Posts : 1948
    Join date : 2013-01-16
    Age : 856
    Location : the Holy See

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:13 pm

    DougNZ wrote:That is very interesting, thank you, CK.

    How do you translate 'kaku' into English?

    Further, would you describe the so-called double width white belt as shiro kaku obi?
    The 'kaku' in "kaku obi" is one of those words with numerous meanings. In Japanese and Chinese words really get a specific meaning only when used as a binomen, thus in combination with a second word. In other words, it is difficult to determine from the word 'kaku' what "kaku obi" is, but when the two are used together then the meaning of that composite words is unambiguous.

    'Kaku', written 角, can mean: square, angle, corner, pavement, edge, even bishop (!), it's also an old Chinese monetary unit, rimmed, rectangular, and it can mean horn. So, probably not very helpful, sorry, but this is Japanese ! Chinese is even much more weird. In Chinese, the kanji is pronounced jiǎo, but its meaning is similar to its meaning in Japanese.

    Yes, the terms shiro kaku obi and kuro kaku obi exist.

    An example of the shiro kaku obi is given on this page (5th row, 1st colum):

    http://www.soubien.jp/category/841_1.html

    The obi on the first row, second column, and all obi on the 4th row, are examples of the striped obi or shima obi.


    _________________


    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."

    DougNZ

    Posts : 395
    Join date : 2013-01-28

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by DougNZ on Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:26 pm

    In doing a bit of googling, I saw translations of 'kaku obi' as 'stiff sash', due to it having a cotton lining.  Does that ring true?

    Cichorei Kano

    Posts : 1948
    Join date : 2013-01-16
    Age : 856
    Location : the Holy See

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:48 pm

    DougNZ wrote:In doing a bit of googling, I saw translations of 'kaku obi' as 'stiff sash', due to it having a cotton lining.  Does that ring true?
    The term 'stiff' is nowhere implied in the word 'kaku'. However, production technologies change. Some brands in Japan like KuSakura, their belts inside do not contain the same kind of cotton inlay they used to and I wonder if it is an artificial fabric that keeps the belt stiffer with despite it being thinner.

    I find the term 'sash' very difficult. In Japan, the white or red belt that are worn over the rank-belt are typically different and are oftentimes still tied in traditional way, as judo rank belts used to be tied, that is in a bow or half bow.

    However, this has never been the case in the West. In the West, the red and white belt that were worn on top of the other belt were also ordinary judo belts and were always tied in the same way (double, and with a flat knot with ends hanging down) as a the rank belt. So, why if one wears two identically manufactured belts would one call one 'belt' and the other one 'sash' I have no idea, but it does not appear logical.

    To me, the term 'sash' implies something that is often shorter than a belt, and something that is not necessarily sturdy and tightly tied. That being said "kaku obi" is often translated as "man's sash" as opposed to ordinary "kimono obi" (women), but I find the word 'sash' in that translation odd and not accurately visually reflecting what to expect.

    I am not a iaidô practitioner although I did use to practice kenjutsu/iaijutsu but my currently life simply does not allow me the time for that, so I am not current on every evolution in material, and while I have opened many judo belts, I have never opened these other belts, so I am not 100% certain how they are made. The information may be on some of the manufacturer's websites. I cannot research it now due to acute lack of time.

    So, to go back to your question, that explanation somewhat surprises me, but I am unable to outright reject or accept it because I do not possess all the necessary data. Maybe NBK knows something more about as he is involved with several different arts too.


    _________________


    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."

    NBK

    Posts : 1060
    Join date : 2013-01-10
    Location : Tokyo, Japan

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by NBK on Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:40 am

    I can't find anything on the origin or significance of the term 'kaku' obi, but also have seen it translated as a stiff obi.  That presumably is to differentiate it from the 'heko obi', a soft sash that became popular as older, traditional formal Japanese wear among the upper classes gave way to more relaxed styles after the Meiji restoration.  Heko obi  

    I have various types, from thin, dressy ones to (initially) very stiff black canvas ones I bought for martial arts.  Almost like a small sumo belt.  Tied around your waist, it gives good support to your kidneys / wakibara.  

    One I have while a lot wider looks kind of like that of Mifune sensei in this photo IMAF Meijin including Mifune sensei - fairly wide, then tapered at the ends to facilitate tying.

    Without any data to support it, my impression is that they require pretty straight ties that come out squarish, hence 'kaku', but don't actually have a clue.  

    kaku obi - wide, stiff, has to be tied in a squarish manner

    Heko obi - much softer, can be tied in a variety of ways

    DougNZ

    Posts : 395
    Join date : 2013-01-28

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by DougNZ on Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:52 am

    Thank you for a very valuable response NBK. 'Stiff belt' is is then.

    Your assumption of the borrowing from 'square' or 'angled' makes sense. I note that, in a martial arts setting, wider belts are often best tied with a flat knot, which comprises a series of 45* folds.

    NBK

    Posts : 1060
    Join date : 2013-01-10
    Location : Tokyo, Japan

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by NBK on Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:00 am

    I would tend to disagree - just call it a 'kaku obi', describe it if needed as a 'wide, fairly stiff long sash typically tied with squared off knots....' but why do you even need that nomenclature in a judo / jujutsu dojo? Question 

    Just to complicate it more, if you type in Japanese 'keiko obi' in Google images, you get martial arts belts of a variety of widths and styles, depending on the art, but mostly the narrow judo / karate style obi.

    BillC

    Posts : 806
    Join date : 2012-12-28
    Location : Vista, California

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by BillC on Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:46 am

    NBK wrote:

    kaku obi - wide, stiff, has to be tied in a squarish manner

    Heko obi - much softer, can be tied in a variety of ways
    ... and tied in the back.


    _________________
    Oh, East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat;
    But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
    When two strong men stand face to face, though they come from the ends of the earth!

    - Kipling

    DougNZ

    Posts : 395
    Join date : 2013-01-28

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by DougNZ on Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:03 pm

    NBK wrote:I would tend to disagree - just call it a 'kaku obi', describe it if needed as a 'wide, fairly stiff long sash typically tied with squared off knots....'  but why do you even need that nomenclature in a judo / jujutsu dojo?  Question 
    I have been researching the origins and traditions of my jiu jitsu organisation.  I think this is important as many of the early teachers are getting older and many have already retired or died.  It is also important because the Kawaishi Method, from which we descend, did things differently from Kodokan, and the Dutch influence was different again from the French influence.  Further, the way things have been practiced in New Zealand for the past 50 years also has differences to Continental Kawaishi judo / jiu jitsu.  I am interested not only in the differences but in why they are different.  In other words, why was the change made; was it to 'improve' something or was it the result of a misunderstanding?  If the latter, should it be corrected or left to stand?  These are things I am researching.

    The belt tradition is one such difference.  The kohaku obi worn by Kawaishi was different to other contemporary kohaku obi.  Why?  We can only speculate.  I think CK's supposition that there was no standard at the time Kawaishi became eligible to wear kohaku obi and he had something tailored that was consistent with 'red and white striped belt' is plausible.  Our organisation maintains the tradition of Kawaishi's red and white squares belt with white ends.  It's different but it is part of our traditions.  It is 'wrong' by Kodokan standards but it is 'right' by our organisation's standards.

    Further, from about 1985, kohaku obi was awarded in New Zealand at godan. No-one here, not even the first recipient or the instructor who made the first award of it at godan, know why it came about.  I have suspicions as to how it came about but I have not been able to confirm them.  However, a number of godans in the New Zealand Kawaishi tradition have followed suit and it now the norm here amongst the Kawaishi schools.  In judo, shodan to godan are the 'fighting' grades and it is awarded at rokudan; in Kawaishi jiu jitsu here, shodan to yondan are the 'physical' grades and it is awarded at godan.

    The NZ Kawaishi tradition also awards aka obi at hachidan and it is expected that it is worn at kudan.  So far, there has been just one person of the NZ Kawaishi lineage to have reached beyond hachidan but, as a judan, he wears aka obi (he is heavily influenced by USA 'soke' rather than Kawaishi traditions and wears it with his red uwagi Shocked  Enough said).

    Finally, the NZ Kawaishi tradition records that the 'correct' belt for judan is the so-called double width white belt.  I have always wondered why, if we have kura, kohaku and aka obi, there has been no Japanese name attached to the latter, shiro obi not being quite so accurate a description.  My questions here were to provide a descriptor in Japanese for the double width white belt.  To me, shiro kaku obi seems an accurate descriptor (please note, I am not trying to invent an historical name for the belt; to date, I have found no such thing).  Following on from the discussions on this thread, I think that it is an apt descriptor as kaku obi was likely to have been worn by the generation of Kawaishi's instructors, particularly Yoshida Kotaro.

    If anyone thinks there is a better descriptor, please say so.

    NBK

    Posts : 1060
    Join date : 2013-01-10
    Location : Tokyo, Japan

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by NBK on Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:32 pm

    got any pix of it?

    DougNZ

    Posts : 395
    Join date : 2013-01-28

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by DougNZ on Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:35 pm

    NBK wrote:got any pix of it?
    If you mean the kohaku obi, just a glimpse in a poorly focussed photo. The squares look like vertical rectangles, though!  I might be able to arrange for another.
    Attachments
    Chch 13 seminar small.JPG
    You don't have permission to download attachments.
    (6 Kb) Downloaded 22 times

    Cichorei Kano

    Posts : 1948
    Join date : 2013-01-16
    Age : 856
    Location : the Holy See

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:31 pm

    DougNZ wrote:
    Further, from about 1985, kohaku obi was awarded in New Zealand at godan. No-one here, not even the first recipient or the instructor who made the first award of it at godan, know why it came about.  I have suspicions as to how it came about but I have not been able to confirm them.  However, a number of godans in the New Zealand Kawaishi tradition have followed suit and it now the norm here amongst the Kawaishi schools.  In judo, shodan to godan are the 'fighting' grades and it is awarded at rokudan; in Kawaishi jiu jitsu here, shodan to yondan are the 'physical' grades and it is awarded at godan.

    The NZ Kawaishi tradition also awards aka obi at hachidan and it is expected that it is worn at kudan.  So far, there has been just one person of the NZ Kawaishi lineage to have reached beyond hachidan but, as a judan, he wears aka obi (he is heavily influenced by USA 'soke' rather than Kawaishi traditions and wears it with his red uwagi Shocked  Enough said).

    Finally, the NZ Kawaishi tradition records that the 'correct' belt for judan is the so-called double width white belt.  I have always wondered why, if we have kura, kohaku and aka obi, there has been no Japanese name attached to the latter, shiro obi not being quite so accurate a description.  My questions here were to provide a descriptor in Japanese for the double width white belt.  To me, shiro kaku obi seems an accurate descriptor (please note, I am not trying to invent an historical name for the belt; to date, I have found no such thing).  Following on from the discussions on this thread, I think that it is an apt descriptor as kaku obi was likely to have been worn by the generation of Kawaishi's instructors, particularly Yoshida Kotaro.

    If anyone thinks there is a better descriptor, please say so.
    To set a couple of things straight:

    1. Most pictures showing Kawaishi in judogi are from when he was a 7th dan. I do, however, have rare pictures of him when he was a godan. He definitely wore an ordinary black belt then, and most certainly not a kohaku belt.

    2. I have the description by Kano himself of the belt system. In that he indicates that 10th dan and higher are indicated by a red belt, but those above 10th dan may if they wish also wear a white belt. There is no indication in there whatsoever that such a belt should be different in width, nor that it should be the sole prerogative of the shihan. In fact, that is denied by the very description since the shihan does not hold any dan-rank, and he is clearly writing about EVERYONE who achieves a rank above 10th dan.

    The origin of this supposed wider white belt goes back to a single publicatoin, as far as I know, namely the 1956 edition of Illustrated Kodokan Judo. From there it was copied by numerous populist judo books. Presumably the indication as either an error or a plan that never substantiated, probably due to the Kôdôkan's decision to curtail the dan-ranks to 10. In the same book the other error is contained about jûdô supposedly containing 12 dan ranks, which also has been adopted by many populist books. There is no indication whatsoever in any source by Kanô of 12 dan-ranks and it is one of the many errors which the Kodokan has made. Kanô talks about ranks of "10th dan and higher" and specifically says that there is no upper limit. But it was changed a few year following his death, officially out of respect, in reality probably because they were clueless about how to properly handle this hot potatoe.

    3. The rank of 8th dan in women was a red belt, when it was first issued. Female Kodokan 8th dan-holders are extremely rare. There have been only 4. Two of them are death: Fukuda and Niboshi. The first female 8th dan-rank was issued only in 1994, and was a red belt with a horizontal white stripe. Only two judoka have worn this belt. When the 3rd female was promoted to 8th dan in 2006, the belt now was the same as in males due to changes in promotion rules to remove any gender differences in promotion out of fear for litigation.



    _________________


    "The world is a republic of mediocrities, and always was." (Thomas Carlyle)
    "Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way." (Blaise Pascal)
    "Quand on essaie, c'est difficile. Quand on n'essaie pas, c'est impossible" (Guess Who ?)
    "I am never wrong. Once I thought I was, and that was a mistake."

    DougNZ

    Posts : 395
    Join date : 2013-01-28

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by DougNZ on Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:10 pm

    Cichorei Kano wrote:To set a couple of things straight:

    1. Most pictures showing Kawaishi in judogi are from when he was a 7th dan. I do, however, have rare pictures of him when he was a godan. He definitely wore an ordinary black belt then, and most certainly not a kohaku belt.
    I would love to see that picture.  Yes, I understand that Kawaishi himself did not deviate from the Kodokan convention; it is only NZ Kawaishi followers who did from 1985 onwards.

    Cichorei Kano wrote:2. I have the description by Kano himself of the belt system. In that he indicates that 10th dan and higher are indicated by a red belt, but those above 10th dan may if they wish also wear a white belt. There is no indication in there whatsoever that such a belt should be different in width, nor that it should be the sole prerogative of the shihan. In fact, that is denied by the very description since the shihan does not hold any dan-rank, and he is clearly writing about EVERYONE who achieves a rank above 10th dan.

    The origin of this supposed wider white belt goes back to a single publicatoin, as far as I know, namely the 1956 edition of Illustrated Kodokan Judo. From there it was copied by numerous populist judo books. Presumably the indication as either an error or a plan that never substantiated, probably due to the Kôdôkan's decision to curtail the dan-ranks to 10. In the same book the other error is contained about jûdô supposedly containing 12 dan ranks, which also has been adopted by many populist books. There is no indication whatsoever in any source by Kanô of 12 dan-ranks and it is one of the many errors which the Kodokan has made. Kanô talks about ranks of "10th dan and higher" and specifically says that there is no upper limit. But it was changed a few year following his death, officially out of respect, in reality probably because they were clueless about how to properly handle this hot potatoe.
    Understood, also.  I do not know whether the judan white belt was consciously adopted for jiu jitsu to set it apart or was made in error.  The idea of a judan white belt came to New Zealand from The Netherlands, so far as I can make out.  At any rate, it has never been awarded (or claimed) in this country.

    Cichorei Kano wrote:3. The rank of 8th dan in women was a red belt, when it was first issued. Female Kodokan 8th dan-holders are extremely rare. There have been only 4. Two of them are death: Fukuda and Niboshi. The first female 8th dan-rank was issued only in 1994, and was a red belt with a horizontal white stripe. Only two judoka have worn this belt. When the 3rd female was promoted to 8th dan in 2006, the belt now was the same as in males due to changes in promotion rules to remove any gender differences in promotion out of fear for litigation.
    Interesting.  However, I doubt this had any effect on the NZ Kawaishi belt system.  I presume that with white for judan at one end of the kodansha scale and kohaku for godan at the other, red for hachidan 'fitted' to give two grades of red and three grades of red-and-white (as with Kodokan - though not representing the same grades, of course).

    Jonesy

    Posts : 984
    Join date : 2013-01-02

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by Jonesy on Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:58 am

    http://www.nzjjs.org.nz/our-system.html


    _________________
    ジョーンズ

    Sponsored content

    Re: Red belt with white squares

    Post by Sponsored content Today at 1:36 am


      Current date/time is Sun Dec 11, 2016 1:36 am