TO WASH OR NOT TO WASH
by Grandmaster Eugene Perceval
Dr. Jigoro Kano, (1860-1938)
started studying Jujitsu at the age
of 17, after several instructors he became
very knowledgeable and proficient in
the art. Through this period he found
a method of taking the Jujitsu movements
and refining them and created what
we know today as Judo.
When Jigoro Kano was 22 years old he opened his Judo kodokan school
in Japan. Around 1887 two of Mr. Kano students were promoted, Tomita
Tsunejiro and Saigo Shiro. To distinguish their
advancement, Dr. Kano introduced the
black belt. There are several theories why these two colors were
used, but only in theory, past history cannot prove an actual answer.
Depending on the style that was being taught, some schools then
introduced the brown belt between white and black. An Okinawa karate
master, Gichin Funakoshi in 1920 when demonstrating his Okinawa
style at the Kodokan liked the belt system Dr. Kano was using and
started to introduce the different rankings of black belt.
True or false?
When martial arts belts were first introduced,
training on dirt floors or outside, in time your belt from being
kicked, thrown or grappling, the dirt would begin to turn your
belt darker in color to a brownish color. The darker the belt,
the more training and experience you had, it was like
wearing your experience and knowledge
around your waist. If you washed your belt, you would be recognized
as a new student and your knowledge and spirit would be washed away.
A beautiful and interesting story, unfortunately, traditionally
when the white belt became dirty it was washed. Today because of
its belief of this old traditional story and the love of the martial
arts, the story has
taken seed in the United States, and
today not washing your belt has become not only folklore but a tradition
of respect for ones belt and is accepted as fact, and now, an American
It is nice to share information, enjoy the rest of your day.
Grandmaster Eugene Perceval in New York