A common misconception is that Dan ranks first as an expert. Black belts were thought to be reserved for teachers. They believed that any black belt could be considered an expert. Masters from other champion belt countries dispelled this myth. Most people realize it’s much easier to “go along with it” since they are the ones who pay their bills.
To make Korea more Japanese, it was forbidden from traditional martial arts. Instead, practicing Japanese martial arts such as Jujitsu, Judo and Karate were encouraged replica wrestling belts. While some Korean martial arts survived, Karate-style Korean martial arts evolved into Karate-style forms with similar uniforms to the rank system. The main difference between Japan’s ranking system and Korea’s is that most Korean art forms only have nine Dan ranks. Japan has 10.
Koreans consider Nine a unique number because it is the highest single-digit multiplication to 3, and they think it sacred. Although there wasn’t a standard ranking system for Chinese martial arts, the first American schools to adopt this system was in the 1960s. For students who were taught that they should be given belts, they began to distribute them in the 1960s. This belt-based system is used by most American Chinese combat sports. However, most schools use light sashes to differentiate themselves from Japanese or Korean schools. Traditional Chinese martial artists wore belts around their waists.
They were worn for three purposes. A sash tied to the left would indicate that they were male. You could tell if they tied the knot to their right that they were female. You would recognize them as instructors if they wore a knot in the middle of their bodies. Businesses couldn’t produce martial art uniforms in the early 1900s. Before the 1970s, Americans had to import Judo clothes from Japan.
Before this, there were no uniforms and wrestling belts. Teachers often gave students white belts as a starting point for their training before belts became widely available. To be promoted, students were required to dye their belts differently. This may have led to the belief that black belts are darker with age. This was a significant point of contention between Grandmaster Parker and the Tracy brothers, and it remained an issue that needed to be resolved.
Master Parker believed he could award rank to anyone he liked without passing the Greatest Wrestlers of All Time exams. Grandmaster Parker convinced Shodan students from other schools to join his group. Stories tell that the grandmaster offered Shodan brown belts to his students, or he didn’t have enough black belts.