Black Belt = M.D.? WTF?

Happy post-holidays!

Last week I read about a disagreement between two dan grades in a shotokan school. In a nutshell, one was spouting off some Behavioral pseudo-science to the students about muscular reflexes and their role in efficient technique. After another dan grade debated him on the value of centering beginner’s training around outdated and irrelevant theories, a white belt who happened to be a medical doctor was consulted as an authority on anatomy and physiology. The white belt’s reply:  “he was not qualified to discuss this stuff with full black belts.” Let me frame the question that is hopefully coalescing in the reader’s mind: what in the hell does holding a dan grade have to do with authority in medical discussions? Does becoming a dan grade somehow turn one into a combination of Einstein (mass x speed = reverse punch), Clint Eastwood (“I know what you’re thinking- did he kiai five times, or six?”)  and Henry Grey?

Nope. People in black belts are a dime a dozen, and there’s no reason to think that it’s a symbol of a superhuman feat or certification that one is a polymath. There’s an awful lot of bullshit in the air about what a black belt is, as evidenced by the M.D. who deferred a question about his field to someone with no medical training whatsoever- simply because he wore a dark piece of cloth around his waist…use your brain. Don’t let bullshit take the place of hard-won valuable knowledge.



3 responses to “Black Belt = M.D.? WTF?

  1. Adam says, Seriously, I am not Mr. Karate.

    in the old days in China and India, the instructor WAS the doctor/bonesetter (and this continues to the present day)-

    but the barefoot doctors of Mao Tse-tung’s day are of now relics of another era-

    maybe we should mandate every black belt pass the National Registry for First Responders /EMTs so they will at least be clued into what the prebasics of medicine is and to be able to discern physiognomical myths from reality

  2. Or cue people to the fact that empty hand doesn’t have to mean empty head.

  3. Adam says, Seriously, I am not Mr. Karate.

    They should learn from several UFC fighters- quite a few of them have at least a bachelor’s degree.

    Most of the top fighters listen to the doctors, sports trainers and nutritionists, and they get results.

    I feel sorry for the other students of the black belts-

    In Israel to be allowed to teach martial arts (be it judo, karate, krav maga, kung fu, aikido) publicly one has to go pass an 140 hrs instructors course, of which 60 hrs is dedicated to anatomy, physiology, developmental psychology, and pedagogical training methods at the Wingate Institute (Israel’s college for physical education and sports sciences, named after Charles Orde Wingate who created the Chindits – British Army units which wrecked havoc on the Japanese in Burma during WWII)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s