Martial life

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Green belts know everything -- even the family secret recipe


Green belts (or whichever is equivalent to one or two years of training) are my favorite people to discuss martial arts with, especially when they don't know my background (which they usually don't). These are people who have trained enough to understand the basics of their art but not quite enough to master or even acknowledge the existence of the finer details and nuance and higher levels of training.

Photograph taken from

What I like about green belts is that they are opinionated and have definite opinions and theories about anything related to martial arts and will gladly share their insights with whoever will listen (or read, for those of you who consider me a green belt). They can tell you about the history of any martial arts, the distinctions of their systems or the usage of any movement. It is unfortunate that they often contribute to the propagation of misinformation and misconception.


That reminds me how kids, with their innocence and shallow understanding of the world, say the darndest things. Last week, my four year old niece who felt particularly talkative decided to inform her childless uncle - me - on how babies are made. Perhaps she was hinting at me to start going and make cousins for her to play with.


That day, I learned that when mommies and daddies love each other, the daddies use their secret baby recipe, handed down from their daddy to make baby food, which is then eaten by the mommy.  Once eaten, the food expands in mommy's stomach and (magically) transforms into a baby.

Use this cupcake if you want a blond spiky haired kid
Photograph taken from Kimberly Vaderman / Wikimedia Commons

Her daddy's recipe was in the form of cupcakes she guessed, which the mommy eats, which explains why her mommy sometimes calls her "cupcake".

She sure was convincing, to the point where I almost picked up the phone to ask my dad what the family recipe was. Although factually wrong, her story holds up pretty well and she could be recognized as the baby expert amongst her peers (which consists of toddlers and other small children). As long as her peers don't know any better, her story will be the one to be told. They may even write books, made out of their drawings and what little writing they know, to spread their knowledge of baby making.

This baby now knows the secret of life
photograph taken from César Rincón / wikimedia commons


Except for the lack of cuteness (most of them anyways), green belts are in many ways similar to toddlers. They are discovering a new world where they try to find points of reference in an effort to understand their surroundings.

One major difference between the two is that small children are illiterate and have no access to reliable information whereas green belts (unless they are small children) can access a wealth of information through books and websites like .

This baby seeks reliable martial arts information
Photograph taken from John Markos O'Neill / wikimedia commons

So why then don't they do some research before spreading inaccurate information?

Where did they get their information anyways, from books written by other green belts?

Why do they feel the need to talk about martial arts? Is it because they want to feel better about themselves by compensating their shortcoming in skills with their theoretical knowledge?

Could it be that green belts actually are always right and it is I that is treating them unfairly on the basis of the color of their belts?


To think of it, belts don't even have anything to do with statements made by individuals. I have met  black belts of high ranks say who would think the same way a green belt would , except with even more assurance and even a tint of arrogance.

Ashida Kim, who claims to be a descendant of a secret ninja organization.

Perhaps, it is human nature to communicate and share information. Green belt and toddler information exchange happens all the time in any social context (especially when brother-in-laws are around, edit: but not in my case...).

Unintentional misinformation can manifest itself when parents teach their children, when friends inform each other on topics they may not master or even what the media and governments, with what they tell the masses (although in the latter case, the misinformation is probably intentional in which case would fall under the category of propaganda)

Does this mean we should all take a silence vow and stop talking to people? No! What it does mean is that one should take the effort to honestly gather the maximum of information from different sources and keep an open mind. Failure to do so may lead to an exaggerated emphasis on facts that are convenient and aligned with our beliefs while discarding anything we do not agree with.

We may not always be right but if at least, we try to maintain some neutral integrity in the information we wish to convey then we will have already walked a step towards the right direction.




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Last Updated on Sunday, 14 November 2010 14:57  

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