Black belts in kung fu?

A photo of me from 2011 practicing Baguazhang whilst wearing the Chinese Taoist Martial Arts Association uniform: school shirt, black pants, and white sash.

A photo of me from 2011 practicing Baguazhang whilst wearing the Chinese Taoist Martial Arts Association uniform: school shirt, black pants, and white sash. 

There was a discussion on LinkedIn in 2013 April asking why kung fu school were adopting the notion of colored belts or the more popular colored sash system. I’m generally of the opinion that belts and sashes are used to hold up your trousers or to serve as an improvised weapon if it ever comes to that, but I can’t deny that colored belts and so forth are a thing in many martial arts schools. Here was my response:

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