Honorary Belting

This article was passed to me by Harvey of Bad Example. President Obama, during his recent visit to South Korea - as part of his apparent world tour (take that global warming believers!) - was awarded an honorary black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Since I'm a black belt in TKD, it's well within my authority to comment on this "achievement".

First, I assume he's 1st degree. Being a second degree, I outrank him.

Second, I'm not offended at the award even though it wasn't earned. It's an honorary belt, just like an honorary doctorate from a university. In fact, this is an apt reference since one may actually get a degree in TKD in some South Korean universities.

Many of the comments on the article are just waaaaay too sensitive on the subject of an honorary award. No, it's not like the Nobel Peace prize. While both are political awards in my mind, the Peace prize denotes some form of accomplishment while the black belt, in reality, is just a piece of cloth around one's waist - the perceived value is put there by the observer.

Also, and let's be honest, there are black belts available for the asking out there. If you want to look at any martial arts website out there, you can order the belt & an official-looking certificate and *BOOM*, you're a black belt. It's a symbol, not a determination of actual competence in an art.

Now, it would be inappropriate for the president to claim status as a black belt since it was given & not earned AND the fact everyone will know it's honorary from the start of class. Accomplishment allows for character building, not the other way around.

Here's what a black belt means in my opinion. Yes, I wrote an essay for my 1st degree (AND got my cool tagline from Harvey as a result!).


Harvey said...

Honestly, I wasn't sure how to react to this. I was kinda thinking this was an insult to those who actually went to all the trouble of earning a belt.

Comparing it an honorary doctorate clears things up for me.

Plenty of other, better, reasons to be cheesed at the O-meister. I'll let this one slide.

Mrs. Who said...

I'd have no problem with Obama's new black belt...if it was higher on his anatomy...

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