It’s a common expression in many martial arts that injuries come from white belts, or, “white belt mentality”. Whether Brazilian JiuJitsu (left side ribs were separated from the cartilage), Taekwondo (left hand was compound fractured), kick boxing (rib fractures, both sides), Krav Maga (broken nose from a knee), it’s inevitable that some sort of injury likely will happen, even if it’s just pulled muscles, “rolled toes”, etc.
Achieving a belt in a martial art is a very honorable and prestigious thing, not to be taken lightly. Yes, some systems promote rapidly (parents and money driven, typically), but there are others that advance only when deserved, as those of us that teach and own schools know well that our students are a direct reflection of our own ability and philosophy.
In Krav Maga there are six levels or belts, based on the Israeli system (starting at white belt): yellow, orange, green, blue, brown and the coveted black. Each has its own curriculum and I feel the closer to black one gets, the more their conceptual training kicks in, as well as real-life situational stress drills and fighting, and accordingly have designed my program to follow suit.
However, maybe the most important reason for identifying various students’ levels is to know that the higher the belt, the harder we can train safely! It’s difficult to train when injured, and minimizing this is essential. I have been a 2nd degree black belt in Krav Maga for three years, something I hold dearly (even, as well, being much higher ranked in other martial arts systems). My students know that when they get in the ring with me, I can use all of my speed SAFELY, and they will not get hurt. Same thing goes for my Muay Thai coach, Scott Sullivan, when we spar…if he wanted, I’d still be in a Houston hospital.
So, honor your belt, train hard, treat other students with respect and, most importantly, be smart!