I like to focus in the next few posts on some common myths within the martial arts world and try to see if they can’t be dispelled once and for all.
Myth No. 1 - Black Belts need to register as a “deadly weapon”
This is perhaps the oldest of all Martial Arts myths and there is absolutely no basis in reality for it. First of all there is no official regulatory body in Europe or the USA (or anywhere else in the world for that matter) that regulates martial arts, including martial arts organisations, black belt exam criteria or otherwise. Due to the immense diversity of martial arts styles and/or organisations this would be an extremely bureaucratic and costly undertaking.
This myth has its roots in two different aspects of mid-20th century history. In post-World War II Japan traditional martial arts were made illegal, and records were kept of those persons who were experienced practitioners of the arts. This was a bit of anti-Japanese backlash following the war and lasted only a few years. It has not been repeated, and it never spread beyond the borders of Japan.
The other root is planted in the soil of the rich and often outrageous history of professional boxing. In the Joe Lewis era (the boxer, not the karate master), it was a common publicity stunt to have police on hand during a press conference to “register” the boxer as a deadly weapon. This was just a publicity stunt and carried no more legal weight than receiving the Key to the City actually means you can open any door with it and just walk in.