What is the cult of the belt?
Respect, ceremony, and bowing are inherently part of martial arts as Asian cultural practices. The degree to which they are focused on, though, will tell you a great deal. If the instructor overly concerned with titles, rank, or patches, pomp and pretension, you may want to stay away. If respect is overtly demanded or harshly commanded to instructors or senior students, that is a red flag for me. You cannot brute or bully respect into existence – it is earned through time and sincerity.
It is very easy to mistake rank with skill. It is also very easy to confuse belts for accomplishments. A school with many levels, stripes, and belts is not inherently bad. However, it is possibly a sign of a profit-based approach to training time, and a commercialization of student sincerity.
I hope this can be useful for you. As always, contact us if you have any questions or concerns and we will be happy to connect you to answers!