Black Belt / Master
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Final Fantasy I
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Black Belt:

Black Belt (Monk)
Starting Stats
Luck5Magic Defense10
First WeaponWooden NunchucksBest ArmorOpal Bracelet/Nothing
Best WeaponFistsBest ShieldNone
Best HelmetCap/Nothing
Best GauntletProRing/Nothing

The Black Belt is almost useless at the beginning of the game. He can't fight very well, and can't do anything else. He catches up quick enough though. At higher levels, the Black Belt fights better without weapons, and has better defense without armor. At very high levels he has the most attack power. He's better in Dawn of Souls though.

Here's how that works:
The Black Belt's Damage rating is equal to twice his level when not equipped with a weapon. And I'm pretty sure the Hit% acts like it is doubled also. The BB's Absorb rating is equal to his level when not equipped with any armor. There is a bug in the game that makes that Absorb=level after you level-up, even when you are equipped with armor. (It mistakenly checks whether you have a weapon equipped instead of armor.) It goes back to normal when you visit the armor screen. You can take advantage of this by equipping something with useful abilities like the ProRing or Ribbon, then leveling up. You'll get the higher absorb, and keep the special protection. At lower levels where you're better off with the armor on, make sure to visit the armor screen after a level up to fix it.

On the GBA version each piece of armor counts separately, so you can gain the benefits of the Ribbon and still get good defense from not having body armor. Though you don't seem to benefit nearly as much from fighting naked. On the MSX version his uneqipped abilities don't work at all. At high levels he does still attack pretty well with just 'chucks though.

Pros: Massive attack power late in the game, very cheap.

Cons: No magic ever, poor defense, poor attack power early in the game.

The Black Belt is called a Monk in the Japanese version. He's also called a Monk in FF Origins and Dawn of Souls. Monks also appear in FF3, FF5, FF11 and Tactics. FF4's Yang, FF6's Mash (Sabin), FF7's Tifa, FF8's Zell, and FF9's Amarant are all Monks.


Master (Super Monk)
Best WeaponFists
Best ArmorOpal Bracelet/Nothing
Best ShieldNone
Best HelmetCap/Nothing
Best GauntletProRing/Nothing

Other than appearance, the Master seems to be exactly the same as the Black Belt. I've heard that he actually gains magic defense SLOWER than the Black Belt, but I haven't checked this out myself.

Pros: Uh, he matches the other adult classes. :)

Cons: Gains nothing from class change.

The Master class is pretty much tacked on. This is evidenced by the Japanese name being Super Monk . Yeah, sounds pretty stupid. Heh, you'll also notice he has a different hair style in the Japanese version. So anyway, they don't appear in any later games. The closest thing is FF3's Karateka which is like an upgraded Monk.