Karate Belts: Ranking System Explained

Breakdown Of Belts In Every Martial Art

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If you are reading this article, you must have a great interest in martial art and you must be really curious about what different belts mean in martial art. Generally, belts are used to represent the ranking and progress of students in martial art. It was a system put in place to reward the best students and show there progress until they get to the highest rank after attaining a certain level of expertise.

A Japanese man with the name Jigoro Kano who was attributed to have founded the Modern Judo started the system of a colored belt in the 1880s before it was later adopted up Karate and Taekwondo.

There are lots of martial arts that we have out there are students study it from their early childhood up until their late adulthood depending on their determination, grit, and perseverance, and the level of achievement is usually ranked to track progress. 

What Do The Belt Colors Mean In Martial Arts

If you are a martial art student, your rank will be denoted by the color of the belt tied around your waist with your uniform. In almost all types of martial arts, the first belt is the white belt and you will have to progress from there until you reach the peak, i.e. the highest stage which has been described as the black belt.

However, getting to reach the black belt takes dedication and several years. Before you get to that stage, you will move from one color to another and each belt color has its special meaning and it also signifies a level of experience and progress.

The different colors that have been associated with martial art include white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, and black in the order of ranks. 

White Belt

This is the belt usually worn by beginners and it symbolizes the birth of a seed or a fresh beginning. This belt is giving to those people that are just starting their skills in martial art.

Yellow Belt

This is the second level in martial art and the color represents the idea that the sun is warming the seed. 

Orange Belt                                     

This is the third stage of martial art skills and it represents that the seed is getting warmed and strengthened to prepare them for new growth. It usually denotes a student’s body and minds starting to develop and strengthen.

Green Belt

This is the fourth stage of the martial art skills and it usually signifies that the student is beginning to hone his or her skills and has begun to learn how to refine and strengthen his techniques of martial arts.

Blue Belt

This is the blue belt and it represents the process to possess a certain level of more confidence where the student becomes stronger and continues to get the needed knowledge to ensure the correct path is being followed.

Purple Belt

This is the stage where students get ready to transit to an advanced level in the martial art, a stage where a student has to understand what he requires to obtain the highest rank of black belt that is no so far away.

Brown Belt 

The brown belt is the stage when the student starts to appreciate all the hard work and dedication he has put into attaining the skills since he started from a white belt. This will also help him to push to get to the black belt stage.

Red Belt

The red belt could sometimes denote a pre-black stage where the student becomes powerful in abilities and must respect and recognize this power. A red belt could sometimes denote grandmaster, i.e. the stage after some levels of black belt.

Black Belt

This is the most prestigious stage of martial art belts and it is the time a student must have full control of his or her abilities and knowledge and also possess the power to teach them to new students. 

What Is The Highest Belt In Martial Arts

No universally accepted standard governs how the belt colors of martial art should be, each type of martial arts follows its own rules, explanations, and traditions and there are at times variations within the same type.

However, it is generally accepted that the first belt should be white while the highest belt is black. You will usually move from white belt to yellow belt, to orange belt, to green belt, to blue belt, to purple belt, to brown belt, and then to black belt which is the peak.

Meanwhile, there are levels to black belts and it takes a level of mastery and time to attain those feats.

How Many Degree Black Belts Are There?

Generally, black belts have been placed in another level of ranks. The black has a significant meaning and it is usually referred to as a level of competence when first attained, but as you move higher, you begin to move towards a certain level of mastery.

This ranking system has been labeled to be the Dan ranking system. It has also been researched that there are up to 10 mastery levels (degrees) beyond the first Dan black belt and it may take a lifetime to accomplish them.

This means that there are 10 different degrees for black belts and though the color of the belts will still remain black, different inscriptions per level are usually written on it to denote seniority.

Is There A Belt Above Black?

As stated above, the black belt has been generally accepted as the highest-ranked belt, but for some martial arts, some other colors have been placed above the black belt when someone attains a very high grade.

In Judo and Karate, a red and white belt is usually worn by a sixth dan. Usually, this belt is used for ceremonial occasions while the regular black belt is still used for training. For the ninth and 10th dan, red belts are awarded by some schools while others award purple belts. 

Is A Red Belt Better Than A Black Belt?

A red belt is commonly used to differentiate an opponent in a competition or it is used to denote ranks. Its use is usually varying depending on the martial art but most times, it is given to grandmasters and some other high ranks.

However, some arts use a red belt for beginners while some use it as a pre-black rank. For modern Karate, blue and red belts are used by competitors and it is the rule that these are the two belts worn in this competition.

Mainly, a red belt is usually designated for the person with the highest rank, i.e. a grandmaster, or for pre-black or perhaps conventionally worn in Karate competitions.

You must understand that to attain the best belt in the martial art, it takes dedication, discipline, hard work, persistence, patience, perseverance, and time. Only those who can undergo these processes will attain the highest belts.

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