Martial Arts And The Belt System

Published: 08th May 2020
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Many people in the western world have heard of martial arts but don't know a great deal about them except for the colored belts. Many know that the colors on the belts represent some kind of ranking but that's the extent of it. Many people have no idea which color is the highest position or the lowest position. Individuals who are actual students of a martial art are quite familiar with the colors and even are working hard to achieve a specific rank. The colors on the belt let others know how much knowledge you have of a particular martial art style.



The colors of a belt are known to signify the standing of an individual in a martial art and it has been this way for centuries. The belt system first began in Japan by the creator of Kodokan Judo, Jigoro Kano, to allow him to rank his own students. He did this in order to separate his students, only letting the participation of the activities that matched the color of the belt. This kept individuals who were not ready to compete with individuals who were far more advanced. Eventually other martial art styles started to use the belt system until it became the standard it is right now. Consequently any individual who is a student of a martial art will right away know the skill level of another. Favorite martial art styles such as Karate and Tae Kwon Do use the belt system extensively.



Considering the fact that not all schools within martial arts have exactly the same requirements, the color of the belt could mean something quite different from one school to the next. This tends to happen with anything, where rules may be judged differently in different places. This is often confusing particularly when a student from one school goes to another school only to find the rankings do not translate over. You may find that an individual who's got a black belt in one school may not be a black belt in another. Nearly all schools aim to stick to the same standards, but there are always some who want to integrate their own style to be unique.



A handful of martial arts, like Shootfighting, avoid the use of any belt system. Martial arts that mostly concentrate on self defense tend to not use a belt or ranking system in any way. Pitfighting is a type of self defense that focuses primarily on guarding yourself so it also does not have a ranking system.



Using a belt system in martial arts has helped it to focus the appropriate techniques to the correct skill levels. It gives the individuals a goal to aim for, and a means to assess how they are developing. Each student would like to achieve black belt but it can take many years to achieve it. With a belt system, it is possible to work your way up without missing any important steps. You won't ever move up until such time as you have perfected a ranking.

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