Martial Arts And The Belt System

Published: 17th May 2020
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Almost everyone has read about martial arts, but the ones from the western world actually know nothing about them, aside from the fact of the colored belts. Most people know that the colors on the belts signify some sort of rank but that's the extent of it. Many people have no idea which color is the highest ranking or the lowest rank. Of course, individuals who take martial arts are familiar with the colors and how they rank. Mostly the color of the belt informs other people how much you know about the martial art you are interested in.

For hundreds of years, the color of the belt has been used to indicate standing in martial arts. It was initiated by a man named Jigoro Kano, who invented Kodokan Judo, and in order to rank his students within his style of martial arts, he soon started using white and black belts. He was able to separate his students more easily so that he could train students of various levels of skill and different times. This kept people who were not ready to compete with people who were far more advanced. It got to be so effective that it was adapted into other types of martial arts and more colors were added. As a result anybody who is a student of a martial art will quickly know the skill level of another. You can see this in such martial art styles as Tae Kwon Do, Karate and others.

Every school in a martial art will have different conditions to obtaining a particular belt rank. This is true for anything because standards could be different from one place to the next. This is an issue if someone were to go from one school, where the standards might be low, to a school where the requirements for a particular rank is very rigid. This could cause problems, when a black belt from one school could be different than a black belt from another school. In general, many schools try and stick to a standard but usually there are some schools who try to be different.

A handful of martial arts, like Shootfighting, avoid the use of any belt system. Though there are still others that don't use any ranking system since their focus is self defense. Pitfighting is a form of self defense that focuses primarily on guarding yourself so it also does not make use of a ranking system.

The system of belts is actually an amazing innovation to martial arts. It gives the students an objective to focus on, and a way to assess how they are progressing. Obtaining a black belt can take several years of hard work but that's what every student of martial art really wants to achieve. By using a belt system, a student could see how they are working up the rankings and will know not to miss steps. You won't ever move up until you have perfected a ranking.

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