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Martial Arts: The Importance of Belts

Updated on October 24, 2015

The Martial Arts Schools

The History & Use of Belts in Martial Arts

The color of your belt is used to signify your rank in the most types & styles of martial arts. However, these belts tell others of how much you know about martial arts, they have no global means or ranking within the world of martial arts.

It is a very old practice (more than a few hundred years) to use different colored belts in martial arts. Jigoro Kano was the first to use color belts in martial arts, he developed a style known as Kodokan Judo. However, the belts he used in the martial arts were white and black belts initially to signify the rank of the person in the world of martial arts. The main purpose of Jigoro Kano behind using white and black belt was to differentiate the competitiveness of the students based on their activities. For example, the students with white belt can not be found competitive enough with the students having black belt

After the introduction of white and black belts by Jigoro Kano, other colors were also introduced in the world of martial arts. And consequently, it became a history over the years to tell the world about the student’s skill and experience in his style on the basis of the belt he/she wears. Taekwondo, Karate and several others also implemented the system of using belts with different colors.

The belts speak a lot of story about the person’s skills in martial arts but the problem that is persistent with this ranking system is due to the different standards that different martial arts schools may set for acquiring a black belt or any other belt. However, one thing we must accept that the style or teaching pattern is moreover similar for these martial arts schools, but the real problem is, a student from school ‘A’ may be less competent than a student from school ‘B’, even though he is given a black belt. This may be due to the unique styles of grading systems by different schools.

Shootfighting is one of the rare martial arts that don’t have belts at all, because it is mainly for the purpose of self defense and it doesn’t believe in ranking style. Pitfighting is also another style that doesn’t have belts. Most of these styles are great to learn as they are mainly focused at protecting yourself. However, It is important to note that they differ from the traditional style & sense of martial arts.

At the end, I would like to conclude here that Belts …


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  • Are an innovation to martial arts,
  • Give students something to aim for,
  • Are most prestigious to wear if they are black belts in martial arts,
  • Achieving Black belt takes years of practice and hard work,
  • Before achieving black belt, the student has to go through various low rank belts and has to prove his or her caliber for achieving the black belt.

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  • TheMMAZone profile image

    TheMMAZone 8 years ago from Kansas

    Great hub, enjoyed reading it thanks!

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