What is a belt system?
The folklore surrounding the
history of the black belt is that all martial arts students
began their studies with a white belt, which they did not wash
so over time it became soiled and dirty. First the belts would
turn brown and then eventually for those who studied long and
hard enough their belt would turn black. The black belt
indicated the studentís success at mastering their martial arts
skills. There is no basis for this story but it is
interesting so it is worth repeating.
History denotes that the use of belt color to signify rank was
"invented" by Jigoro Kano who was the founder of judo. He only
used white and black belts, and finally in the early 1900s
the colored belt system of awarding rank was created.
Almost all martial
arts award colored belts to denote rank. As you enter a martial
arts studio you will often see a row of tied belts on the studio
wall. This is a display of the belt hierarchy from beginner to
universal white, beginners belt and coveted black, experts belt,
each style has its own progression of colors, some with
intermediate stripes within a rank.
forms of the martial arts have ten levels of color because it is
easy to identify 10 growth stages.
These stripes and/or belts are earned by the student who has
learned all of the new requirements as well as retained and
improved old techniques. Simply stated ranks are associated with
different color belts, and color varies depending on the martial
art being studied.
Ranking examinations are given on a scheduled basis after
specific intervals of regular training. The exam is performed by
the students in front of an examination board. It is usually
comprised of three parts: form, basic technique demonstration,
and basic sparring demonstration. Sometimes questions will be
asked that the students must answer. Upon passing the rank
examination, the student receives their new belt in a belt
ceremony and then progresses to the next level of training.
They will then be eligible for the next ranking examination. It
takes most individuals four to six years to earn a black belt.
It really depends on the student, their work ethic and their