The concept of using a belt is common and can be seen in almost every Martial arts form.
Different styles and types of martial arts practice different rules and training. For example, there is TaeKwonDo, Kung Fu, Ju-Jitsu, Judo, Karate, Capoeira.
One thing that is common in all of these martial arts is the belt, which is the most significant and essential part of any Martial arts practice.
You might have seen martial arts disciples wearing a signature white uniform called Gi in Japanese (Jiu Jitsu Gi for Jiu Jitsu and Judogi for Judo). Similarly, a belt worn along with the uniform is called Obi in Japanese.
This little piece of cloth acts as a thread that holds up the very fabric of martial arts’ culture.
Belting Out The Symbolism
As time passes, the meaning of a few things changes over the years. The same thing happened with these belts.
During earlier times, a belt was simply used to hold up students’ pants, which considerably changed after the late 1800s when the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano, came out with a ranking system.
As more time went by, this method started spreading worldwide to track students’ progress and motivate them.
The true meaning of the system
Belts are used as leverage to motivate students to move from novice to mastery over the art. It is not used just to showcase your rank but has a significance towards the belt holder, showcasing their dedication, honor, hard work, discipline over the years.
It’s not an easy process, but the expectation of a tangible token of appreciation drives students to work diligently. There is philosophy even in the tying of this belt.
An uneven tie indicates the unbalanced nature and frame of mind of the student. A symmetrical belt reminds them to have balance in life, like yin-yang.
The rainbow of power
As the students start to move ahead in their mastery, the belt changes color from white leading to a black belt, considered the noblest one to own. Most of these belt colors symbolize different things and follow a common occurrence pattern of following:
- White: It symbolizes being born, meaning an individual is clean as a fresh slate ready to soak up Martial arts knowledge.
- Yellow: Yellow color means first rays of sunlight, meaning gaining strength.
- Orange: Unlike yellow, orange symbolizes a more dominant intense color indicating mastery over the yellow.
- Green: It signifies the growth of a seed that is ready with the basics of the art and is now sharpening its tactics
- Blue: This color means growing from the green and moving up towards the sky, making it a blue belt.
- Purple: Purple suggests that the student is ready with their skills to move ahead in a black belt practice.
- Brown: Brown makes the student understand that it is time to polish the skills they have honed and work for the ultimate final step.
- Black: This is the ultimate level that a student can achieve, and after attaining, they are ready to teach students under them. Again, ten steps are in a black belt that one needs to work hard to achieve.
- Red: Red is the grandmaster belt. The name suggests everything. Although this belt comes after black, there is an exception to TaeKwonDo. One has to tie a Red martial art belt before a black belt.
The Art of Tying a Martial Arts Belt
Now that we have covered all the basics and terms related to the belt, you might ask how to tie a martial arts belt?
The correct answer to this question can depend on various factors like your Master’s preference-rules, your ability to tie, or simply liking a particular style for extra sturdiness.
Below is a universally accepted knot that you can tie for that classic look. Not only is this easy, but it is also quick to work with.
The Plain Jane
- Hold your belt and find the middle: This is the first step towards a perfect martial arts belt. Hold both the end of the belt and whatever you have at the other side in the middle of your belt.
- Take the middle and put it across your abdomen: The middle of your Martial arts belt should sit across your navel, to be precise. Always make it a point to keep your label side on the inside. The smooth side should come outside, while the rough side should contact your uniform.
- Making an X: Take your belt and move it across your back, making sure both the ends cross the path exactly on your spinal cord. Always take your left part over your right. Keep adjusting the length so that it is entirely the same on both sides.
- Making an X in the front: Once your martial arts belt comes in front, you simply make an X keeping both ends flat.
- Knotting the knot: Take the top piece of your belt and tuck it in the belt. Don’t spare any middle lines. Make sure the folded piece comes in contact with your uniform. Now pull that piece upwards so that the belt has its first knot that is snug as a bug in a rug.
- Looping by grabbing the top part of your belt: Now comes the last knot, take your bottom piece and flip it up so that you can tuck it down through the loop. Once that is done, simply give it a tight bolt tug, so the knot closes.
- Make it flat: In this final step, take your end and bring them forward. By doing this, it will stay flat and won’t come in the middle of your practice.
- If it’s loose: Undo the two knots that will help you make the ends straight once again.
Brownie points to remember
It takes time for your belt to wear down, so when you start with your brand new starchy white martial arts belt, be patient with the knotting process and give it time.
By the time you learn and practice your perfect knot, the belt would be soft, so the knots will stay even more secure and won’t come undone.
Your uniform shouldn’t look like a potato sack. To avoid that, always tie your martial arts belt so that it isn’t too tight or loose.
A tighter belt restricts your movements as you won’t move flexibly, and it will keep hurting you.
Sometimes martial arts belts stop coming with labels after 4th or 5th level, so remembering the texture works in your favor.
As mentioned above, the rough side inside and the smooth side outside.
Removing your Martial arts belt
As much as it’s essential to tie your belt, it’s of utmost importance that you understand the value of this belt and respect it during and after your practice. Never throw the belt away or toss it on the ground.
Roll it gently with your uniform and store it someplace safe or simply fold it and keep it on your uniform.
You can also tie it with a hanger to avoid it from losing away from your eyesight.
You should store these belts as your medals after you acquire all the colors. It will always remind you of your hard work and dedication that took you to the place you are today.
It’s time for a quick aquic: Which of the following martial arts practice takes the longest to get to the black belt?
The correct answer is D. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu!
Did you know? It takes around ten years to obtain a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, the quickest being Tae Kwon Do with 3 to 5 years and Karate with five years.
Martial arts is an essential and challenging art that takes more than just attending your classes twice or thrice a week.
You need to be patient and work through your egos and alter egos. Giving yourself in the process of art is what makes you a master. It’s a skill you have to polish diligently so that it stays with you for your lifetime.
Googling how to tie your martial arts belt is the first step you took on your journey today. Remember, you will get your belt wrong the first time, but keep trying. Even your instructor started with the same steps that you are taking today.
Don’t feel shy or afraid to ask for help if you are having trouble with something.
Your teacher and sometimes your friends can help you with the stuff that you are facing problems with.
Practice, practice, practice!
Get your martial arts belts and start practicing your skills. Start with your uniform so that you get the feel of working with the fabric. Record or stand in front of the mirror and practice the method shown below.
Once you master this fundamental and universal step, you can move on to more complex knots that will add a little spice to your knot game.
Feel free to experiment and have a signature knot that won’t come undone during your tournaments later.
We wish you the best of luck!