What Are Karate Belt Requirements?

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Karate belt requirements are open to interpretation, but in general, the darker the color of the belt, the more advanced the individual. Find out how quickly a person can expect to progress to obtain new karate belts with help from an eighth-degree black belt in this free video on martial arts belts.

Part of the Video Series: Martial Arts Belts
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Video Transcript

Hi everybody, I'm John Graden from the Martial Arts Teachers Association at martialartsteachers.com. What are the Martial Arts belt requirements? That's a wide open question and definitely up for interpretations. So let's talk a little bit about the origins. In the early days of Martial Arts there were very few belt colors. There's typically white belt and belt; maybe white belt, brown belt, black belt. And then Jigoro Kano, from Judo, the founder of Judo, got together with his friend, Gichin Funakoshi and he told Funakoshi that from his school training as a teacher in the school system, that they ought to develop a more structured curriculum. There ought to be more belts because that will help to motivate students and that's what were told the introduction of more belts than they have, but not as many as we have today. So typically if you think about the Martial Arts belt, it will simply as this, the darker the color, the more advance you are. The theory is, that's just a nice theory is that, it's a sort of filling your belt up with knowledge. It starts white, empty, you don't know anything about Martial Arts typically when you start out and then you just keep filling it up with knowledge; filling it up with knowledge. And a good school, a good Martial Arts school that's focus on your motivation, about six weeks to two months under your classes you're going to go from a white belt to maybe a gold belt. And then two or three months after that, orange belt. Two or three months after that, a green belt; blue belt and then you're going to be a brown belt for a little while; you're an advance student there because you're in the black belt zone; because you're preparing for your black belt exam which is the biggest day in most Martial Arts career. That's the day you focus on. That's the reason you go to class. That's the reason you let your friends go to the movies when they want you to go and you go to class 'cause you're here on your black belt. That process is going to take about three years and then once you're on your black belt, about every two, three or four years, you can take an exam or be awarded another degree of black belt. First degree all the way through, to tenth degree. I am honored to be an eighth degree under the great Joe Lewis. So every school has their own theories and ideas about curriculum in a Martial Arts; but that's a pretty good structure you can count on. The only other element that we want to mention to you is that, often in each colored belt, you'll find stripes. So let's say it takes three or four months for me to go from orange belt to green belt; a smart school will typically have a stripe test every four weeks. So you still feel like you're working forward, you're advancing. It's important that you're getting the sense of progress and the belt system is a great way to do that. I'm John Graden from martialartsteachers.com. Thanks.


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