Wednesday, 28 July 2010

A Closer Look At Belts

In Choi Kwang-Do, like many other martial arts, the colour of the belt that you have will signify your rank within the system.

Even if you have never taken martial arts before, you'll have some idea that white belt indicates a beginner while black belt indicates someone advanced.

However, aside these two belts, white and black, there is no universal means of ranking within the martial arts world. Different styles (and even different martial art groups teaching the same style) may have a different number of belts and colours of belts in their system. Some martial arts do not use belts at all.

In some styles of martial art a student can earn their black belt within 2 years.
In others it could be as many as 7 years or longer.
In Choi Kwang-Do the is average is around 3½ years.

In my opinion, belts serve 3 main purposes:

1. They tell others how much you know about your specific martial art.
2. They imply one's level of technical expertise.
3. They indicate how long you have been training (bear in mind that this last point can be affected by breaks in training).

In addition, the belt system and our movement through it displays progression of learning; a visual indication to both yourself and others on our improvement over time.

Belts also create strong emotions; we all enjoy the feeling of being rewarded for our achievements, like being presented with a new belt if successful at a grading, especially if we've had to work hard towards that achievement involving lots of planning, preparation and training over a period of time...not to mention sweating in the dojang!

In innovation to martial arts, belts give students something to aim for and a reason to keep learning, practising and improving.

What belt are you...and what do belts mean to you?

Jason Wright is a 5th Degree Black Belt and Master Instructor in the martial art Choi Kwang-Do. For further information on Choi Kwang-Do classes in Ealing, West London visit

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