The Myth Behind the Martial Arts Belt

However little you may know about martial arts, you’ll certainly know about the belts. Everyone who practises martial arts will wear a belt. The colour of that belt will indicate how far advanced someone is in the learning process. You’ll know that the black belt is the belt that everyone covets in the end. This is the ultimate goal for all those who begin learning their chosen martial art.

But did you know how the coloured belts came about, and why the black belt is the last in the order?

The first colour is the white belt. From here you progress through to yellow and eventually orange, green, blue, brown and then to black. Some schools might use a slightly different grading system but this is the basic range.

Years ago students started with a plain white belt. When they were deemed to have reached the level of knowledge that warranted another colour, they dyed their belts yellow. Today we simply buy another belt but back then dye was used to change the colour.

If you look at the progress through the colours you may realise they gradually get darker. The reason for this is simple – when you dye your belt you can’t go from a dark colour to a light one. So the dyes were chosen to ensure the belt looked sufficiently different without having to change it for a new one. Hence, it went from white to black.

Most people would agree that buying a new belt is a little easier than having to dye the same one all the time. People will also keep their old belts as a reminder of the progress they have made thus far.

So the next time you move up to your next belt level, remember how it used to be done before!

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