Martial Arts


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Karate Belt

Written by Sierra Rein
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When one hears the someone described as a "black belt in Karate," images of toughness, agility, strength, and the ability to kick his attacker clear across the room come to light. This may be the case for some instances, but the Karate belt means a lot more than simply knowing how to kick, punch, jump, block, and use a Karate weapon. Whatever color it is, the belt is a proud reminder to the student and to others around him about where he is in his learning process, and how his mental strengths have improved along with physical ones.

Most people gloss over the other colors, and are immediately impressed with the black belt of Karate, especially if they don't know that there are 10 degrees of dan (or "shodan") in the black belt division itself. While it is the ultimate goal for the Karate student, the journey from the white (or 10th Kyo, under black belt rank) to the 10th Dan (the ultimate black belt degree) should be one of discipline, with each Karate belt earned with pride and a winning attitude. It traditionally takes a student 3-5 years to go from white to the 2nd degree black belt, and almost a 45 year minimum to reach the 9th and 10th degree black belt (or Grandmaster Rank) levels.

Your Karate Belt Is A Part Of Your Life

Stripes are added to your belt, at whatever color, that signifies the fulfillment of class requirements, from red stripes that speak about your good behavior to white, which signifies your ability to be at attendance. Thus, when you choose to take on the task of taking a serious Karate lesson, your Karate belt becomes a part of your life. Treat it with the respect it deserves, and do not wear it frivolously or with inappropriate clothes. There is a certain way to tie a belt on the uniform, and a certain way to clean and store it.

Any teacher of martial arts will tell you that achieving the next rank of Karate takes time, discipline and focused energy. This is why the belt is infused with so much importance and respect within the martial arts community. Each level is a great win for the student of self defense, at whatever age and rank, and the achievement of the 10th degree black belt in Karate is the end of a long journey of self discovery and pride.

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