In the realm of martial arts, the karate belts and their colors play a significant role for determining the expertise of the skilled men and women. Since every skill has a ranking of its own, karate exhibits its ranks in terms of colors associated to the level of their expertise. The most generic karate belt colors are white and black. White is the symbol of a beginner, depicting the lowest rank. While black is the symbol of a true expert, but there’s more to this issue.

Meaning of Karate Belts Color

The belt colors in karate hold a significant vale for the practitioners, and for the general public as well. When a person is wearing the karate belt of any color, people are perceiving that the belt wearer has taken up the specific philosophy and significant function of martial arts, and thrives to undertake the challenges of acquiring expertise. Even though the person is wearing a white belt, it does not signify his inexperience in the field, but it represents the initiation of his personal drive to acquiring that expertise.

Other than white and black, the colors of karate belts are yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple and brown. Schools may or may not use all of the colors for karate belts.

Karate Belt Colors, Corresponding Levels and Skills Acquired



A beginner is required to wear a white belt. The while belt signifies the practitioner’s will of acquiring the associated expertise. Once the beginner has managed to learn all the basic karate moves, he or she is presented with the yellow belt. At this stage, the practitioner is required to excel the 10 self-defense moves of karate. Once they manage to reach this level, the orange belt is worn by them. To move further up the ranking ladder, they will now have to practice techniques focusing on physical conditioning and rather offensive karate moves.



One the students are awarded with green belts, they will now be required to acquire in-depth expertise of the practiced karate moves. On excelling, the students are presented with blue belts. At this stage, they are required to mater at least 200 diverse karate moves. If this phase is successfully mastered, then only they can move up to be presented with the brown belt. This phase is further categorized into degree-phases. The student prevails from working for a third degree brown belt, and all the way to earning a first degree brown belt. At this point, it is expected that the student has acquired adequate level of karate expertise to depict strong mental control and body balance, while skillful performance of diverse karate moves.



The black belt signifies the highest rank of acquiring karate skills. Once a student is awarded with the black belt it does not necessarily mean that he or she has mastered the entire skill of karate. But, it means that the student is prepared to take on challenges of an advanced karate training. Also, once you have earned a black belt, you are awarded sub-phases within this particular phase as well. For example, a first degree black belt wearer is known as a “showdan”. This creates a drive within students to move up the expertise level for acquiring a higher degree of skill.


Other belt colors

Colors of the belts may vary in different karate schools. Some schools use the conventional set of colors for the karate belts while the range of belts may differ for others. Some karate schools include the color purple and red in karate belts. While some also use striped belts with varying colors. For example a white karate belt with yellow stripes indicate that the student is striving to a sub-degree of yellow belt training. Or if a student is awarded a brown belt with varying colored stripes, it indicates the sub-levels of training within the brown belt training phase.


Time needed to complete each phase of training

Generally, it takes from 8 to 18 months of training time for completing a single phase in karate. This time varies with weekly training time. For example, if a student is training once a week, more time will be taken to complete the phase. In addition, while moving up to the higher levels, more time is taken by the student for completion of each advanced phase.


Common karate belts colors in order

The karate belts in order may vary in martial arts and karate schools. Some of the common orders are as follows:

  • White, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, red, brown, black.

  • White, red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, black.

  • White, yellow, green, orange, red, blue, purple, brown, black

Meaning of the Colors as Explained by World Martial Arts Center

During the period of the Second World War, the belts were simply dyed to a darker shade of color, for indication of moving ahead with the ranking system of karate expertise. Dying the belt, which may be one tone darker than before, meant that the student has successfully developed adequate karate tactics in order to advance onto a higher degree.
  • White belt: A white belt symbolizes the birth of a new life. Or a new seed planted in the snow. It signifies the ability of the student for undertaking a new challenge in life in terms of acquiring karate skills.

  • Yellow belt: yellow belt depicts the first rays of sunlight. It symbolizes the student’s mind, which is now more open to following instructions.

  • Orange belt: Orange belts represents the expansion of sunrays of the earth. It shows how the student’s knowledge is expanding.

  • Green belt: green belt symbolizes the penetrating roots and stems of the plant reaching towards the sun. It also indicates development of skills and techniques.

  • Blue belt: Blue belt signifies the tallness and expansion of the plant towards the blue sky. In a student, it showcases his depth in skillful knowledge and understanding.

  • Purple belt: the purple belt signifies that the student in moving towards the acquisition of a black belt through a strong dedication.

  • Brown belt: a brown belt represent the maturity level in the student. It is symbolized as a plant, which has grown to a full bloom and ready to be harvested.

  • Red belt: The red belt signifies depth of knowledge and abilities that have been conserved in the student’s mind.

  • Black belt: Black belt indicates the dark shadows behind the light of the sun. It indicates an indispensable treasure of knowledge and enlightenment within the student’s mind.

How to Tie a Karate Belts


Fold the belt into half, with the tag of the belt hanging on the right side and place the middle of the belt on to your belly.


Now wrap the belt around your waist, making a cross at the back and bringing the even-length ends in the front.


By making sure that the tagged end is placed in the front, overlap the ends over your belly.


Without tangling the belt, you have to fold the top under the belt and pull both ends.


Make a loop by bending the left end of the belt, and then fold the tagged end within the loop.


Pull the ends with a firm grip to tighten the loop, to achieve a cookie-shapes look.


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