Martial Arts Belt Colours Explained

Date: 10th November 2015
Author: Master Bonthuys

Teaching Martial Arts is a privilege and a gift. As Instructors, our job is not to be a World Champion or a Master; to force our students to learn foreign history or eastern language, but to ensure our students trust us, engage with us, and continue to thrive.


The journey from white belt to black, although mammoth in its own right, is only the beginning and when new students understand this, they’re more likely to stay far beyond black belt. Martial Arts is a big commitment and a huge challenge; both in time and effort, but also one of the most rewarding experiences available and as Instructors, we need to make sure our students feel that reward.

The role of the Instructor has evolved considerably over the last few decades and these days, we must simply and successfully recruit new students every week, and keep them engaged with an exciting, progressive syllabus, delivered with a modern teaching philosophy.

However, to do all of the above, we first need to understand the meanings of the belt colours, and their effect on the individual.

So, here are our Martial Arts belt colours explained:

White belts: need to be entertained

White belt students are at very beginnings of their journeys and therefore arguably need the most support; to build their relationship with the Instructor and with the school. They need to enjoy the overall experience of each class and feel that they are in the right place. They need to know that Martial Arts is right for them, and that they are right for the Martial Arts!

Yellow belts: need to have their confidence raised

Yellow belt students need reassurance; they’ve settled in, enjoyed themselves, and made the decision that Martial Arts is right for them – now they need us to show them that not only can they do it, but they are also good at it!

Green belts: need to be defined

Green belt students are confident, engaged and ready for the next stage of their journey: Kaisen – or self-improvement. Kaisen is where preparation for the real journey begins. This is where the student’s hobby quickly becomes a way of life – training is a way of life – not only something they enjoy.

Blue belts: need to be improved

Blue belt students are those who have already absorbed Martial Arts into every aspect of their lives; the way they move, think, and interact with others, and simply need structure and discipline to promote healthy competition against themselves and improve. Progress – not perfection – is what we are looking for at this stage.

Red belts: need to be developed

Red belt students tend to be solely focused on the next, and possibly most well-known, stage – black belt. Focus, regular attendance, practice, and a commitment to train often and intensely are the staple diet of the future black belt.

Black belts: need to be perfected

Black belts students are only at the end of the beginning; achieving black belt is where the ‘real’ journey begins…Here, the role of the Instructor is that of a mentor, to guide and inspire them to become the very best that they can be. A good leader inspires others with their own good example.

Start your journey to be the best that you can be, and contact us today.


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