A Word on Belts

STUDENT NOTEBOOK Table of Contents

Belt ranking and what it all means in the martial arts
is one of the
most misunderstood concept in the martial arts.
It is too simplistic to beleive that "all green belts (an intermediate rank)
have better teechnique than all white belts (a beginning rank)"
or "all black belts are better in self-defense, technique, and attitude than all green belts."
While perhaps this should be true, it's simplistic thinking.
People grow and advance and learn at different rates.
Being a karate instructor for over ten years,
it surprised me in the past to see an occasional beginner
walk in the door having more flexibility than some of my advanced students.
I have also witnessed beginners who are natural fighters.

Belt ranking is only an indication.
There are some commercial schools out there
that promote students every two months, no matter what.
A black belt in one of these commercial schools
is often equivilent to our green belt.
So there is no consistant universal grounds to the belt ranking system.
Each school has different standards.

Here at Red Sun Academy, we hold the highest of standards.
We take our time with the students and make sure that each rank is earned.
Maybe it's not the best way to retain students who are belt-hungry,
but we are proud of our ranking philosophy
and have heard many students and parents express gratitude
that the ranks are earned in this academy.
All too often, rank is granted when it is not earned.
We beleive that this gives the martial arts a poor reputation.

The white belt is the first belt.
When a student joins the academy, he wears a white belt.
He has made a commitment to the martial arts,
so therefore has earned a belt.

The belts go in the following order:








High Brown



...FORM: Taikyoku (Shotokan karate style, originating from Japan)
...KICKS: Front kick, Round kick, Side kick
...DURATION: A student is typically a white belt for 4 months

...FORM: Taegeuk EE Jang (Tae Kwon Do, originating from Korea)
...KICKS: Jumping front snap kick, Spin side
...DURATION: A student is typically a yellow belt for 4 months

...FORM: Taegeuk OH Jang (Tae Kwon Do, originating from Korea)
...KICKS: Hook kick
...DURATION: A student is typically an orange belt for 8 months

...FORM: Heian 2 (Shotokan karate style, originating from Japan)
...KICKS: Spinning Hook kick
...DURATION: A student is typically a green belt for 8 months
...BREAK: Side kick

...FORM: Heian 4 (Shotokan karate style, originating from Japan)
...KICKS: Spinning Hook kick
...DURATION: A student is typically a blue belt for 8 months
...BREAK: Front kick

...FORM: Taegeuk YUK Jang (Tae Kwon Do, originating from Korea)
...KICKS: Tornado kick
...DURATION: A student is typically a purple belt for 8 months
...BREAK: Spin side

...FORM: Taegeuk CHIL Jang (Tae Kwon Do, originating from Korea)
...DURATION: A student is typically a brown belt for 8 months
...BREAK: Hook, Spinning hoot, & a hand technique

...FORM: Taegeuk PAL Jang (Tae Kwon Do, originating from Korea)
...DURATION: A student is typically a high brown belt for 1 year
...BREAK: Hook, Spinning hook, & a hand technique

Each time you advance in rank, you earn a new belt.
Each new belt's color is slightly darker than the previous belt.
This darkening of color represents increasing knowledge;
the deeper the color, the deeper the knowledge.

Each belt has its own meaning.

white in a white belt represents a white piece of blank paper ready for knowledge.
White symbolizes purity and innocence.
Adults often fondly refer to their childhood.
Black belts often refer to their experiences as a white belt and smile,
saying something like “when I was a white belt I thought and did this.”

in a yellow belt represents the rising sun, a beginning.
By now, your confusion should lessen
and you should begin to understand the different moves
(along with an inkling that there's more to martial arts than just the moves).

is the color of fire and represents that it is now time to change bad habits.
You now realize the work and dedication that martial arts demands,
and understand that you must continually put forth effort to better yourself.
There is no such thing as “being the perfect martial artist”;
we are all constantly improving.

is the color of spring and growth.
The martial art seed has been planted in you and is starting to grow.
By green belt, you now have your basics down.

is the color of the sky - the sky's the limit - goals are set high.
You make martial arts a part of your life.
Perhaps prior to receiving your blue belt,
you wanted to achieve a Ph.D., for example, but felt you weren't able.
As a blue belt student, however, you realize that with hard work,
most anything can be accomplished.

purple belt student works on overcoming his fear.
You push yourself further than before to reach your potential.
Similar to someone who has received a purple heart,
you perhaps will risk bruises and scratches to further your training
(though of course purple heart recipients risk more than bruises and scratches)
(and so do some martial artists).
However, it is not recommended that a martial art student
endure any kind of injury to further their training.
Martial arts is about bettering the body, not harming it.

is the color of autumn.
Before the time of refrigerators and grocery stores,
people had to work hard to prepare themselves for the winter.
As a brown belt, you can now deal with hardships in your training and your everyday life.
This helps to prepare you for your black belt.
It is at the brown belt level
that you are able to use your martial arts to truly defend yourself on the street.

black represents all colors combined, with all the colors working together.
Achieving a black belt is not an end, but a beginning.
As a black belt, you continue to learn and relearn, to grow, to set new high goals,
and to apply your training to your everyday life.

After your are involved in martial arts for a few months,
you can't help noticing that sometimes a lower ranking student
“looks better” in form and technique than a higher ranking student.
To think that all green belts are “better” than all yellow belts is too simplistic.
Martial arts is a highly individualized art.
Do not compare yourself to others; this will poison you.
The true competition is within the each person.
Try to be the best white belt you can be,
then improve with each increasing rank.
There are standards you must achieve for each belt,
but each student has different growth rates.
Growth is achieved in spurts,
and there may be a period of time
when you don't see improvement.
Be patient. It will come.