Understanding the Meaning of Karate Belts Colors

Giovanni Stefano
3 min readMay 7, 2018


Karate is an interesting martial art with opulent and long term history. But, with the passage of time, there appeared a relatively new system known as Karate belt system. The progress of karate student is always graded with Kyu(color belts) and dan (black belt ranking) since early 1900s. We all know that a person who holds a black belt in Karate is considered to be well talented and skilled. Additionally, his black belt also symbolizes that he has accomplished his represents. However, there are multiple other karate belts that individuals must achieve before reaching the highest level of their training.

The color belt ranking system is helpful and well organized way of representing individual’s improvement but it really doesn’t ensure that your karate belt utterly defines you. Karate belts carry importance for keeping standardization of requirements which in return helps to maintain the values based on systems and integrity. Let’s make a discussion that what each rank means to a karateka commencement their training journey, color by color.

White Belt

White belt is the representation of very initial level of karate. It is worn by the students who have just started their study about karate. So, this white belt symbolizes their enthusiasm to learn and clean slate.

Yellow Belt

Yellow belt awarded to a student when he demonstrates that he is actually adopting this learning phase in a fruitful way. It also symbolizes the first beam of sun light that actually gives new rays and hope every morning. So, this yellow belt gives hope to a learner that he is actually learning and practicing at his best.

Orange belt

Orange belt represents that student has further opened up his mind and his skills are improving rapidly. Just like when sun rays turn orange give representation of growing strength of sun, orange belt also symbolizes improvement in individual’s skills.

Green belt

Green belt represents that a very basic steps of karate learning have been accomplished successfully. Green belt is awarded to intermediate students who are refining their kills.

Blue Belt

Blue belt represents further improvement and one level up. It is awarded to students who have started learning technical skills and additional knowledge about karate. Bluer color actually symbolizes that minds and bodies of students are continuously growing.

Purple Belt

As purple represents the color of dawn so purple belt is awarded to students who are converting into advanced stages of leaning phase.

Brown Belt

Just like the of ripening seed that is ready for harvest, the brown color in karate belts represents that students skills are getting matured and he’s leveling up to higher expertise. So, brown belt is awarded to students whose techniques have begun to mature.

Red Belt

Just like red color represents hot strength of the sun, red karate belt also represents that students have gained more detailed knowledge and they are well aware in discipline of their skills. Red color also signifies danger, so student who gets awarded with red belt is considered to be more dangerous in his/her skills and knowledge.

Black belt

Black belt is awarded to students who seek to gain deeper and complete understanding of physical and mental teaching of karate. Many people after receiving black belts are considered to be expertise in their domain and they start passing on their skills to others.

Achievement of rank should be considered as a side effect of karate training and it should not be taken as a key goal. The key goal must be personal development and growth at whatsoever rank level you attain.