What do the stripes on karate belts mean?

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Karate belts show where you are at in your training

Most people know that in the martial arts, a white belt is a very new beginner level student. And it is also commonly known that a black belt signifies an advanced level and many years of training. This is true in just about every martial arts style that comes to mind.  Belts show where you are at in your training. Many styles, like The Bushido School of Karate,  also use stripes added to the student’s karate belt which indicate even more about your rank.

Stripes on belts indicate progress at that belt level

We strongly believe that progress should be recognized. In the heirarchy of martial arts ranking, not all belts of the same color have the same level of training. A newly promoted green belt will not have any stripes on their belt. A green belt with 6-months of training might have 2 stripes on their belt. More stripes equals more knowledge.

A beginner level student at Bushido Karate will earn stripes after every 10 classes. The key word is “earn”. If a student hasn’t earned it, they might be ready on their 12th or 13th class. Intermediate level students are required to attend more classes to earn stripes on their belts than beginner level students.

What is the maximum number of stripes a student can earn?

Our style gives a maximum of 4 stripes on a student’s belt.  Upon earning a 4th stripe he or she has shown to be fluent in their techniques and is ready to test for the next belt level.  I know of one BJJ school that had a student for many years who remained at white belt. His belt was full of stripes, but hey, he was making progress!

Second key word to remember is “test”.  Our students are required to demonstrate their proficiency in front of their fellow students, Shihan, Senseis, Sempais and parents.  Being able to function while under pressure is a major factor in our training. (Become inspired by the “F” word) When a student fails a test, they keep all the stripes they have earned and are encouraged to overcome their fears. That’s when the real satisfaction is fealt when the new belt is finally earned!

With each progressive belt, the student starts fresh. Trying hard in every class, being an example for fellow students, and being a good person in and out of the dojo will begin the process of earning stripes on the new belt. One step closer to BLACK BELT!


Osu, keep on keeping on

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