Karate Belt Colours Originated in Japan
The idea of ranking karate belts according to colour was introduced by the Japanese at the turn of the 20th century. Each belt signifies a progression in skill, but more importantly a change in attitude. Today there are many different ranks in countless systems across the world. In Kenpo Freestyle the belts progress as follows with their meanings explained. Keep in mind there are many interpretations of this.
The Meaning of Each Karate Belt Colour
White belt means absolute beginner, a clean slate, and is the colour of innocence. There is no shame in being a white belt and the instructor, most of all, realizes this because he or she was once one.
Yellow belt and Orange belt-these colours represent a new beginning as these colours are seen at sunrise. They reflect enthusiasm, passion, and energy. Yellow is also associated with hope. Orange is a darker colour, reflecting greater maturity than Yellow.
Purple belt represents springtime and creativity. It is the stage where a student is still fresh, but is becoming increasingly creative in applying techniques.
Blue belts are reaching toward the blue sky and show maturity in the middle stages on the road to black belt. The colour blue means calmness, responsibility, strength, and reliability, and blue belts typically embody these qualities. Also, in a blue belt you can see the fluidity of movements, like water.
Green belts are the last in the intermediate stages of training. Green signifies the branches and leaves growing upward and outward, reaching toward the sky. The change in colour from green to brown also portrays the change in colours to autumn as the student gains experience.
Brown is the colour of the earth and is the first advanced belt. It represents the roots of the tree planted firmly in the earth. It is a steadfast and reliable colour. At this stage the student becomes more watchful and critical, and is striving for perfection.
Black belt signifies power, both mentally and physically. It also represents mastery, calmness, and dignity. It is just the start of a path to true mastery of the art as the student climbs the ranks of black belts, 1st degree through 10th degree.
White Belt Completes Cycle
White belt completes the circle. Look at the belt of a sensei who has been a black belt for 30 years or so and it is white. It is at this stage if not before that a true sensei realizes how little he or she knows in the whole scheme of things.
Just as you cannot rush a plant through its growing stages, a martial artist must progress slowly and naturally through the belts to achieve proficiency and maturity.
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