History of the Karate Belt (Obi)

When Martial Arts were first practiced in Okinawa Japan, they didn’t use any type of ranking system. It is believed that everyone wore a white belt. However, it was common practice to hang the Karate uniform in the school when training was done. With the uniform hanging in the school it didn’t get washed. Over time the uniforms tended to get dirtier and darker with sweat, dirt, and blood. So, the Martial Artist with the darkest belt and uniform usually had the most experience and knowledge. Judo was the first style of Martial Arts to use a colored belts to signify a persons level of knowledge. It is believed that Jigoro Kano founder of Judo adopted the colored belt system from the Japanese schools. The Japanese schools used to identify their athletes ability by colored belts. Gichin Funakoshi founder of Shotokan karate decided the colored belt system was a good idea to identify his students progress so he adopted the belt system. In April of 1924 Shotokan Karate became the first Karate style to use the colored belt system.

Pride and respect of your Belt (Obi)

1. Never drag you Belt (Obi) on the floor.

2. Always keep it tied when you are not wearing it.

3. Never wash it. The founders of Karate believed that the Belt (Obi)
held your knowledge and if you washed it you washed your knowledge out.