Rank awarded in martial arts to a student who has a risen (in karate) from the kyu "Boy" ranks to the dan "Man" ranks of that system.

Contrary to popular belief a black belt is not awared to someone who has "mastered" or "completed" a system of martial arts but to someone who, having gained a rudimentary understanding of the basics, has started on a much more important path within that system: A path concerned with the continued improvement of technique and refinement of character.

Also used to describe a person who has been awarded this rank.

The origins of the coloured belt systems (from a Japanese point of view)
Belts’ are used in Japanese martial arts as a description of rank or experience. It seems that this idea gained somewhat in popularity around the early to mid part of this century, influencing other styles. In Kung-fu a similar approach, only they use a coloured sash instead. As for Korean styles, I believe there belt systems were copied from Japan as they use identical belts with similar colours, but I am not too sure on this point. The concept was very simple you start with a white belt, end of story! In early martial art training the colour white was simply to match your clothing which was of a simple style (you dont wear your best tunic to roll around on the floor). Your belt really was only to hold your trousers up. As time progresses, the belt became dirty turning in to a darker colour. The suit (gi) would be washed for hygiene reasons, but the belt (obi) was not really very important so would get no more than a brushing or quick soke.

In time this lead to a simple rule of thumb to how much ‘mat time’ someone had accumulated – the dirtier the belt and the more experience.

When the belt system was originally introduced, there were only three colours white, green and black. In time more colours joined this list, mainly due to Western influences. Today there can be between 5 and 10 different coloured ranking belts, including black in a given martial art style.

All colours except black are called kyu grades, a black belt is the first dan grade. This markes the completion of basic training and the start of 'mastering' an art, hence so much emphisis is placed upon getting a black belt.

Black Belt, an agricultural region of Alabama; 70 miles wide, extending entirely across the State, between 33 degrees and 31 degrees 40'; so called from the fact that the negroes greatly predominate in numbers.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.

Martial arts instructors will tell you that to obtain a black belt you must dedicate yourself to your training. They insist that you will have to spend years improving your ability, knowledge and physical conditioning before you can achieve a black belt grade. This is complete rubbish. I have developed a program which will allow anyone to get their black belt in as little as one day. No previous experience in martial arts is required. You need not have a high level of fitness. In fact, with the help of miraculous modern telecommunications, it is not even necessary to move away from your monitor.

There are a few requirements, however.

You will need:

  • $5 to $10US
  • The location of a sports store or URL of a martial arts equipment supplier

Take your money to your chosen store. Locate an employee working at the store and say "I would like a black belt please." Exchange your money for the belt, and leave the store.

Congratulations, you are now a black belt!

Some people feel that this is not a legitimate way to become a black belt. They would prefer to be recognised by some sort of official martial arts organisation. The only problem with this is that most martial arts organisations demand that you work your way through their grading system, learn lots of boring forms or kata, and even that you spar with other martial artists. In today's busy world, nobody has time to train this hard.

The answer is simple. It has worked for hundreds, if not thousands of people around the world. It's easy to do, and you can even make some money from it! All you need to do is start your own martial arts organisation.

Just choose a cool sounding name, like the Northeast Foosville Karate Association, and promote yourself to as high a grade as you like. Tenth dan not good enough for you? Then why not give yourself a catchy title, like Supreme Grandmaster?

If all you want to do is become a high ranking martial artists then there is no need to worry about insurance. On the other hand, if you want to train some students then you will have to insure your dojo (the Japanese term for "basement") or at least obtain some realistic looking insurance documents.

If you do intend to accept students then it is also recommended that you learn a few phrases that will give the impression that you are a true baddass. For example:

  • I'm not going to demonstrate this technique because I don't want to hurt you.
  • Do it again, but this time direct your ki. (Japanese term meaning "push harder").
  • Hajime! (Japanese for "you guys fight while I have a rest.")
  • Matte! (Japanese for "Wait a minute while I get my breath back.")
  • Kata are useless in the street (Japanese term for "I don't know the kata.")

Once you have mastered these phrases you will be a true master of whatever martial art you've chosen. You will gain respect from others and attract members of the opposite sex like flies to horse shit. Congratulations, and may you never have to face a questioning student.

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