How Long Does It Take to Get a Black Belt: Understanding the Belt System

martial arts school

Originally, there was only one belt in karate, and it was white. As the practitioner honed his or her skills over the course of many years, the white belt became darker with age, use, and experience, until it became blackened. The darker the belt, the greater skill it represented. Coloured belts only became popular as karate moved from the old ways into the new age. Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, was the first to represent colours beginning with white, and graduating through darkening hues to black. It was a visual aid to help students recognize their own proficiency.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Black Belt?

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is “How long does it take to get a black belt?” – believing this to be the ultimate goal.

However, understanding the belt system in martial arts is important, as it will help you better decide if this is the sport for you; especially here at Safeguard Martial Arts. We believe, when it comes to martial arts, it is the value of the journey, not of the time it takes to reach the destination that truly matters.

Martial arts schools offer many styles and representations of martial arts. Because of this, technical requirements will vary, relative to the key factors that determine excellence through advancement within their system. Each level of accomplishment is celebrated with a belt or a tip as the student progresses through that particular system, increasing in knowledge, skill, and self-esteem.

That being said, there are a lot of other accomplishments along the way that you will acquire. Martial arts also enable students to:

  • Learn a positive life skill
  • Provide a level of self-protection
  • Enhance self-discipline
  • Increase confidence
  • Develop focus
  • Improve strength and fitness

If a belt is to have any real value, it must be truly earned. At Safeguard Martial Arts, we recognize that your greatest competition is yourself, and as such, skill development must go hand in hand with personal character development to have significance.

Belts are not given – they are earned. They are not a right – they are a privilege.  We also believe that it is not enough to acquire a black belt – rather, you must become one; in skill, character and attitude. A black belt does not signify the end of your martial arts journey. Rather – it is simply the beginning of a new one.

Achieving Belt Levels is Up to YOU!

Moving from belt to belt requires many attributes, including:

  • Time
  • Energy
  • Practice
  • Dedication
  • Tenacity

Some martial arts styles are much more technically demanding than others. Beware of “Black Belt Factories” that promise your 7-year-old will accomplish a black belt within a couple of years. How can any student realistically embody all that the rank of excellence that Black Belt encompasses, with just a couple of years of training? Are you looking for quality instruction or a fast track to a black belt? The standard of rank within art is a huge factor. Not all black belts are the same! Some people will take up to, or beyond, ten years to acquire a quality black belt.

Safeguard Martial Arts is here to help our students learn and grow within their own martial arts journey. Each student grows dynamically as they strive to reach their full potential. Enjoying the journey is important. We pride ourselves in our approach and our students take pride in their belts, knowing they earned every thread of the belt they wear.

We are here to support you on your journey, whatever that looks like and however long it takes, and look forward to continuing to do so!