In the same way that many martial arts use belts to show the skill level or grade of fighters, kickboxing belts are also designed in such a way by using a number of colors to show their current status.
Many kickboxing gyms and clubs use kickboxing belts when grading students. The traditional Thai kickboxing fashion, however, uses colored strings that are tied around the person’s biceps. If you’re planning to join a kickboxing center soon, it’s best to identify the different colors and relative grades. It takes years to reach the highest level.
Introduction to Kickboxing Belts
Kickboxing belts were derived from the belts used in karate and other older forms of martial arts. Several kickboxing schools use these as a way of identifying students. When instructors can easily identify their students, they can quickly and easily assign the right drills.
Wearing the right belt also prevents beginners from having to spar or train with more advanced and experienced kickboxers. The kickboxing belts will also be very useful when it comes to motivating students since many trainees always aim to move on to the next grade after several months or so. Moving up in belt color means that the kickboxer also has more experience, more power and efficiency and learned more techniques.
The beginner’s kickboxing belt is given to the trainee as soon as he enrolls in the gym or club. He needs to perform all the requirements and pass a number of tests and drills to earn the next color or grade. The challenges and requirements will depend on the kickboxing school. Even if two or more individuals have the same belt color, their relative skill and prowess can change drastically depending on their training school or instructor.
The Different Colors of Kickboxing Belts
The grades and relative colors of kickboxing belts can differ among kickboxing schools. However, many follow the system below:
1. First Grade – White
2. Second Grade – Yellow
3. Third Grade – Orange
4. Fourth Grade – Purple
5. Fifth Grade – Blue
6. Sixth Grade – Green
7. Seventh Grade – Brown
8. Eighth Grade – Black
Some institutions also have levels within each grade. These show how much the trainee has improved through the phases until he’s ready to move on to the next grade. There will be corresponding exercises, requirements, sparring matches and tests in along the course to ensure that the trainee is well-equipped and is competent enough for the belt he’s wearing.
For example, a blue-belter can be described as a 3rd dan blue belt, 5th dan blue belt, etc. To successfully go from white to a high rank black belt, kickboxers need to train consistently anywhere between 6 and 10 years depending on the instructor, skill and club. Once a kickboxer attains black-belter status, he can continue to go up the different levels within the black belt category like a 3rd dan black belt or 8th dan black belt. It is very rare for a kickboxer to have become a 10th dan black belt.
How to Successfully Earn Kickboxing Belts
Some people who try to sport of kickboxing for recreational or fitness purposes will also move through the grades, although many will not be able to go past the third level. Individuals should not be too mindful about the belt color as long as they keep on improving on their technique and form. Those who are kickboxing for purposes of self-defense usually move up to the fifth level, based on their time and dedication. Coaches and instructors are the ones who will award the trainee with a new belt if the trainee is found to have passed all the requirements or evidently presents himself worthy of the next color.
The Grading System in Kickboxing Belts
Traditionally, kickboxing schools only rely on the ultimate test to determine if a kickboxer is ready to move up in rank. This is done through sparring matches or in-house tournaments wherein the top-performing fighters or winners will graduate to the next level. Some schools also create a grading system wherein instructors provide points to students during drills, training sessions and sparring matches until they successfully reach the minimum point requirement, thereby allowing them to move on to the next level.
Some institutions are very strict with their grading system and will require different activities and tasks such as katas, written examinations and drills to check the power, speed and efficiency of kickboxers. There are a number of well-known kickboxing schools which boast of having the top champions personally coach students. Many of the individuals who are members of these elite organizations are often required to join international tournaments and earn the high rank colors only by winning these.
Getting Kickboxing Belts
Kickboxing belts are made of very tough and durable material. These are washable and are designed to properly secure the kimono in place and add stability to the kickboxer’s core. Even though many competitions and tournaments today feature fighters wearing fight shorts with a thick flexible band around the waist, there are still several places that use the traditional kimono and belt attire.
During training, many individuals actually wear the kimono and belt. The length of the kickboxing belts will differ depending on the size of the user. generally, these go around the waist a couple of times before being tied in a unique fashion in front, thereby leaving a couple of long ends. The style of the kickboxing belts is also generally plain, although there are others that include logos that feature the institution and country.
Kickboxing belts can be ordered online or from specific kickboxing shops and schools. These belts cost anywhere between $10 and $20. Training schools will usually recommend the same kind for all students or will provide these themselves for uniformity. If the club provides for the belts themselves, the cost is usually included in the monthly fee.
The great thing about kickboxing belts is that these stay with you for life. Once you achieve the status of an orange, blue or black belt, you will always have that distinction. However, shifting training schools or organizations might cause you to go down by one or two levels. Some organizations will require you to pass a number of tests first before honoring the kickboxing belts.