Karate Belt Meanings

When you first get into karate, one of the most exciting events is when you receive your first belt. Most karate students start with a white belt, even before they do any real training. Others need to work for them, but as we all know, the white belt is where you start.

There are many other belt colours that come into play and mean various things. Of course, the fighters need to prove that they are worthy of the belt, making it more than just progress, but rather a level of respect to karate itself and yourself as you make it through the levels. Let’s look at the belts and what they mean.


As mentioned, this where you begin and doesn’t indicate any control over one’s mind or body as yet. However, it does indicate the beginning, a clean slate basically. It also resembles the desire to learn more about karate and martial arts as a whole.


Once you’ve opened yourself to learning and accepted your sensei’s teaching, a yellow belt is rewarded. It symbolises that the fighter has now managed to melt away the white snow and is open to learning by letting in rays of yellow sunlight.


The rays of sunlight intensify as the fighter further opens their minds to the practices of karate. It means that you’re progressing and that you’ve learnt the basics of what karate is all about. Though a symbol of early state, it’s still an important belt to have.


Breaking through the ground like a seedling is the next step and when the green belt is awarded. It’s the stage where you’re past the basics and begins to learn more about the technical and intermediate states of karate.


Blue is the beginning of technical practices as the student grows towards the blue skies. This is where things become a bit harder as mind and body control become important.


As the blue fades to a deep purple colour of dawn, the purple belt is the perfect representation of a fighter learning the leanings of a black belt. The purple stage is yet again a very important step in the learning process, especially since advanced techniques are introduced.


Much like the seeds ready to fall off the plant and begin their own journey, the brown belt represents the maturity to practice higher levels of intensity, focus and control. It also means the fighter is willing to work harder and reach the other levels.


Red resembles the sunset yet again, but a deep more progressed version of it than the purple belt. It also indicates that the student is beginning to master the art of karate and that previous stages have all been pasted, not only physically, but mentally as well.


Representing the darkness of the night and representing the end of training, the black belt indicates that the fighter has now become a master of the night himself. It means every fundamental of karate has been perfected and that the student has now reached the highest possible level.