As you rank up in Karate, your belt will go from lighter colors (white, yellow, orange, green) to darker colors (blue, purple, brown, red). But have you ever really wondered why we use this belt ranking system though and not, let’s say, a color belt system that works the other way round (from darker to lighter colors)?
Let’s find out.
It all has to do with cost efficiency. You see, right after WWII, Japan and Korea were extremely poor countries. To save money, this system of getting a darker color belt as you rank up was developed as and for one simple reason: it allowed people to just dye their white belt to a new color and save money. For obvious reasons, the only way this dying process could work was if you went from lighter colors to darker colors. Dying the belts to a new color was a cheap and efficient way of having a visible and simple ranking system. Karate was not the first martial art to implement this system though. (the article continues after the ad)
This technique and ranking system, originated in the 1880s by Dr. Jigoro Kano, the “Founder of Modern Judo”. Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan Karate adopted and transferred it to karate along with other philosophical concepts from Dr. Kano.
By the way, karate is not the only martial art that uses this originally Judo idea. In 1939, Korean Byung Jick Ro, “Founder of Modern Taekwondo” who was a student of Gichin Funakoshi, implemented the color belt ranking system in Taekwondo as well.
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Photo: patrickbrassard0 / Pixabay
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: The Purpose of Color Belts and Sashes
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