How To Tie A Belt Knot (Quick Guide for Beginners)

Martial Arts, such as Karate, Judo, and Jiujitsu, are great ways of learning self-defense. But more than that, they are also great ways of learning discipline, patience, and focus, something that can benefit many aspects of our lives.

How To Tie A Belt Knot

And one of the ways that we show that discipline is through wearing a school or dojo’s gi.

And nothing shows just how far you have come in that journey of learning and discipline, and the countless hours you have spent training, quite like your belt.

When it comes to formal martial arts attire, your martial arts belt, whether it is for Karate, Jiujitsu, or one of the many other types of martial arts out there that use a ranking system, the belt is often a signifier of a person’s journey through training.

However, for a lot of new people, learning how to properly show this respect can be a little daunting. This is especially the case when it comes to first tying their belts in the right belt knot.

In this article, we are going to show you how to tie belt knots for yourself, as well as explain some extra details behind them and their origins in martial arts.

Origins Of Martial Arts Belts

The origins of belts in terms of how they relate to martial arts are somewhat hard to pin down.

While there are many stories and tales about how certain belts got their colors of significance, such as the story of black belts accumulating their color from sweat and dirt from the many years of training, it is especially difficult to pin down when and why belts became such a cornerstone of martial arts uniforms.

One of the most likely reasons that belts, also known as an Obi in Japan, were first used as part of the modernization process that many martial arts went through as they were formalized in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Before the early 19th century, most martial arts practitioners of high levels of status and experience in Japan would often wear kimonos, a formal robe attire that has been worn for hundreds of years in the country.

As the 19th century progressed, and more martial arts schools and styles started to develop, one of the things that were also developed were the uniforms that were worn by martial artists, especially during practice.

As a kimono was often not suitable for practicing fighting and sparring in, changes were made to the uniform to make it more suited for practicing in.

Jigoro Kano, who is often considered the father of modern Judo, was one of the individuals who pushed for this change, and helped cement the Judogi, and subsequently martial art gi, as the standard uniform for many other styles across the world.

Where Belts Fit Into This 

One part of the kimono garment that was also adopted into subsequent gi uniforms was the sashes that helped hold the formal robes together.

As virtually all modern gi designs are derived from these older items of clothing, the belt, or obi, originally played a similar role for gi, holding a practitioner’s uniform together.

Jigoro Kano is also believed to have helped push for the use of belts to demonstrate ranks by associating each rank, or dan. With a different color.

Dans as a ranking system is used in a variety of East Asian and Central Asian countries, so using colored belts became a very popular system by which to signify a person’s experience and proficiency with.

Gini Funakoshi, the father of modern Shotokan Karate, would also adopt this belt system into how karate belts were standardized.

How To Tie A Belt Knot

How To Tie Your Own Martial Arts Belt

So, having learned how exactly belts became as important as they are today in martial arts, we can now finally explain how you can tie your belt knot for yourself.

Doing this for the first time and with your first belt, especially when you have achieved your next belt above your first dan can be intimidating.

But with these steps, you’ll be in a much better place.

  1. Firstly, you’ll want to fold your belt in half. It should be pretty much the same for each side, so make sure that you check that they are even by running your hands along it to smooth it out and make them match.
  2. Once you have folded the belt in half, you should then place the center of your folded belt at your navel. Don’t worry if you are concerned that it will be uncomfortable, the belt will find its sitting position once the knot is completed.
  3. With the belt against your navel, you can now wrap the two ends of the belt around your waist, then back around so that the ends are in front of you again. You’ll want to make sure that the ends crossed over behind you when you were wrapping them around. If you are having trouble, ask a friend to take a look at your belt and how it sits behind you. The ends should still be pretty even.
  4. Now you can overlap the belt over your navel. One end should fold over the center, and the other under.
  5. Tuck the top part of the belt underneath the layer around your stomach, and pull it back towards you. This should create a small knot that you can work with.
  6. Now, you can fold the bottom end of the belt underneath the top side to tie them together and make a belt knot. The end of the belt you have sticking out from underneath can now be crossed under the top end and can be pulled through that cross you just made. Just a little tightening by pulling the bottom, and you’re good to go!


As you can see, the belt is pretty important to get right. Hopefully, this guide has helped clear things up for you.

Christopher Anderson
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