IntroThe belt helps hold the uniform together and indicates the rank of the wearer. When a martial artist meets another martial artist who is in uniform, the first thing noticed is the belt, to see the rank of the person. When in a martial arts environment, the belt (rank) determines the status of the wearer and respect the person desires.
Belt circleThe belt encircles its wearer. The circle is a universal symbol of wholeness and harmony and symbolizes the totality of the universe. The circularity of the belt reinforces the circular cycle of taekwondo training; the fact that, after years of training, one realizes that the true essence of taekwondo existed at the beginning. As a practical matter, the taekwondo belt holds the uniform closed, but its real significance is far greater than merely being a clasp or even a signifier of rank. The belt has symbolic meanings, both in eastern philosophy and in its color. These meaning are discussed in other articles under the belt subtopic.
Length of beltBelt length is usually 3 times the waist circumference. Some pattern competitors like to have a long belt so it touches the floor while in low stances to give the illusion of an even lower stance.
Construction of beltBelts are typically 1.5 inches wide and about 100 inches long. White and colored belts are usually made of cotton, whereas black belts often have a layer of satin over them. Belts usually have 8 lines of stitching running lengthwise. Cheap belts only have 6 lines of stitching. Black belts usually have 10 to 12 lines of stitching since they are usually wider than color belts.
Average belts are constructed with a felt liner covered with thin cotton straps with a cotton outer sheath. Quality belts are constructed with a heavy cotton strap with a cotton or satin outer sheath; no felt liner.
AdornmentColor belts are usually plain with no adornment. Some school may apply colored tape stripes to the ends of the belt to indicated levels of progress toward the next rank.
Black belts are usually adorned with embroidered lettering and symbols that vary by school and organization. The adornment usually includes:
- The student's name.
- The organization/school's name and/or logo.
- The rank, usually denoted as bars (I, II, III, etc.) or by gold strips on the ends of the belt.
- The date the rank was awarded.
- The name of the master who awarded the rank.
Care of beltDo not wash the belt, clean stains individually. To relax a new belt so it will hang freely, continuously crush it into a ball with your hands, and then store it this shape. A belt may be stretched by hanging it over the top of a door and pulling down on the ends of the belt.
How to tie beltThe best place to learn how to tie your belt, other than from your instructor, is to do a YouTube search. You will find different ways to tie the belt and detailed videos that offer instructions.