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==Ranks for Black Belt Holder(Japan Ranking)==

1st dan(degree) black belt shodan (初段:しょだん
2nd dan(degree) black belt nidan (二段:にだん)
3rd dan(degree) black belt sandan (三段:さんだん)
4th dan(degree) black belt yondan (四段:よだん)
5th dan(degree) black belt godan (五段:ごだん)
6th dan(degree) black belt rokudan (六段:ろくだん)
7th dan(degree) black belt (also, nanadan) shichidan (七段:ななだん)
8th dan(degree) black belt hachidan (八段:はちだん)
9th dan(degree) black belt kyūdan (九段:きゅうだん)
10th dan(degree) black belt jūdan (十段:じゅうだん)

The term black belt has become widely known as a way to describe an expert in martial arts,[1] where a practitioner's level is often marked by the color of the belt. The black belt is commonly the highest belt color used and denotes a high degree of competence, and often associated with a teaching grade though frequently not the highest grade or the "expert" of public perception. It is also a relatively recent invention, dating from the 19th century, rather than an ancient custom.[2]

black belt performing a kata]]



The systematic use of belt color to denote rank was first used by Kano Jigoro, the founder of judo, who first devised the colored belt system using obi, and awarded the first black belts to denote a Dan rank in the 1880s. Initially the wide obi was used; as practitioners trained in kimono, only white and black obi were used. It was not until the early 1900s, after the introduction of the judogi, that an expanded colored belt system of awarding rank was created.[2] Other martial arts later adopted the custom or variation on it (e.g. using colored sashes) to denote rank including in arts that traditionally did not have a formalized rank structure. This kind of ranking is less common in arts that do not claim a far eastern origin.



One common idea concerning the tradition of belts claims that the belt ranking system is an ancient aspect of traditional martial arts and that early martial artists began their training with a white belt, which eventually became stained black from years of sweat, dirt, and blood. In fact, Japanese Koryu instructors tended to provide certificates and, given the standard of cleanliness common in a traditional dojo, a student arriving with a bloodied or dirty uniform might not be allowed to train.[citation needed]

In some arts and schools there is the (often only half-serious, though equally often rigorous) opinion that the belt should not be washed; the idea that by doing that one would "wash away the knowledge" or "wash one's Qi away" might be related to this myth. Apart from risk of the dye running, there is the problem that as most modern belts are made with a cotton or nylon outer shell, but polyester batting and stitching to fill out the belt, the different shrinkage of cotton and polyester in hot water could cause the belt to come apart.[citation needed]

Relative rank

black belts training]]

Rank and belts are not equivalent between arts, styles, or even within some organisations. In some arts, a black belt is quite easy to obtain, usually expected in three years, while in others ten years may be common. Testing for black belt is commonly more rigorous and more centralized than for lower grades. It is a common belief that belts are handed out more loosely in the West than in Asia, where the custom of using the color of the belt to indicate a practitioner's rank originated. In Japan, however, rank often comes more or less automatically with time done and the black belt has little to do with the "master" level which westerners often think of when they hear the term "black belt".[citation needed]


In contrast to the "black belt as master" stereotype, a black belt commonly indicates the wearer is competent in a style's basic technique and principles.[2] Since in many styles a black belt takes approximately three to six years of training to achieve, a good intuitive analogy would be a bachelor's degree: the student has a good understanding of concepts and ability to use them but has not yet perfected their skills. In this analogy a master's degree and a doctorate would represent advancement past the first degree.

Another way to describe this links to the terms used in Japanese arts; shodan (for a first degree black belt), means literally the first/beginning step, and the next grades, nidan and sandan are each numbered as "ni" is two and "san" is three, meaning second step, third step, etc. The shodan black belt is not the end of training but rather as a beginning to advanced learning: the individual now "knows how to walk" and may thus begin the "journey".

As a 'black belt' is commonly viewed as conferring some status,[1] achieving one has been used as a marketing 'gimmick', for example a guarantee of being awarded one within a specific period or if a specific amount is paid.[3] Some schools place profit ahead of ability when using these tactics and are sometimes referred to as McDojos.[4]


In some Japanese schools, after obtaining a black belt the student also begins to instruct, and may be referred to as a senpai (senior student) or sensei (teacher). In others, a black belt student should not be called sensei until they are sandan (third degree black belt), as this denotes a greater degree of experience and a sensei must have this and grasp of what is involved in teaching a martial art. , as shown on these taekwondo 1st, 2nd, and 3rd dan black belts]]

Higher grades

In the Japanese martial arts, the further subdivisions of black belt ranks are called dan grades where higher numbers means higher rank. Yūdansha (roughly translating from Japanese to "person who holds a black belt") describe those who hold a black belt rank. While the belt remains black, stripes or other insignia can be added to denote seniority. In some arts, very senior dan grades will wear differently colored belts such as in judo and some forms of karate where a sixth dan will wear a red and white belt, which becomes red only at even higher ranks. In some schools of Jujutsu, the Shihan rank and higher wear purple belts. These other colors are often still referred to collectively as 'black belts'.


  1. ^ a b From a James Bond novel: "Goldfinger said, 'Have you ever heard of Karate? No? Well that man is one of the three in the world who have achieved the black belt in Karate,' " implying that a black belt was a rare distinction. Fleming, Ian (1959). Goldfinger. pp. 91–95. 
  2. ^ a b c Ohlenkamp, Neil (Last modified March 25, 2007.). "The Judo Rank System" (html). Retrieved on 2007-10-15. 
  3. ^ An example of the kind of guarantees that are offered
  4. ^ Cotroneo, Christian. (November 26, 2006) Toronto Star. Kicking it up at the McDojo. Section: News; Page A12.

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