Saturday, February 9, 2013

How to Tie Your Karate Belt

Learning to tie your karate belt can be the first real martial arts challenge you face. As an instructor, I cannot count the number of students that come to class with their belt untied, or tied incorrectly. So here please find a quick 16-step video that I'm sure will answer all your questions.

Did that help? No? My grandson seemed to be doing OK until the end.

Let's break it down. Below please find a seven-step guide to tieing your karate belt. First, there are two caveats:
  • Not all Martial Arts programs use the exact same technique for belt tieing. What is shown here is for Tang Soo Do, and specifically the International Tang Soo Do Federation.
  • Lastly, Black Belts actually use a slightly different set of movements to tie their belt. You will note in Step 3 below, that the belt crisscrosses in the back.  Black Belts use a technique that eliminates this so that the belt lies flat across your back. Even if you figure out the Black Belt method, you should not use it until you are a Black Belt.
Step #1: Find the center of your belt by bending it in half such that the two ends are exactly the same length.

Step #2: Place the middle of the belt on your belly button and wrap the two ends around your back.

Step #3: Continue wrapping the end around your back and bring them around in front.  The image shown here is from the back, for clarity.

Step #4: The end of the belt in your right hand is crossed over in front of the left strap.

Step #5: The end of the belt in your left hand is looped underneath both straps and pulled up behind as shown here.

Step #6: The end you just looped underneath and pulled up is now moved downward and to the left (from your perspective - it is shown moving to the right in the image below). Additionally, the end of the belt that is in your right hand is tucked inside the strap you just moved downward and to the right. Study the last two images carefully as this is the step most students mess up.

Step #7: The belt is essentially tied, just pull the respective ends outward to tighten it up.

I hope these instructions help.  I asked my wife to model the procedure as she is not a martial artist, so she would have no advantage in following the instructions. She did great, and I think you will too.

Here are a few etiquette rules related to your belt in class. If your belt falls off in class (kudos, by the way for working so hard) and it falls to the floor and is not an obstacle to you or others - leave it there, until the exercise or drill is over.

If you have to retie your belt in class, turn around (away) from the others. Tieing a belt is like getting dressed, or zipping your zipper. Turn around, tie your belt, then turn back forward. This is one of the few self-directed actions you can take without asking permission.

Lastly, your belt should only be worn in class. If you choose to wear your uniform to class (rather than getting dressed at the Do Jang), you should leave your belt off until you arrive. After arriving, you should use proper etiquette when putting it on.

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