THIS WEEK: How to tie the martial arts belt (for students and parents); this is how we do it at LIONS Self Defence & Leadership Martial Arts in Leicester…
The martial arts belt is called the Obi and is integral to martial arts. There are many theories on the colours of the belts and where they came from – I wrote an article about it which you can find here. At LIONS Self Defence & Leadership Martial Arts in Leicester our kids and teens are taught that the belt is a symbol of their dedication, commitment and hard work. As they progress they achieve new coloured belts.
Older Kids tend to know how to tie their belts but younger children (usually up to about age 9) often need the help of their parents. Our LIONS Parents are committed and dedicated to doing the best for their kids and empowering them for black belt success (we must always credit the parents because without their dedication our kids would never be able to achieve their belts and success)  – HOWEVER… tying the martial arts belt can be a little awkward at first and it can take a while to learn. So the video that I will share with you is me tying the belt from the parents perspective.
Tying the belt correctly is important because of
  1. safety – we don’t want the belt to fall off or slip down and become a hazard or cause the student (or other students) discomfort.
  2. Taking care of appearances is the mark of a leader, this is something all of our kids are taught
  3. How we do one thing is how we do everything – taking care of how the belt is tied is like us setting the intention for our martial arts and taking care to learn every move correctly and to the best of our ability.

For a martial artist, his/her belt represents their achievement and so the tying of the belt is a ritual which has deep meaning and prepares the martial artist for the task of training. It is step one! Every style and system has their own way, traditional Japanese arts like Karate have a slightly different way to tie the belt to Korean arts like tae-kwon do. I know of about 14 different ways that the belt is tied and while studding different systems it was always interesting for me to learn their methods. At LIONS Self Defence & Leadership martial arts we use a traditional knot WITHOUT a crossover at the back. This is because our method is most comfortable for the kids and is aesthetically pleasing. It is also easy to adjust the belt lengths without needing to find the middle.


SO… what is the meaning of every stage of the belt tying?!


1) First you hold it – 1/3 on the (students) right side and 2/3 on the (students) right side) there is imbalance to represent the purpose of training.
2) Bring to the front – this represents being centred and protect yourself from all angles.
3) wrap belt behind you – represents making your weaknesses your strengths and protecting yourself from the unseen. Also putting everything else behind you to focus on the training
4) Cross over – belt goes in 2 directions like the mind, teaches us there are choices and duality in the world…. right and wrong, highs and lows, power and weakness etc
5/6) Tighten – we continue to take the belt in 2 directions (this time up and down) representing further duality and then is fastened to represent mindfulness about what happens in front of you
7-10) The Knot – tighten our resolve, hold ourselves together, keep knowledge and power well hidden and under control
LAST STEP – Check that it’s even – this show balance and the pursuit of perfection … don’t worry if it’s not perfect, you can adjust it. Martial arts isn’t about BEING perfect, it’s about always striving for perfection of character and spirit.
Heres a quick video of me tying the belt from the perspective of the parents… enjoy and I hope it helps!

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