The first of many.

It is where we all started.

When you are accepted into a dojo, one of the things that will be asked of you is that you always dress in the appropriately. While there are a wide variety of styles within the martial arts world, in a classical Shotokan Karate dojo everyone wears a white gi. Your gi will be tied at the waist with a cotton belt, or obi. The colour of which will always be in keeping with your rank which represents your place within the dojo society.

Below you will find a diagram that illustrates how to tie your belt. Start in the upper left-hand corner, and read down that column first, then go to the upper right-hand corner and read down that column. Your belt should now be neatly tied around your waist. If in any doubt about the way it looks be sure and ask someone.

All beginners start with a white belt. Over time as you progress upward in rank your belt will usually change colour. While the order of the colours may vary from dojo to dojo, our kyu ranks are, yellow, orange, red, green, violet, blue, and three levels of brown. Numerically the junior ranks are counted downward from 10th kyu, to 1st kyu. 

After 1st kyu come the Dan ranks, or black belts. Starting with the first level, Shodan, these ranks count upward, from one to ten. With 10th Dan being the highest level obtainable within the classical Shotokan system.

So put on your gi, tie your belt, pay attention in class, and practice with a positive attitude. If you do then before you know it you too may soon find yourself grading for a new rank, and the new coloured belt that comes with it.

Remember: "Your belt is a visual symbol of your past effort and dedication, so always wear it with pride."