Most Martial Arts Styles use belt colors as an indication of level of training in the art. Therefore, there are probably as many sets of meaning behind the color of the belts as there are martial arts. In my kwan (or school) in Tae Kwon Do there is a short story that spans the course of the belt colors and depicts the meaning of each belt. This little story has 6 chapters and it goes like this…
“There once was a tiny seed. This seed represents the student in the martial arts….”
Chapter one (white): The white belt represents the color of purity it is also the color which reflects all light. At this point, the seed is buried under a blanket of snow. White represents the color of the snow. In this chapter the seed is dormant however could have great potential.
Chapter two (yellow): The yellow belt represents the warmth of the sun, which melts the snow and allows the seed (or the student) to grow.
Chapter three (green): Green represents the new growth of the seed. Just as a flower pushes through the soil with purposeful growth, so does the student as he/she pushes through new awareness of self and the martial art.
Chapter four (blue): Blue is the color of the sky. The seed is now reaching boldly for the sky with ambitious and rapid growth.
Chapter five (red): Red is the color of intensity. This represents the seed blossoming with the intensity of the martial arts. Red is also representative of the sun which controls the universe, just as the students mind, controls the body.
Chapter six (black): The final chapter. Black is the combination of all colors. No color added to it can change it. The color black also is the color which absorbs all light, just as the student has learned to absorb and learn from his/her surroundings. This is a heightened level of awareness.
Thus ends the story of the belts….. A good example of this story is seen in a stalk of wheat. As it progresses through these phases of life, it reaches a point where it has matured. The head of the stalk becomes heavy with seeds. The head then bows low to the ground and drops the seeds, thus creating the next generation. Just as the martial arts student matures into blackbelt, he/she becomes more humbled (as the wheat bows low) and generates new martial arts ‘seeds’.
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