THE FIRST OF MANY
 
Shiro obi
When you are accepted into a dojo one of the first things that will be asked of you is that you dress in an appropriate manner for all of your classes.
 
While there are a wide variety of styles within the world of martial arts traditionally in a Shotokan karate dojo all of the students and instructors wear a white gi that is tied at the waist with a coloured belt or "obi" in keeping with their present rank.
 
These belts start with the colour white, or as it is referred to in the dojo, tenth kyu. Progressing upwards in rank the belts can vary in colour from dojo to dojo but often you will have yellow, orange, red, green, violet, blue, and then three different levels of brown. These three levels of brown belt are most often distinguished from each other by a horizontal stripe at one end of the belt. One stripe is for the rank of 3rd kyu, two stripes for the rank of 2nd kyu, and three stripes for the rank of 1st kyu.
 
On the surface it may appear odd that the 1st kyu rank has three stripes, and the 3rd kyu rank only has one stripe but, in karate the kyu, or junior ranks, count down from ten which is the lowest kyu rank, to one, which is the highest kyu rank thus with the rank of 1st kyu brown belt will have the most stripes.
 
After 1st kyu the next rank is Sho Dan, or 1st level of black belt. Once you reach the Dan ranks the count reverses and you start counting upward from one to ten, with 10th Dan being the highest level you can obtain within the traditional Shotokan karate system.
 
After dressing in your new gi the next thing to do is to learn how to tie on your new white belt. Below you will find a diagram that illustrates how this should be done.
 
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, but if in doubt about the way it looks be sure and ask one of the other students for confirmation.
 
So pay attention in class, follow instructions, be observant, and always train with a positive attitude. If you do then before you know it you will find yourself grading for a new rank and that next coloured belt that comes with it. But remember, once you have learned to tie your belt properly, the manner in which you do so will not change despite any future change in rank.
 
One way truly fits all in this case.
 
Remember:
Your belt is a visual symbol of your past
effort and dedication, so wear it with pride.
Part the clouds - see the way.
 
"The objective of karate-do is to contribute to the evolution
of the human spirit through physical and mental training."
Sensei Peter Lindsay