I have been practising Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for a while. The red tip of the belt is worn on the left side; the only explanation for this is because it is the same side as the heart.

This doesn't sound reasonable to me. Does anyone know of any other explanations?

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    AFAIK this originates in Japanese tradition. There may not be a good reason, or it could be tangentially related to some samurai custom of tying the belt a certain way for access to their weapon. Jun 17, 2015 at 7:41
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    On second read I'm confused. I don't have a red tip on my BJJ belt; I have a black tip, and I wear it on the right. I stand by my earlier comment but that's a bit weird. Nov 22, 2015 at 8:43
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    When I was doing Chun Kuk Do (then known as "Chuck Norris-style" Tang Soo Do), we similarly had tips on our belts (with electrical tape, funnily enough) and having the tip on the left was just how it was done, no explanation any more than there's an explanation why one never buttons the bottom button on a suitcoat in modern fashion. Nov 23, 2015 at 12:45
  • Similarly, in my karate organisation, some people with their names on one side of their belt and the organisation name on the other insist that the organisation name side goes on the left, name on the right. Always. One guy even says to me he 'doesn't feel right when the side are switched'. We do not have tips or other identifiers on our belts.
    – AerusDar
    Nov 23, 2015 at 23:26
  • If a black tip is used on the right side, and a red tip is used on the left side, and the black tip means higher rank than the red tip, than that's strikingly similar to the Dao De Jing passage I quoted about the positions of the commanders during war.
    – Rodrigo
    Nov 24, 2015 at 21:18

2 Answers 2


The tabs at the end of BJJ belts have not historically been worn on one side in particular. Some schools may have a style they prefer, with possible rationalizations for them (e.g. following on from the left-over-right positioning of the kimono jacket), but this will be a recently invented tradition and is not consistent between schools nor even individual practitioners, e.g:

Hélio Gracie:

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Carlos Gracie:

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Likewise here is a video of Rickson Gracie specifically demonstrating tying one's belt, with the tabs on the right hand side.


To put an answer on this one, I believe the consensus is that it is "tradition" of the culture/style with which it originated. As this was asked on Jun 17 2015 I doubt anyone will find a more exact answer or why the tradition was to put it on the left specifically.

If anyone finds the reason this tradition was started please update with an answer, but alot of traditions started as preferences by the master and the students out of respect continued to "do things like the master" and generations later noone can remember or understand why it's done that way.

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