I came across this youtube video. Being a beginner in Aikido I was wondering, is this the traditional way of tying your belt? Are there other ways to do it? Does it matter how you tie it?

  • As far as I know, it is the way we all do it. However, there is another way (bigger and tighter knot) that gets the belt to not undo itself during competition. Sadly, I cannot remember how to do it. Mar 28, 2012 at 11:50

4 Answers 4


With Japanese forms, you'll find a greater emphasis placed on even the small things. That said, the method demonstrated to tie the aikido belt in that video is the same way I've been instructed to tie my belt in karate.

The benefits of that method are:

  • Presentation: the belt lays flat and looks neat
  • Lack of distraction: because the belt stays tight, you aren't catching your hand on it, or tugging at it during class

That said, the method shown seems to be the correct way of tying a belt who's sole purpose is to display rank. This is the same for aikido, judo, taekwando, etc. I've seen students from other schools who just put the belt on any way they can. Either the ends of the belt hang so far down they trip on it (not wrapping it enough), or the wraps don't lay flat and it looks messy. Any time you are in a competition where you are being judged, the way you present yourself shows the way you approach your training. If you look haphazard, often the results of the forms you demonstrate echo that presentation.

There's another type of belt (or obi) that is used with traditional sword arts where you use a hakama and gi. The obi for sword arts functions to hold the saya (scabard), and has no purpose related to displaying rank. There are multiple correct ways to tie an obi that goes with the hakama.

  • 2
    Presentation is more important than I realized in my experience. It's a signifier of your treatment of your system or style and whatever culture or traditions come with it. Basically, it's a sign of respect to what you do, your history and ancestors.
    – Matt Chan
    Mar 28, 2012 at 13:17
  • 1
    The belt should wrap twice, and the ends should come together evenly at about the bottom of your gi when they are relaxed (new belts may stick straight out). If they aren't roughly at that length, your belt is too long. Depending on the art and instructor, the belt may be wrapped from the middle around both sides to tie at front (leaving an X at the back – In my experience, common with judoka), or as shown, with a length at front and wrapping about twice. Either way, look for the fortune-cookie knot!
    – stslavik
    Mar 28, 2012 at 17:57
  • 1
    This is how I was taught to tie it... but I find it hard to get the knot to lay flat... you have to pay VERY close attention to how you have the two ends twisted when tying the knot (which face is up/down), otherwise the ends will stick out at all odd angles... I also do not find that it stays particularly well. It seems to come lose primarily during any groundwork... whether it be situps during warmups or working on grappling techniques.
    – eidylon
    Mar 29, 2012 at 15:44

For Aikido I was taught the same method as in the video, except that I start with the end hanging to the left instead of the right. I was told this is so rolling is more comfortable. The X tying version (starting with the middle of the belt on your stomach and wrapping around both directions simotaneously) is supposedly used by martial arts that don't do a lot of rolls (like Karate). All the places I've ever trained at Aikido have tied their belt with the "flat back" version.

When I took Kenpo the instructor said I should start with the end hanging to my right (as shown in the video). So I had to learn how to tie my belt in the opposite direction of what I was already accustomed to. My friends who did Taikwondo / Karate at other places usually tied their belt in the X fashion.

This website has an interesting division of belt tying. For the colored belt he shows the X version (starting from the middle of his stomach). For the black belt with name and school he shows the flat back version.


This one is pretty much what I see Shihans and high ranks do:


  • Can you please provide some description of the video? One-liners link-only answers don't make for very good answers. If the video disappears, then the answer becomes worthless.
    – Matt Chan
    Apr 7, 2012 at 4:42
  • It's pretty much impossible to describe it well in words. If the video disappears then you're stuck with a pretty much meaningless description.
    – tacone
    Apr 7, 2012 at 22:33
  • 1
    Perhaps pictures and descriptive text is better then.
    – Matt Chan
    Apr 8, 2012 at 5:24

Ask your Sensei or an advanced student. I've learned Aikido in a number of different schools (often I have find a new school if I get laid off at work and have to move). Some schools want it one way. Others, another. I is the same with techniques. Your dojo will have a specific way of doing things with a level of importance attached to each practice.

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