There seems to be a pride in using a beaten up belt. Isn't a belt cheap, shouldn't a MA practitioner be in clean and well maintained attire ?

  • They are meant to hold up the pants, and to keep the top down. If it can do that, it doesn't really matter its condition. – Andrew Jay Jun 24 '18 at 21:34
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    This seems to be very opinion-oriented... – Macaco Branco Jun 25 '18 at 2:07
  • Yes. it's a very opinion oriented question. I yet to write my view on the subject to avoid biasing the awnsers. – Jorge Canelhas Jun 25 '18 at 6:39
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    Clean attire for...what? I'm not wearing my sunday best to sparring class. Conversely, I'm not wearing my grungies to a testing. I have close to a dozen varieties of BB rattling around my gear bags, in various states of "newness". – JohnP Jun 25 '18 at 14:22
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    I do not see why this question is primarily opinion-based. It is asking a question about martial arts culture. Fraying of the belt is acceptable in ways that fraying of the rest of the uniform is not. A good answer would explain this difference. – mattm Jul 5 '18 at 10:53

People actually sell belts that have been distressed, especially black belts that have their color faded so much that they can almost pass for a dirty white belt.

Many martial artists distress their belts themselves as soon as they get them. There are recipes for doing this online.

While this is done on purpose nowadays, in the past it was just something that happened over time and with a lot of experience. Belts faded in color and became frayed. That's how you knew someone was a really experienced black belt, as opposed to a new black belt. The more experience someone had, the more distressed their belts looked.

In the past it was almost a matter of pride to have a faded black belt. It showed their dedication, time, and effort they put into practicing their art. But nowadays, many people just go out and get pre-faded belts. So you can't judge anything by the condition of a belt nowadays.

Is it right? Does it mean anything?

Well, to me it seems fake, vain, and pointless. I would never do that. But in many schools, this is the norm. It's just part of their school's culture. From that perspective, it then becomes a "when in Rome" kind of thing. You do what everyone else there does.

Hope that helps.


My Sensei gets a new black belt every ten years so they become frayed as you can tell. But he actually gives those belts to the students that he has trained for the longest and he considers close friends . So to have a frayed black belt for this reason is something good in our dojo but nobody frayes them on purpose .

  • Handing off an old battered belt as a memento to a worthy student is nice - (surely more regularly than every ten years though - mine are noticeably damaged after 1 year). Do people actually wear the beaten up belts that are handed to them? (If my instructors gave me such a belt it would be placed on my memory shelf - wearing it would feel 'wrong') Is the standard for those without such a belt to wear a new belt and replace regularly? (if remaining the same grade for a long time - otherwise they get a new belt anyway). – Collett89 Jun 27 '18 at 14:02
  • They actually do wear them I think and you usually wear the same belt as long as you the rank for it . At least this is how it goes down in my dojo. – NewbieControl Jun 27 '18 at 16:59
  • My belt is decently frayed and lost some of its colour. As long as it performs its purpose, I don't see a need for replacement. We already live in a world where everything material is replaced for small amounts of wear and tear. It's something I can't really agree on. – Sjana Dec 4 '18 at 13:09

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