Practicing karate is a great way to strengthen your body, learn self-defense, and focus on your inner balance. Tieing your belt correctly, however, can be a bit daunting if you are just starting out. The most common way to knot your belt is to use both sides, but there are a few other ways, so ask the instructor at your school if you’re unsure. Belts can be knotted on both sides for a wraparound appearance, or on the left side for a smoother, cleaner appearance.
Balancing the Obi
The karate belt is carefully constructed so that your weight is evenly distributed across your entire frame. The first step in putting on your seat belt is to check that it is properly balanced. This is usually done by making sure the belt hangs evenly when hanging in the middle.
Hold the belt in the middle and hang it at a height so that two equal lengths extend from where you hold it. In this state, the belt must be perfectly balanced in length and weight. This symbolizes the concept of Shin Gi Tai, the concept of balance between the technical, physical, and spiritual aspects of the self. It is also a symbol that karate involves a balance between body and mind. The hand in the middle controls balance.
Fasten Your Seat Belt
Putting on the obi involves a few steps that must be done in the right way and in the right order. Once the balance is established, the next step is to wrap the belt around the body. Start by placing the center of the belt above or just below your belly button. This joins the center of the belt to the center of the body, a perfect unit.
Hold both sides of the belt and cross it behind your back to form an X across your lower back. After making the point of contact behind your body, the two ends of the belt should curl again and come to the front of your body, forming another X.
To correctly align the belt during this first step, you will need to locate the tag, which is a piece of material attached to one end of the belt. After trimming your obi, you need to make sure the tag is on the correct side. That way, if you followed the steps above, the tag will remain on your right side when you hold the belt after wrapping it twice around your body.
Tie the Knot
After forming an X in front of the body, wrapping the belt around the waist twice, it’s time to tie the knot. The first step is to tuck the right side of the waistband, the side with the label, under the waistband and tighten. It is important to ensure that the belt has no kinks or twists.
While holding the belt, you should buckle the length of the belt on your left side, again taking care not to bend or twist the belt. When you are done with the buckle, bring the other end forward and over the point where the buckle closes near the center of the belt. At this point, the end of the belt buckle should be hanging over the buckle with the buckle to your left.
The next important step is to insert the label end of the belt into the buckle. You’ll do this from the bottom up, so the hanging end of the belt is facing up when you’re done. To complete the knot, pull the end of the pendant firmly through the loop and pull both ends until the knot is completely tight. Finished knots should resemble fortune cookies. Leave both ends of the strap hanging down and make sure they are approximately the same length.
A fundamental ritual of karate is tying the obi. There are symbolic nuances that karate students associate with this act. The initial placement of the band below the navel or navel evokes its association with life. Karate teaches unique skills and lessons that can help practitioners receive and give life. Professionals need to reflect on the moral responsibilities and obligations that automatically come with such a position of power.
Crossing the belt once behind the back and then again in the front has symbolic meaning. The first is a reminder to always be prepared for unforeseen problems and attacks that pop up unexpectedly where you least expect it. The latter symbolizes the concept of karma, indicating that everything that goes must return. It is also a reminder that adversity can come from any direction and you should always be ready and prepared for it.
Before the knot is tied, the two ends of the belt are facing opposite directions. The image symbolizes the downfall that can occur when one’s inner peace is lacking. Striking for peace and control during such times can benefit the body and mind, improving life itself. As a final point, the proper tightening of the belt symbolizes the strong determination that must be manifested to excel in Karate, and in life as well.
You are encouraged to check that the belt ends are hanging evenly after tightening them. Despite this, you should not be alarmed if they aren’t. Rather than aiming for perfection, karate aims for striving for it. this is the key principle.
The Gi and the Obi
Many martial arts, including Karate, use the dogi or gi uniform as their traditional uniform. Gis are traditionally white in color and consist of three parts: the zubon or pants, the kimono or top, and the obi or belt. In order to keep the practitioner free-flowing and allow them to use their entire range of motion, the gi is designed. In Karate, gis is respected and kept in pristine condition at all times by the practitioners.
Gi tops are closed securely with the obi or Karate belt. The tie has symbolic significance, so it’s important to make sure it’s tied correctly. By mastering this art the traditional Japanese way, you can demonstrate your commitment to its essential philosophy. The act of tying the belt is also a ritual in itself, with its discipline and repeatability calming and focusing the mind.
A simple action like tying a belt may seem trivial and unimportant to some people. The little things, however, are extremely important to the Karate tradition. By correctly tying the obi, the entire Karate uniform will be secure. Tieing a belt ritualistically is a testament to the deep symbolic message embedded in the act. In order to be a true practitioner of the art, one must learn to master this skill properly.