How to tie your belt

Please note, brand new belts will be very stiff and hard to tie properly until you've broken them in. If you don't mind washing your belt repeatedly, that will soften the material far quicker. If you are uncomfortable washing your belt, read this article on the history of karate belts.

drawing of an untied belt Your belt should have a plain end, and an end (and side) with a label. For clarity, the label side in our drawings is yellow, and the plain side is white.

drawing of a belt tie step 1 With the label facing outwards, wrap the belt anti-clockwise around you (viewed from above) so that the label-end is somewhere near your back. The exact position will vary according to your waist size and the length of your belt. The main part of your belt should be in the front.
drawing of a belt tie step 2 Holding the label end in place, continue to wrap the belt around you. If you pull the belt firmly, it should be able to hold the label end in place against your body.
drawing of a belt tie step 2 If the belt is long enough, wrap it one more time around your body, ending up with the loose end at the front. If the belt is not long enough, skip this stage.
drawing of a belt tie step 3 Take the loose plain belt end and tuck it under the two layers of belt in front of you. This bit is vitally important, if you do not tuck beneath both layers, then as soon as you start training, the bottom layer will droop down, and look unsightly.

If there is only one layer, just tuck it under that.

drawing of a belt tie step 4 Now for the tricky bit - reach behind you and find the label end which is hopefully held in place by two circles of belt. Pull the end down and out from the layers of belt on top of it, and unwind the label end anti-clockwise until it is at the front. At this stage, you should have two belt ends of roughly equal length; the label end hanging down and the plain end poking up. If the ends are not equal at this stage, you'll have to adjust how far you wind the belt around you in the first stage. Kids often have to start much further around, whilst chunkier people often start further back.
drawing of a belt tie step 5 Bend the plain end down. Take the label end, and without twisting it, pass it behind the plain one.
drawing of a belt tie step 6 Now wrap the label end once around the plain end.
drawing of a belt tie step 7 Pull both ends outwards to the sides to tighten the knot, then downwards at 45 degrees to give it the right shape. The two ends should both be pointing out and down at 45 degrees and should be of equal length. Click here to find out why the length is important.

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