how to tie a karate belt

How To Tie A Karate Belt? [Guide By Pro Karatekas]

Whether you are a Karate practitioner or not, a beginner or an expert, one of the biggest doubts about this martial art is how to tie a karate belt correctly.

Many think that their knot is better than others, but in reality it is not.

There is no perfect knot, it all depends on the practitioner’s preference.

In this article we will show you how to tie a karate belt in 2 different ways, give you tips and answer frequently asked questions.

Table of Contents

Types of wrapping

Starting from the base, before tying your favorite knot you need to decide the type of wrapping.

If you want your belt to form an x behind your back you will have to do it one way, if you want your belt to overlap forming a single line you will have to do it another way.

Let’s see them:

how to tie a karate belt


in this case you will have to take the belt, take the exact half and place it on the navel, take the ends and start turning them around the body.

The aesthetic result is not the best, but beauty is subjective.

We’ll tell you more, this type of wrapping is used by Sandra Sanchez (Olympic Kata Champion), so here too the choice is up to you!

how to tie a karate belt

Straight Line

this type of wrapping leads to a more pleasant aesthetic result, but the final decision is still up to you, don’t be influenced, choose with your own head!

Take one of the two ends of the belt and match it to the left hip, turn the other end of the belt around the body for two turns, then pull the first end out from under and pull until the two lengths are balanced.

If you have difficulty pulling, loosen the belt slightly, then tighten it again.

Be careful to keep the right end under everything without letting it come out and tie the first knot by passing the left end

How To Tie A Karate Belt

Now that we’ve seen the two types of wrapping, let’s dive into the two types of knots you can do.

It is important to specify that the knot you want to do can be done with the wrapping of your choice, as if they were lego pieces, you take each part and assemble it as you prefer.

how to tie a karate belt

Classic Knot

This type of knot is the simplest and fastest ever, it is the first knot that white belts are taught.

To learn it better we suggest you to read these steps while your watching the video:

– Fold the belt into two equal parts: to make a precise fold, take the two ends of the belt, make them fit together and then go down to the end of the belt holding the ends still and tightening the belt to find the exact half point.

– Place the half center on your belly button: unfold the belt keeping the center of the belt on your belly button and start wrapping both two parts around your body following the “X-Way”.

P.S. This Knot can also be done using straight line wrapping, it’s up to you to decide the type of wrapping!

– Lock the belt: overlap the two ends by placing the right end over the left one, now loop the top one underneath the entire belt, and pull it. 

Make sure the knot is tight enough, remember that it’s better that it tightens you a little bit rather than falling down while you’re fighting or even worse while you’re performing a kata!

Adjust your belt heightpull the belt down to hip level so you won’t have trouble breathing if it’s too tight.

– Cross the two ends: pass the right end over the left one. We recommend, to get the knot out well you have to turn the left end upside down! (Watch the video to understand well)

Make the knotPass the top end inside the intersection, tighten the knot and fix the belt and the karategi and here we are!

how to tie a karate belt

Double Knot

If your belt comes loose or you don’t like the aesthetics of the classic knot, this double knot is for you.

We assure you one thing, with this knot your belt will never come undone.

– Place one end on the left hip: Take the belt, in this case you won’t have to be careful to take it halfway, take the end with the tag and pass it in front of you (stomach) and place it on your left hip.

Wrap the belt around yourself twice: Loop the belt around your body twice, being careful to keep the end at your left hip.

– Extract the left end: at this point pull the left end (with the tag) out and, at first, match the lengths of the two ends, as soon as you’ve matched them stretch the end with the tag slightly, you’ll need it to get a perfect knot at the end.

Lock the belt: be careful to keep the end with the tag under all the layers of the belt, pass the left end over the right and now pass it (left end) under all the layers and tighten tightly.

– Adjust your belt heightpull the belt down to hip level so you won’t have trouble breathing if it’s too tight. Tighten the belt again, to tie this knot the belt must be very tight!

Thread the tagged end underneath the layersin this case you can pass the belt both inside and outside it, we recommend inside it, but do some tests and see which final result you prefer! This will be the first knot.

 Cross the two ends: pass the right end over the left one.

Insert the end into the first knotnow pull the ends and adjust the two knots by bringing them together. Here we are!

The first few times you will find it uncomfortable or you will have difficulty, but we assure you that once you get used to it, it is very simple!

Common Questions


Why my belt is not well-standing as pro karatekas?

If you are a karate lover, most likely you have seen the best karate athletes (especially in kata) tying very strange and complex knots, but obtaining a very pleasant visual result.

However, when you try to tie their same knot though, your belt doesn’t hold, why?

The reason is because most likely you are using a belt that is not suitable for the result you want to obtain, too soft and/or not the right size.

There are different types of belts, made with different materials.

To get the visual result you want, you have to choose the belts made especially for the kata which are very hard, very difficult to bend.

You will also need to choose a suitable size, we advise you to try to tie your favorite knot when buying the belt, if you do it in a shopping center, alternatively if you buy it online ask someone with a similar stature to let you try the his belt or to tell you his size.

Best Karate Belt Brands

To tie your belt correctly and nicely, we said you need a quality belt according to the specialty you practice (kata/kumite).

For Kumite, we can tell you that all brands are valid after all since aesthetics counts for almost 0 here, but if you still want to know about the great brands, we recommend you: Adidas and Smai.

As for the Kata, we recommend all those brands that have very hard belts, some examples of brands can be: Shureido, Arawaza, Hirota, Dae-Do, Tokaido etc

How Do I Tie My Karate Belt If It's Too Long?

If your belt is too long, no problem!

Tie the knot you prefer, as soon as you have finished it, turn the two ends of the belt from below or from above the body according to your preferences.

Watch the video to understand how to do it.

How Do I Tie My Karate Belt If It's Too Short?

Unlike the too long belt, if your belt is too short the situation is a little more complicated.

If you can’t even tie the basic knot, our only advice we can give you is to buy another belt.

The belt is a fundamental aspect for a karateka, don’t underestimate it!

How To Choose The Right Karate Belt Size?

With the advent of the internet it is very common to order clothes or, in this case, belts, uniforms or protective gear of the wrong size and then have to either return them or keep them.

For this reason it is very important to understand what size your karate belt should have before buying it online (if you can’t go to a physical store).

Determine how low you want the belt to hang, for example, 3cm longer than the length of your jacket. Now, while wearing your uniform, measure your waistline and calculate:

Belt length = (waistline cm x 2) + (hang length cm x 2) + 30cm for knot

Alternatively, if you don’t want to calculate it yourself, we have discovered an online belt calculator that is very easy to use, you can try it!

P.S. Even if you can order things on the internet, our advice is, if you compete, to buy the equipment live, especially at sporting events where there are various karate brands that very often also offer discounts, but this isn’t the main reason, but for the reason that you can be sure of the quality and size of the gear.

red belt and white belt karate

My Belt Rolls Up, How Can I Solve This?

If your belt rolls up when your knot is done, most probably the problem was before tying the belt.

Don’t roll up your belt when you finished your training, but fold it in layers.

To solve this problem, iron your belt by going over the crease several times.

Which Side The Belt Tag Should Be On?

This is one of the many concerns that a young karateka has. 

The answer is very simple, there is no right or wrong side, but to obtain a more aesthetic result it is recommended to keep the belt tag and the karategi tag on the same side (right).

Bottom Line

To sum it up, we hope that this guide on how to tie a karate belt has been useful to you, we really wanted to make you understand the differences between wrapping and the various knots, the reasons why most likely your belt does not hold up like that of a pro karateka and we also wanted to give you some tips to make it hold up better.

Have a nice day!

Karate Martial Art Team

Karate Martial Art Team

The Karate Martial Art Team is made up of 3 contributors who have full-time job and in their free time are dedicated to martial arts and writing. Do you want to become one of the Team? Get in touch on the contact page.

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