A red belt is the third and final rank in some traditional Japanese martial arts.

Besides its symbolic meaning, a red belt Karate signifies the student has achieved basic competence in their art. The reach of this rank varies from style to style, but it requires at least five years of training before receiving one. 

Stripes can signify several grades within this level on the uniform or by adding more patches to it.

For example, if you’re wearing a white uniform with two lines (representing your first degree), then after five years, you will have three and a patch for your second-degree black belt.

Add another line and patch for your third-degree black belt and so on until you finally achieve your tenth.

What Order Is the Red Belt?

The Red Belt Karate represents the 9th-degree black belt. The Black Belt symbolizes mastery of all techniques and knowledge on physical, mental, and spiritual levels.

After the highest rank which is 10th Dan Grant Master, many schools give a ranking system to their students like mokuroku (teaching license). 

This is where one must teach or show at least four forms, and nikyu (lower grades), yondan(higher grades). The ranking system is not true for Okinawan Karate but only for the Japanese Shotokan style.

In traditional styles like Goju-Ryu, Shito-Ryu, Wado-Ryu, Shobayashi Ryu, Isshin-ryu, etc., maroon and brown belts represent the higher ranks.

How Hard Is It To Get The Red Belt in Karate?

Karate is a hard sport to master. It takes years of dedication and discipline to get the coveted red belt.

The first rank you receive in Karate, the black belt, only signals that you have started your journey toward becoming an expert in martial arts. It does not mean you have reached the end destination.

The next rank-up, second-degree black belt, requires 11-13 years of training with eight hours each day. This is besides competition experience or a demonstration of proficiency in an art form such as dance or music.

And finally, those who want to achieve the highest rank possible–the third-degree black belt–will need 13-15 years on top of what they listed above.

Many people would never go through all the steps to get a black belt; however, the journey makes Karate so great.

Black Belt Level in Karate

  • 1st-degree black belt – Jiu-Dan or Shodan
  • 2nd-degree black belt – Nidan or Sandan
  • 3rd-degree black belt – San-dan or Yondan
  • 4th-degree black belt – Yon-dan or Godan
  • 5th-degree black belt – go-dan or Rokudan (the highest ranking you can achieve)

What Test Does the Student Have to Pass to get The Red Belt?

The student has to pass a series of tests before receiving the red belt. It is an honor being able to wear this belt, and it requires hard work.

The first test they have to take boasts the name Kihon Happou, which means basics or fundamentals. It requires them to perform basic moves like punches, kicks, blocks, and evasive maneuvers. 

Once they complete that test, they can move on to another one where they have to show their knowledge of the history behind Karate to earn their next rank up.

The testing process is rigorous but rewarding at the same time. This is because students who want something bad enough will do anything it takes. Even if it means going through all these tough challenges.

How Long Does It Take To Get The Red Belt in Karate?

It takes a lot of time and patience to get the coveted red belt Karate. Many requirements need completion before you can move up in rank.

The first requirement is to practice for 100 days consecutively, which equates to about three months. This means going four times a week without missing even one day.

You also must show the kata form and show proficiency with self-defense techniques, such as punches, kicks, blocks, throws, and tackles at a certain level. Finally, you will need your sensei’s approval before moving on.


In most cases, the red belt karate is reserved for senior members of the karate school. This means they are at least 18 years old and have been in training for a significant amount of time – typically more than five to ten years.

Achieving this level takes dedication and discipline and being able to spar with other black belts without fear while maintaining good technique.

So, if you’re looking to get your red belt, it’s best not to start too soon. It will take many hours of practice before you can even be considered a candidate for taking on such an advanced rank, but when that day comes, you will enjoy it.

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