How long does it take to become a proper Karate black belt?

There seems to be a lot of people who call themselves black belts just because they bought one! I’m 8 months into Karate training and my sensei says it takes a minimum of 3 years to reach black belt training 2 or 3 times a week at least. That seems ok to me but i’d like to hear opinions from experts. I suppose its not just about a length of time but ability, i just want to know what the average time would be.
Thanks for the replies, i should add my sensei has been doing Karate over 25 years and has won competitions all over the place as well as knowing some of the top men in the industry and he does several other martial arts in which he’s black belt. Thats why i trust him!

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16 Responses to How long does it take to become a proper Karate black belt?

  1. gin says:

    i took 3 years to get my blackbelt

  2. nostrebor says:

    a grading every 6 months i don’t do karate but i guess 10 grading = 5 years
    but it will also depend on the age you start training because you cannot be a proper black belt at age 9 or 10 for example

  3. Everona97 says:

    As long as I concern the Black Belt in any of martial arts is not JUST about technique, it is about MIND. I can say more: it is about mind in the first place. I went through Tae Kwon Do and from Red Belt you have to write an essay with lots of thoughts. It stay secret between you and your exterminator but no way you can pass it with Internet. Some people got right mind fast enough and everything just felt right. Bit few… don’t want to remeber them: no matter how many hours they done it always something missing. I had my training 8 times per week with 2 hours minimum time. it was great

  4. Ninja says:

    I have been in karate for 3.5 years and it took me 3 to get my black belt, but I think it should take longer for someone to be truely molded.

  5. kvnzlfqri says:

    first i must say that black belt is a traditional thing not a real step in indicates that you arnt a beginner but it can mean a little more or very very more.
    if you are a common person with medium trying something between 2 or 3 years time needs for it
    in my style, first grade of “b.b.” means that you can exercise your kong fo alone . when you can learn strange forms you are between 2Th and 4Th grade.when you can fight in your style you are 5Th and when can use weapon (cold wpn.) you are 6Th and when can learn new style by yourself you are 8Th and 9Th.
    when you can fight in all styles, i mean when you can resist without hope, when you don’t mind to victory ,or in other word : when you are not you, you are 10Th grade.

  6. ximissa says:

    As students pass through the ranks taking grading examinations they are awarded with different colored belts (= Kyu).However the Kyu or number/rank always starts at 10 and ends at 1. Black belts ranks then increase normally, from 1st Dan to 10th Dan. The grading system in Karate has been introduced for a variety of reasons and it is a sign of having achieved a particular skill level, that gives the student an indication on how they are progressing.The grading procedure typically involves a training session where experienced Karateka (typically black belts from 1st Dan onwards) examine the performance of the students, including basic techniques, Kata, and sparring. There are 12 Kata requirement in belt examinations (Please take a look at the web). As you can see from the web 6 to get to the black belt. I agree with you when you say that it isn’t just a question of time, the ability and dedication of the student are very important factors. Saying this, if your sensei says that the average is 3 years, and that’s the average, it hard to talk about particular cases. But theirs an other thing here, they can say they have a black belt but in stage what?! Tricking ha! It’s easy to catch a liar on this thing!

  7. kelly c says:

    The colour of the belt is not as important as you think it is.
    If you have the time and money to trained full time. 24/7. Maybe 1 year or so. That is with a very good master/coach or someone who only want your money. Being a black belt does not mean you can beat a green belt, nor does it mean you have the best round house kick. Ranking are good for business and army training but I don’t feel it is the best area to aim when in training. Once a black belt also does not mean you are a good black belt. Take your time, Karate is for yourself not for showing to other the colour of your belt.

  8. BUSHIDO says:

    i havn’t seen any experts answer yet?far from it in fact.depends on your definition of black belt?also the style and the effort you want to put my opinion there should be no time frame it should go on the amount of effort you put in,your ability,your dicsipline and a few other things as well as the person as a whole.i dont believe a black belt is someone who can simply pass a set of requirements,pay there money do a grading and there a black belt.

  9. David N says:

    Probably about 10 years (minimum!)

    Once you get a black belt you know the basics.

    After you have a black belt you can actually start to LEARN the martial art rather than just how to do the moves.

    It’s sort of like learning a language…
    Once you have a black belt you know the grammar and vocabulary. Next you work on your creative writing and poetry skills.

    (I use this analogy because I’m a technical writer.)

  10. Feline friend says:

    Mate, you’re always learning. No true student needs grading because the importance is in what he knows, not who knows what he knows.

  11. Zenshin Academy says:

    I’m not even going to give my usual speach about belts, why, no one seems to care. I’d say about 3 years. In about 3 years, with most “karate” you can expect to have a nice black belt around your waist. If that is your goal you can expect about 3 years. (that’s one less person I have to worry about on the street).

  12. Em says:

    ive done karate for about 6 years and itll take me about another 2 or 3 years if not more to get my black-belt (im a green belt). i started in 5th grade and im now a sophmore in high school, soon to be a junior….

  13. sempai says:

    I would agree 3 years would be the absolute minimum even if with a very high ability. It’s not just ability that carries you through – you obtain an increasing level of understanding that can only come with time. Think of karate as a lifetime process of improvement. Although the black belt for most is the goal – that’s probably around the point that you really start to understand. It’s a bit like driving – you can learn what to do but you only really learn to drive once you have passed your test. Although once you have learnt a technique you think you know it – your knowledge of it becomes deeper and probably a couple of years into your training you will start to realise just how much you don’t know. Good Luck with your training. Keep an open mind – Get facinated not frustrated.

  14. idai says:

    Hi there

    There’s lots of factors that can effect how long it takes to get a black belt.

    1. Your ability and how long you train.

    2. Your club and organisation that it belongs. These days its hard to attract adults to train and most clubs only seem to be interested in teaching children. This really isn’t what martial arts is all about and the results can be quite damaging!

    3. Train at an established dojo. There are some very well run private dojos around but beware! Some are run at the expense of the student! It took me 10 years to get my 1st Dan in wado due to a money making owner!

    4. The syllabus. Karate has a lot of forms and you will need to know all the pinan Kata’s plus the advanced ones for the higher kyu grades. You will also need knowledge of ippons, kihons, oyhos and tanto dori plus the basic kihon waza.

    To be a solid Karate black belt with good ability to instruct afterwards i would say at least 7 years training twice a week.

    There are easier ways but you would only be cheating yourself and good instructors and students will always be able to tell how just how good you really are!



  15. Mike B says:

    It really depends on the person. It takes however long it takes. I know that’s probably not the answer you were looking for but for 1 person it could take 2 years and for another 10. It all depends on you. Check out

  16. william h says:

    well i am only a red belt and i heared that you can get in 2 years if you relly work for it

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