Jeet Kune Do: Does it have belts?

One of the problems Jeet Kune Do has is it doesn’t have any agency to Standardize JKD. Unlike other martial arts that have governing agencies that dictate the belt progressions and their corresponding skill level needed. Jeet Kune Do doesn’t. But does Jeet Kune Do have belts? Let’s find out.

Jeet Kune Do has a belt progression. While Bruce Lee didn’t incorporate the idea of giving belts to his students, modern Jeet Kune Do has a belt progression like other martial arts. However, take note that since JKD isn’t standardized and there are JKD schools very particular to tradition, there are some schools that don’t.

In this article, we are going to discuss the majority of JKD schools that offer belt progression and what would you expect from it. We will discuss the symbolism of each belt and what skill level you need to have to attain them.

Does Jeet Kune Do have belts?

Jeet Kune Do has belts that range from White to Black. In general, JKD has 9 belt progressions but since Jeet Kune Do is not standardized, there may be schools that have more or less. Even if Bruce Lee didn’t give belts to his students, Jeet Kune Do evolved to have belt progression like other martial arts.

Belts are used to represent the ranking of students and show how they are progressing every day.

It is given as a reward to students because it boosts their confidence and motivates them to work even harder in the next game.

Getting belts gives them the passion for achieving the highest level of expertise in their respective field. 

Moving toward Jeet Kune Do, some martial arts don’t use belts, but they do use belts in Jeet Kune Do.

Bruce Lee didn’t incorporate the idea of giving the reward of belts at that time.

However, there were ranks at that time, which were beginner, intermediate, advanced rank levels.

But nowadays, belts are incorporated in order to motivate the students, so they try to excel at their level.

Belts were usually not a part of martial arts, but it was seen that their presence boosted the confidence of students and gave them a form of appreciation and a sense of reward. 

Each belt has a specific purpose, and with every rising stage, they are given to students, and they are different from each other.

Because that belt might look like a small piece of the sash, it tells the students what they want to achieve in the future. They need to grow in order to get a high-level belt. 

In New York, martial arts academy, a tool that is “mat chats” is used.

For mat chats, chats are done between students and teachers, and they tell them the significance and the reason behind that belt.

They also tell them that with every passing step, it will show the significance of their achieved belt by telling the story behind that belt.

This way, students work harder and harder to reach the highest level. 

I am going to discuss the Jeet Kune Do progression next. But take note that Jeet Kune Do isn’t standardized like other martial arts.

I have discussed here the commonalities among them but expect little things to be different in your school.

If you need more information about the problems of standardizing JKD, I have made an article discussing the topic. Here is the link: Is Jeet Kune Do still taught?

The Jeet Kune Do Belt Progression

BeltSymbolismSkill Level
White Belt BirthComplete beginner
Yellow Belt Sun BeamLearned the Essentials
Orange Belt Rising SunCan do many moves
Green Belt GrowthMid Level Students
Blue Belt SkyContinuous Studying
Purple Belt DawnMoving to higher Levels
Red Belt Hot Sun EnergyStrong Level
Brown Belt RipeAdvanced Students
Black BeltDarknessProfound understanding of body and mind
Belt Progression and Summary

So from the above discussion, we can see that in Jeet Kune Do, they have belts to boost their students’ confidence.

As we learned above, belts are given to students to appreciate them rising with every passing level. But different types of belts are awarded to students. Each one of them shows a stage of growth that the student passed. 

The list of the belts that are given in Jeet Kune Do are as Follows:

In Jeet Kune Do, belts are awarded to students starting from Beginner level to the highest rank belt, a black belt. It will take a student approximately five to six years to achieve the goal, but it is worth the wait.

  • White Belt
  • Yellow Belt
  • Orange Belt
  • Green Belt
  • Blue Belt
  • Purple Belt
  • Red Belt
  • Brown Belt
  • Black Belt

White Belt

White belt is the first belt awarded to students, and it has a symbolism of the birth or beginning of a process, and for the student, it is the will that they are about to start practicing Jeet Kune Do.

Beginners wear it.

Yellow Belt 

The yellow color has a reference with the first beams of the Sun.

It means when the Sun beams of gives its light on the plant, giving it new life and the plant new growth.

Yellow Belt is also worn by a beginner who has learned to practice the essential habits of the Jeet Kune Do.

Orange Belt

The orange color shows the rising sun power. It is awarded to the student who is a beginner and can walk with ten defensive Jeet Kune Do moves.

Green Belt

Green color shows and works as a symbol of growth. Green Belt is given to middle school students who are learning to sharpen and refine their skills.

Blue Belt 

Blue color has a representation of the sky and light that is required for your growth.

Therefore, a blue belt is given to students who are in their study phase.

Because at this stage, they begin to learn more martial arts knowledge that allows their minds and bodies to continue growing.

Purple Belt

The purple color represents the colors of dawn. Purple belt is awarded to the students who are progressing each day and moving to the higher levels of their subject.

Red Belt

The red color symbolizes the hot red energy of the Sun.

Just like others, as we know that a growing plant has to make its way toward the Sun.

So students with red belts learn to recognize their practice in this phase.

As we know that red represents itself as a sign of danger, the student with the red belt learns to be dangerous to his knowledge, abilities, and skills.

Brown Belt 

The brown color represents the ripening of seeds.

We know that during ripening and harvesting, seeds began to mature and understand what type of fruit they will get for their efforts.

In this way, we can say that the brown belt is given to advanced students who are beginning to see the fruits of their first studies, and their strategies have begun to mature.

Black Belt 

Black color is the one that gets the highest rank among all as it represents darkness.

Not the evil darkness but the darkness that is above the Sun.

So, the person that gets awarded with a black belt shows that they want to gain a more profound and progressive understanding of the body and mind theory of Jeet Kune Do.

Many people are given a black belt, and they start to pass on their knowledge to help others improve their belt rank.

From the above list, we saw the rank with each passing belt.

We get to know at what time what belt is awarded to students and the ranks and practices required to achieve the goal.

Although it looks like a long list, with each passing level, you will get a better understanding, and this reward will keep you on your toes and will motivate you to achieve the highest-ranking level.

Once it’s achieved, you can pass your knowledge to others and show its importance and the symbolism behind it.

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