Your karate belt is called an obi, and is used primarily to keep your gi from opening. Before explaining the steps on how to tie your obi, here are some important considerations:

  • Your obi contains symbolic meaning. Never wash your obi, even if it is dirty, stiff, or difficult to keep tied. All your spirit and hard work lie in your obi and you do not want this to wash away.
  • Do not carelessly drop or drag your obi on the floor as it’s considered disrespectful.
  • Each side of your obi must be equal in length to symbolise balance and care in your preparation to train, connecting mind, body and spirit.

The steps:

  1. Find the center of your belt by folding it in half in front of you.
  2. Place the center just below your navel and wrap both ends around your back.
  3. To ensure the belt does not show the cross-over at the back, use your thumb to guide one strand of the belt under the other (see Sensei Bruce demonstrate in the video below).
  4. Bring the ends back to the front, checking they are equal in length. Adjust if necessary.
  5. Bring the right side over the left and tuck it under both parts of the belt in front of you.
  6. Bring the left side (top) over the right (bottom) and tie the second knot.
  7. Give a firm tug to ensure the knot is tight and is pointing in a lateral (sideways) direction.
  8. Check again to see the ends are equal in length.
  9. You’re done!


Sensei Bruce van Rensburg | 6th Dan KSI

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