Kung Fu belts ranking system: How many belts are there in Kung Fu?

Kung Fu belts ranking system: How many belts are there in Kung Fu?

Grace Waruguru
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:20 PM

Martial arts like karate and taekwondo have become increasingly popular, with more people keen to discover all about Kung Fu belts. Belts in Kung Fu are a form of a ranking and reward system, representing the level of skill and expertise a person has attained.

Kung Fu Belts
Kung Fu belts from the lowest to the highest level. Photo: @Kungfuforlife
Source: Instagram

Kung Fu, also known as GongFu, means a high level of skill achieved over time and with applied effort. Kung Fu belts represent different classifications and systems, but the principles behind them are all similar. Find out the level of belts in Kung Fu and what each one of them symbolizes.

All Kung Fu belts in order

You may be wondering, ''Why do they have belts in Kung Fu?'' Belts were introduced in the wake of the 20th century by Japanese Jigorō Kanō. They were designed to help learners easily identify their opponent's level of knowledge to facilitate a more advanced level field.

What are the color belts in Kung Fu? Originally, the only colours were white, blue, brown, and black. However, they have evolved over time and the Kung Fu system now has more colours for different expertise levels.

Kung Fu belts
A beginner wearing a white Kung Fu belt. Photo: @LeanneMitchell
Source: Facebook

All Kung Fu belts fall under three categories. So, what is the order of belts in Kung Fu? Students move from the beginner level and progress to the highest level.

Novice level

The novice level is where all martial artists begin. The first level can take a few days or weeks, depending on how much time you commit. Lessons at this level involve the basics like kicks and punches, and also breathing techniques. So, ''how many belts in Kung Fu fall in this category?'' The first level has three belts:


White symbolizes new life or the birth of a seed, and the start of something new. White Belts are taught introductory skills that build confidence, flexibility, strength and endurance. This level teaches you simple self-defence skills and is also ideal for actors who wish to audition for a supporting role in a martial arts movie.


Kung Fu belts
A yellow belt Kung Fu learner. Photo: @KylePage
Source: Facebook

This color represents curiosity and the first ray of sunshine. It also means that the sun is warming up the seed, and the student is ready to show their newly acquired skills. Advanced beginners, as they are referred to at this stage, learn more advanced basics founded on what they learned as white belts.

Some students have stated that this is the most difficult level of training, and they have to put in extra effort to polish the rough edges of their skills. The Kung Fu yellow belt test takes 2 hours and students have to score at least 230 out of 300 marks.


Once students cross the curiosity stage and have mastered the foundational skills, the focus shifts to Kung Fu moves. Other lessons at this level include advanced techniques like timing and movement.

Kung Fu belts
A red belt Kung Fu student. Photo: Thao Lee
Source: UGC

The Orange belt signifies that the seeds are being strengthened and prepared for new growth. This is also the last belt in the novice phase before students proceed to the next level.

Intermediate level

At the second level, students learn more advanced stances, strikes, and various self-defence combinations. This stage also has some teaching experience, and students can be assigned a novice to practice with them. The intermediate level takes between one and two years to attain.


The color symbolizes growth and development. A Kung Fu green belt symbolizes that a student is now honing their skills and is refining them.

By the time they get to this fourth stage, students focus more on their mental state and the journey within. Green belts are now formidable fighters and can begin using intermediate weapons.


Kung Fu belts
A black belt Kung Fu holder. Photo: Thao Lee
Source: UGC

Blue represents control and calmness of mind. The colour also means that the learners are pushing their branches towards the sky, and are ready to bear fruit. Students learn to train their minds alongside their bodies, expanding and deepening what they have learned so far. At this level, the lessons focus on control and learning to slow down.


Purple is a symbol of power and ambition, and this colour in Kung Fu signifies the sky at dusk, just before a new day dawns. Purple belt training emphasizes that self-defence is for protection, not ego advancement. The students are more skilled, confident, and ready to move to the advanced level.

Advanced level

The final level of Kung Fu training is the expert phase for learners with advanced knowledge and understanding of the sport. The skills at this stage include advanced forms, weaponry, and philosophical development. It takes students three to four years to get here. So, which are the colours in the advanced stage?


Kung Fu belts
Two Kung Fu black belts. Photo: Soon Santos
Source: UGC

Brown symbolizes the ground's stability and the students' firm hold on their abilities and discipline. They have grown in technique, seriousness and responsibility, and can teach beginners.

Some institutions have three brown belt levels. Once you get to the second level, it takes you one year of teaching and heavy practice to proceed to the third.


Red is the color of danger, and Kung Fu red belt holders are considered dangerous due to their level of skill and discipline at this stage. The belt also symbolizes leadership, energy and courage as they pass on the knowledge to upcoming martial artists.


Black belts in Kung Fu are students who have attained the highest level of discipline, mastery and expertise. It takes students between three and five years to attain this rank. Despite being at the highest level, the learning does not stop. Experts determine how many black belts in Kung Fu they will attain based on the effort they put in to train and master their skills.

Kung Fu belts
A Kung Fu fighter in practice. Photo: Uriel Soberanes
Source: UGC

Kung Fu belts are an excellent reward and recognition system for martial arts lovers. Besides self-defence, Kung Fu is a brilliant way to develop self-discipline and develop your mental fortitude.

READ ALSO: Hardest sport to play in the world right now.

What is the hardest sport to play in the world now? Sportsbrief.com published some of the most challenging sporting activities based on the demanding needs on players.

Some of these sports include boxing, American Football, martial arts and ice hockey. These sports require that the players have exceptional prowess and protective gear when they are playing. Check out the complete list of these sports by clicking on the link above.

Grace Waruguru photo
Grace Waruguru
Grace has over 4 years of experience in article writing and digital media content creation for various local and global brands. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Communication (Public Relations) from Daystar University, Kenya.