Wrestling Ranking System

In this article, we are going to pitch an essential aspect of karate – it’s belt system, and how it could be implemented in your wrestling program. It is well known that most Oriental martial arts have a certain system of differently colored belts that symbolize the level of knowledge each holder has. Wrestling is, of course, no exception, as its athletes could also be awarded colored shoestrings, as an example, that represent the degree of knowledge of the sport each of them possesses. 

“Karate ranking system consists of 8 belts in different colors. Ranging from beginner belt to more advanced ones, karate belts colors are as follows: white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, red, and brown.”

Why can’t this be used in our youth wrestling programs as incentive and motivation? I use the example of shoestrings to replace the karate belt, I believe kids would enjoy the promotion process of achieving new shoestrings they can swap into their wrestling shoes – like a badge of honor.

How to Achieve a Higher Rank in Karate?

The process of attaining a higher rank is called a promotion or examination in martial arts. In wrestling, each trainee starts off with the mandatory white shoestrings and achieves higher ranks through promotions. The process of promotion gets more difficult as the ranks become higher, but is usually a presentation of technical and tactical skills the trainee has learned throughout the training process.

Lower ranks in karate are more focused on issues of balance, stance, and coordination, while more complex elements, like speed and power, are added later on – how similar is this to our sport of wrestling? Advancing through the lower ranks usually requires mastering the basics and applying them. The green belt is the first belt that demands a more practical application of the skills – in a competition like a match. 

As the ranking process advances, the “examinations” usually add more complex techniques, but can also include sparring, simulation, and other progression skills.

The time necessary for a promotion depends on the club, the national federation and the rank in question. Lower ranks are usually attained after a few months (1-3) in rapid progression, while higher ranks usually require a certain period of time to pass before trying out for promotion.

There are some cases where promotion from rank one to rank two is given automatically, while others may require a regular promotion. The period between promotions can range from one month to a year. 

Colors by Rank Explained

The following are the typical belt color rank in karate, not that wrestling needs to adhere to is but its a good starting point for discussion. Promotion from one rank to another could be determined on a variety of variables – skill based, competition based (local, state, regional, national), even age/grade caps.

  • BLUE
  • RED

What’s your thoughts? Suggestions? Comments?

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