How Long Does It Take To Get A Black Belt In Karate?

Karate is an effective striking martial art that takes hard work and dedication to learn. That’s why we’re going to answer just how long it takes to get a Karate black belt.

In this article, we discuss everything from the average time frame to earn a Karate black belt to what you learn during the karate journey.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Karate Black Belt?

The average time frame to earn a Karate black belt is usually around 5 years. This is similar to the timeframe to earn a black belt in Judo and Taekwondo. 


Do you want to win your next fight, transform your body & unleash your potential as a martial artist?

We work exclusively with combat athletes to improve their performance, optimize their recovery time, and reduce stress during training.

mma strength & conditioning

How Do I Earn A Karate Black Belt In 5 Years Or Less?

Karate students on average can earn a black belt in 5 years or less, but it’s not a guarantee. Here is what it takes to earn a Karate black belt in 5 years or less.

Dedication To Karate

Above all, to earn a Karate black belt in 5 years, it takes dedication. You have to regularly attend class, train hard, and show you are worthy of holding the rank of black belt.

Competing In Judo Regularly 

Another way to prove your dedication to your instructor is to compete regularly in Karate tournaments. Whether it be some type of sparring or kata.

By competing regularly, you will be able to test your skills and improve at a faster rate. It will also force you to stay in the gym and train regularly.

Helping The Instructor & Teammates 

You don’t just earn a black belt in Karate by showing you have black belt level skills. To earn a Karate black belt, you must also help others learn the martial art.

You must not only show that you’re a skilled Karate practitioner, but skills to be a teacher and leader.

What Is The Recommended Training Schedule For Earning A Karate Black Belt In 5 Years?

In order to earn a Karate belt in 5 years or less, keeping a regular training routine is extremely important. Your class attendance plays a big factor into whether you get promoted or not in Karate.

To earn a black belt in 5 years or less, you will need to attend Karate class as much as possible. An average attendance of at least 3 days a week will help you stay on pace to earn your black belt.

Factors That Can Prolong The Time To Get A Karate Black Belt

how long to get a karate black belt

There are also other factors that can prolong the time it takes to earn a Karate black belt. Particularly two which are low class attendance and injury.

Not Attending Judo Class

Not attending class will have the biggest negative effect on the time it would take to earn a Karate black belt. Every Karate school factors in attendance whether a student gets promoted or not. 

If your class attendance is poor, you can expect a longer timeframe for earning your black belt in Karate.


Unfortunately injuries do happen and this will prolong the time it takes to become a Karate black belt. Depending on the severity of the injury, it could lengthen the timeframe to earn a black belt by years.

How Many Belts Are There In Karate?

This is a rather hard question to answer, because not all forms of Karate use the same belt system. Some use a 6 kyu/Dan system, while others use systems with 8-12 belts. 

To keep things simple and less complicated, let’s say you’re training in a Karate school with a six belt system.

The belts in a 6 kyu/dan system include:

  • White Belt
  • Yellow Belt
  • Orange Belt
  • Green Belt
  • Blue Belt 
  • Brown Belt

Once you go through these 6 lower belts, you can then test for a Karate black belt.

The Time Frame At Each Belt In Karate

The time frame at each belt lasts between 6 months and two years. A student will generally spend six months in the beginner ranks.(White/Yellow/Orange)

Once they reach the rank of green belt, they enter the intermediate level of the colored belts. They will spend a year each at green belt and blue belt before moving into the advanced level of brown belt.

Brown belt would be the longest period between promotions as it’s the highest level of the colored belts. One can expect to be a brown belt for around 2 years as they prepare to become a black belt. This puts the timeframe at about 5 years to earn a Karate black belt.

What Must A Karate Black Belt Know?

To be a Karate black belt, you must know a variety of techniques and how to execute them. Here are the basic guidelines for what a Karate black belt must know.

  • Mastery Of Techniques: Demonstrating that they can effectively demonstrate all basic and advanced movements of the martial art.
  • Proficiency In Kihons/Katas: Being able to perform major katas/kihons with little to no flaws in your technique.
  • Proficiency In Kumite (Sparring): Demonstrate that you can display your techniques in live action, which means sparring opponents at near full speed.
Fighters Strength Adverts

Karate Black Belt Test 

In Karate, you have to pass belt tests before you are promoted to your next belt. The black belt test in Karate is the hardest and most in depth of all the tests you go through. Good Karate schools usually put a student testing for black belt through three phases that lasts all day.

  • Conditioning
  • Technique
  • Sparring


The conditioning phase is to test your physical fitness, where your go whatever the instructor thinks up. It could be anything from running or hundreds of push-ups mixed with calisthenics. Not only does this test you physically, but also mentally.

Karate Technique 

For the technique portion of the black belt test, the student will have to perform certain katas that the instructor chooses. Each Karate school does this differently, so we can’t exactly say which patterns would be performed.

Test Of Knowledge

Some Karate schools will even put their students through a written or oral test during black belt testing. This is to test their knowledge of the martial art and understand why the techniques are done.


To end the black belt test, a good Karate school will put sparring as the last phase. At this point, the student will be exhausted and will have to rely on technique to get through the sparring.

Karate Black Belt Ceremony

Once a student finishes all phases of the black belt test, the ceremony commences. The instructors will say a few words to the people watching and award their student with their black belt. They say a few words of gratitude and take a few photos to end the day.

Is Earning A Karate Black Belt Hard?

Just like anything in life, it takes hard work and dedication to earn a Karate black belt. Students that put in the effort and time will earn their black as long as they don’t quit. The process will build your character and shape you into a better person.

Photo of author

Gareth Davies

I'm a martial arts competitor and enthusiast. Over the last 15 years, I have trained and competed in several martial arts. I live in Manchester U.K working as a strength & conditioning coach when I'm not travelling and exploring martial arts around the world.
FS Banner