UTKM Belts – Our Story & Process

Posted: August 29, 2017 by urbantacticskravmaga in Urban Tactics Krav Maga
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What is a Belt? A belt is a milestone in progress with regards to martial arts. I couldn’t tell you why belts became common practice for ranking in martial arts I am sure someone out there could tell you. But I can tell you that Belts or more specifically the Judo Belt system was chosen early on in Krav Maga to recognize progression. Later a patch system was added in approximately 1996 when one of the first major offshoots of Krav Maga, IKMF was formed. They opted to go with the now famous patch system. Practitioner 1-5, Graduate 1-5, Expert 1-5 and Master levels.

UTKM Ranking System
UTKM Belt Guide.jpg

UTKM Belt Guide & Ranking Requirements

So when forming a Krav Maga school with no direct parent organization there is always 2 choices, the Belt system or the Patch system. We opted for the belt system for the following reasons:

  1. Belts are more recognizable globally in the martial arts world and are easier for people to comprehend with out detailed explanation.
  2. It was the original choice and we stuck with the lineage of Imi’s decision
  3. We felt that the patch system is gimmicky and has far too many levels which in our opinion is a cash cow scheme. It was probably created to relate more to the target market of Police and Military rather than the General populous.
  4. Belts are harder to lose and easier to pass down.
Our belts have now evolved into what you see below:
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UTKM Branded Belts

In choosing the final design we thought about Krav Maga, and how it is designed to be practical. Thus, we wanted the belts to have more purpose than simply an indication of ranking and a symbol of UTKM. Just like our students, wanted them to be something more. The following are some possible uses for the belt (Assuming you keep it with you or even wear it outside of class).

  1. A weapon of opportunity – Because of the hard metal D-rings, the belt can be easily taken off and wielded as a weapon against would be attackers.
  2. An Emergency Rescue tool – Because the belt is made of strong webbing it could be used to pull someone or hold something in an emergency situation
  3. A tourniquet – In a true emergency it can easily be used to stop bleeding assuming, of course, you are familiar with first aid practices

This is just a short list, as the only limit is the imagination, however, like Krav Maga our belts are meant to be practical and adaptable for the given situation and of course looks stylish in the process with UTKM Branding. Who knows, perhaps out belts will literally save someone’s life some day.

Lastly, something we do at UTKM is passing down our belts. This is a tradition we adopted from the IDF, where Sargents and Officers at various points in progress will pass down their Baret or Pins to the soldiers who they feel are most deserving.

Every time a person gets a belt they write their name in a perminent marker on the back, then when they achieve the next belt level they give their belt back to the school. When the test comes for the appropriate colour if we have any lineage belts we will give them to the students who we feel for whatever reason exemplified things we want to see in our students. They then write their name on the belt and it continues the cycle until the belt has 5 signatures/names. At this point, the belt is retired and hung up for all to see on the wall of belts. Something which we have yet to create but when our first belt hits 5 signatures we will build with Joy.

So assuming there is a lineage belt to give away at the conclusion of a test here are some of the things we look for when handing out these belts.

  1. Courage & Strength – There have been cases where students have had to over come whether mentally or physicaly to pass their test. Some students in the past have injured themselves but faught through to complete the test, or were injured prior to testing but as the injury was not severe enough to re-schedule they pushed through
  2. Spirit & Attitude – Through their training they have always been in class and never have exucses no matter what is going on in their life. Or they have gone out of their way to promote the school and what it represents.

So do you have what it takes to achieve a UTKM milestone and get a belt from us, or even better prove to us you have what it takes to receive a lineage belt? There’s only one way to find out.

So ask yourself, Can you be turned from a lamb into a lion?
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