Black Belt Requirements For The Karate Institute Of America


Karate Institute of America

The owner of Ben Perlin Photography, Benjamin Perlin is focusing on growing his Nashville, Tennessee, studio. Outside of his work, Benjamin “Ben” Perlin is a musician and also is training to attain his black belt in karate.

According to Karate Institute of America (KIA) testing standards, a candidate must be at least 16 years old and have completed a minimum of 300 class hours over a minimum of three years to be eligible for a first-degree black belt. In addition, candidates must be able to demonstrate first-degree black belt form in their chosen KIA style, as well as in one additional style taught by a non-KIA member, in an eight- to 12-minute program. This program should highlight the candidate’s performance skills, technical knowledge, and leadership.

A candidate for a KIA black belt also must have class log sheets endorsed by a Class A Certified Instructor. Lastly, they must have placed in the top three places in at least five tournaments since their previous belt test.


The Tradition that Brought about the Color Belt Ranks in Karate




A dedicated advocate for the community, Benjamin Perlin currently works at Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, a shop that sells recycled furniture and construction materials for affordable prices. Outside of work, Benjamin Perlin is a karate practitioner and is currently a candidate for black belt.

Today’s students of karate are ranked according to the color of their belts. The ranking system consists of different levels for kyu (color belts) and dan (black belt). While karate itself is an old art form, the belt ranking system only came into existence as recently as early 20th century.

How were the color of the belts decided? According to speculative tradition, the belt colors originated from a peculiar habit of washing the training clothes except for the belt. Hence, from a white color, the cloth belt would then undergo several degrees of color changes as the training progressed. First, it turned into yellow, then into greenish yellow-brown. Further soiling of the cloth resulted to it becoming brown and finally, black. This tradition eventually became the source of the formalized tradition of the color belt ranks.