How to Properly Tie a Jiu-Jitsu Belt
Martial arts belts serve two essential functions. First, it announces your skill level or rank to everyone else in the community. Depending on the color of your belt, you’re either a beginner, an advanced student, or studying at one of the highest levels.
But other than Jiu-Jitsu belt ranks, it is also an important part of your uniform. It helps keep your uniform in place so that it moves with you through all the grappling, complicated moves, and maneuvering without coming undone or restricting your mobility. In a competition or while grappling, you will only have a 20-second limit to retie your belt if it comes undone—requiring a quick but effective and, most likely, tighter knot.
That’s why tying it properly is so important.
Wondering how to tie a jiu-jitsu belt? Keep reading for the four most common ways and how to do it.
Standard or Basic Knot
When you begin your Jiu-Jitsu studies, you’ll get your first uniform. Your gym may provide one, or you can get a quality gi from Hayabusa. Your instructor will often present you with your first belt and show you how to tie it.
Usually, the first method you’ll learn for how to tie a belt in jiu-jitsu is called the Standard Knot. This type of knot will help keep your uniform together while you practice.
Steps for Tying a Standard Knot
To tie a standard knot, follow these steps:
- Step 1 – Begin by locating the middle point of the belt. This is the point at which the belt is divided in half. If you let it dangle from your finger at that point, both the right end and left end should fall to the same length.
- Step 2 – Once you’ve located the middle of the belt, place it over your belly button. Then pull the strands around your body—crossing them behind your back—until they meet again in the front.
- Step 3 – Tie the tails together as you would start to with your shoelaces—with an X-shaped overhand knot. The first thing you do is cross both tails. After that, thread the top tail behind both “layers” of the belt and pull it up.
- Step 4 – Lastly, make another X shape by bringing the top tail over the bottom tail. You’ll see that you’ve made a hole. Bring the top tail up through where they cross to finish the second overhand.
- Step 5 – Pull it snug.
Those familiar with tying a square knot or granny knot should find this to be extremely similar.
Relson Gracie Knot
The Gracie Family is recognized for having first developed Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), so it’s no surprise that some family members have developed their own knot styles. Relson Gracie’s Knot is similar to the standard method described above, with the difference being that he doesn’t thread one tail under the belt’s midpoint when tying the initial overhand.
Steps for Tying a Relson Gracie Knot
Relson Gracie’s Knot is effectively a “reverse” square knot, with the left side on top for the first overhand and then the right side’s tail on top for the second. Like the Standard Knot, it’s tied after looping the crossing the belt behind your back.
Here’s how to tie it:
- Step 1 – With the midpoint of the belt aligned with your belly button, cross both tails around your back and bring them to the front.
- Step 2 – Take the left tail and cross it over the right end.
- Step 3 – Thread the top tail (originally the left side’s tail) up through the hole you created and pull tight to create the first overhand.
- Step 4 – Cross the tails again, this time with the right side on top—note that the same tail is on top for both overhangs.
- Step 5 – Again, thread the top tail up through the hole you created and pull tight to create the first overhand.
Some fighters (or movie stars) liked how their belt looked more if it didn’t cross over behind their back. Thus, the “Hollywood” Knot was born. This method involves wrapping the belt around itself (twice) so that it remains flat all the way around your body. It’s a good choice for a cleaner appearance during any ceremonies you might participate in.
To tie a “Hollywood” Knot, follow the steps:
- Step 1 – Start by placing one tail of the belt at the side of your waist, and wrap the long end around your waist twice until you’re holding it in front of your belly button.
- Step 2 – Take the long end of the belt and feed it up underneath the lengths already wrapped around your waist.
- Step 3 – Pass the long end of the belt through the hole you’ve created, keeping it somewhat loose.
- Step 4 – Pull the wrapped tail down from underneath the belt and let it hang. Both tails should now be angled down and to the same side.
- Step 5 – Taking the first tail, lift it up and feed it down through the loop made in step 2.
- Step 6 – Pull tight. The knot should resemble a fortune cookie shape when you’re finished.
For All Your Jiu-Jitsu Gear, Choose Hayabusa
Now you know how to tie a jiu-jitsu belt properly for different reasons and occasions. Whether you’ve already dipped your toes into martial arts or are still figuring out if you want to do Jiu-Jitsu vs. Muay Thai, make sure you have all the gis, belts, gloves, and headwear you need to protect yourself and have a great workout while you go on the journey of martial arts.