Students who are learning martial arts must go through rigorous and demanding training. It takes several years to master disciplines such as Taekwondo or mixed martial arts (MMA). As students progress through different levels in their practice of martial arts, they are awarded different coloured belts. 

There are 10 levels to work through before reaching the highest level, the black belt. Beginners with no martial arts skills start out with a white belt before moving through stages including 2 levels of yellow, blue and brown then 3 levels of red until they finally reach the black belt. With the many skills to be mastered, it can take several years of dedicated training and practice to achieve black belt status.

Black belt in different martial arts

Earning a black belt, no matter which martial art you want to master, takes several years and a lot of determination, hard work and sacrifice. Black belts in some martial arts are more difficult to achieve than others and thus take longer. Anyone who earns a black belt is considered a master and should be given the appropriate amount of respect.

Listed below are the approximate times (in years) that it takes to be awarded a black belt in the most popular martial arts. This can vary between different martial arts schools as well as the different practices, times in this article relate to United Martial Arts and may be different at other schools.


It normally takes 3 to 5 years to earn a black belt in this popular martial art.

Mixed Martial Arts

Mixed Martial Arts or MMA is a different beast altogether because students are training in several different martial arts at the same time. Most experts will agree that it can take up to eight years to be awarded a black belt.


A Karate student can usually be awarded a black belt within 5 years.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Considering it can take up to 5 years for a Jiu-Jitsu student to earn a blue belt, it comes as no surprise that to be awarded the black belt can take 8 to 10 years if competing and more if not.


A committed student can earn a black belt in Judo in about 4 to 6 years. There are then up to 10 levels of black belt to achieve.


Students who diligently learn and practice the martial art of aikido can expect to attain the level of black belt in about 4 to 5 years.

Get in touch with us if you’d like to know more about martial arts ranking systems and best of luck earning your black belt!

Note: The times to achieve black belt status in this article relate to United Martial Arts and may be different at other schools.

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