Kenpo Belt System

American Kenpo has a graded colored belt system consisting of White, Yellow, Orange, Purple, Blue, Green, First degree Brown, Second degree Brown, Third degree Brown, and First through Tenth degree Black. Different Kenpo organizations and schools may have different belt systems. For example, the W.K.K.A (World Kenpo Karate Association) includes an “advanced” rank for each belt (except White), signified by a stripe of the next full belt’s color worn on one end of the belt. They also include a 3 degree Red belt prior to first degree black. The black belt ranks are indicated by half-inch red ‘strips’ up to the 4th degree, then a 5 inch ‘block’ for 5th. Thereafter, additional half-inch stripes are added up to the 9th degree. For 10th degree black belt, two 5 inch ‘blocks’ separated by a half-inch space are used. There are different requirements per belt depending on the school. Most popular are the 24 techniques per belt system, but it is rumored that a few months before his death, Ed Parker told those close to him that he planned to change to a 16 technique per belt system, with yellow having only ten techniques, 3 of which are originals that were replaced by other practitioners. Some schools stick by the new 16 technique per belt system. In addition to Self-Defense Techniques Ed Parker set specific criteria required for proficiency at each level. The criteria included basics categorized by stances, blocks, parries, punches, strikes, finger techniques, kicks, and foot maneuvers. Beyond proficiency, a student’s character was also analyzed as a major consideration in the promotion to a new rank.

American Kenpo Belts
White Ceinture blanche.png
Yellow Ceinture jaune.png
Orange Ceinture orange.png
Purple Ceinture violette.png
Blue Ceinture bleue.png
Green Ceinture verte.png
(3 degrees)
Ceinture marron.png
(10 degrees)
Ceinture noire.png
Belt Ranks Proficiency Level
White, Yellow Beginner
Orange, Purple Intermediate
Blue, Green Skilled
Brown Advanced or Semi-expert
Black Highly Advanced or Expert
Black Belt Degree Instructor Level
First Degree Junior Instructor
Second Degree Associate Instructor
Third Degree Head Instructor
Fourth Degree Senior Instructor
Fifth Degree Associate Professor
Sixth Degree Professor
Seventh Degree Senior Professor
Eighth Degree Associate Master
Ninth Degree Master
Tenth Degree Grand Master
Tenth Degree and Founder Senior Grand Master