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How to choose your Obi (Judo belt)

KuSakura has many belt models in its catalog, from white cotton belt to red silk belt. Below we only detail the models requiring a comparison.

The belt sizes are according to the official Kodokan standards, corresponding to the standards of the International Federation. We provide a reference size chart based on the waistline. All Judo belts are designed from a semi-rigid cotton core, covered with a cotton or silk outer layer, and several rows of topstitching. KuSakura does not offer any thin belts of the "fabric roll" type.

Color Choices

These are the Kodokan regulations, that are applied in almost all Japanese Dojo. The major difference is concerning the colored Judo belts, reserved for children in Japan. (You can just ignore the minimum age, if in your country the color system is also applied to adults.) Note that "half-grades", symbolized by two colored belts do not exist in Japan and are therefore not offered by KuSakura.

Colors Corresponding level Minimum/maximum age
White Beginner Children, 13 years and younger
Yellow 5th Kyu
Orange 4th Kyu
Green 3rd Kyu
Violet 2nd Kyu
Brown 1st Kyu
White Beginners to 4th Kyu Adults, 13 years and older
Brown 3rd Kyu to 1st Kyu
Black From 1st Dan
Red an White 6th to 8th Dan
Red 9th and 10th Dan

Size choice

Outside Japan, men and women have identical belt models, called mixed. In Japan, however, there are belts with a white line for women, and as these belts are available on our website, you will find them in the corresponding table below.

Belt Size Men (mixed) (single-colored) Women (single-colored with white line)
Recommended Belt Length Waist Size Recommended Belt Length Waist Size
1 215 cm 55 ~ 60 cm 210 cm 55 ~ 60 cm
2 235 cm 60 ~ 70 cm 230 cm 60 ~ 70 cm
2.5 245 cm 70 ~ 75 cm 240 cm 70 ~ 75 cm
3 255 cm 75 ~ 80 cm 250 cm 75 ~ 80 cm
3.5 265 cm 80 ~ 85 cm 260 cm 80 ~ 85 cm
4 275 cm 85 ~ 90 cm 270 cm 85 ~ 90 cm
4.5 285 cm 90 ~ 95 cm 280 cm 90 ~ 95 cm
5 295 cm 95 ~ 100 cm 290 cm 95 ~ 100 cm
5.5 305 cm 100 ~ 105 cm 300 cm 100 ~ 105 cm
6 315 cm 105 ~ 110 cm 310 cm 105 ~ 110 cm
6.5* 325 cm 110 ~ 115 cm 320 cm 110 ~ 115 cm
7** 335 cm 115 ~ 120 cm 330 cm 115 ~ 120 cm
7.5** 345 cm 120 ~ 125 cm 340 cm 120 ~ 125 cm
8** 355 cm 125 ~ 135 cm 350 cm 125 ~ 130 cm

*Size available only for IJF models. **Made to order.

  • The size is calculated using the following formula: 2 x 'waistline' + 90~100 cm.
  • The size is measured without including clothing and rounded to the next whole number (95.5 cm > 96 cm).
  • The formula of the belt size calculation and the chart below are designed to have a margin of 20 to 30 cm on each belt end when tied (official standard).
  • We recommend to opt for a half size longer belt in case of the JOGS model, because it is thicker and wider, resulting in a larger knot.

Obi Choice

White belts (Shiroobi) / colored belts (Iroobi)

Only two white belt models are available. The Judo belt JWB, manufactured in China, is more than enough for beginners.

The Judo belt JOWIB is made in Japan according to the regulations of the International Judo Federation (IJF) and is an excellent choice for practitioner wishing to keep their belt for several years. (For example in Dojos following the Japanese system, in which colored belts are not used for adults.)

There is only one belt model for colored belts, available in all official colors (yellow, orange, green, violet, and brown), as well as blue and light blue (sometimes unofficially used for children) and also black, which makes this model the entry level black belt.

Black Belt (Kuroobi)

The KuSakura catalog offers 7 different types of black belts. You will find below a brief description of each model, our advice, and a comparative picture.

  • JC (black): This is the black version of KuSakura's color belt range, the thinnest, narrowest and most flexible model. Little used in Judo as it is too thin. However, this could be a good choice for a belt used in competition, because it can be tied firmly.
  • JE - Shusu Classic: This is the first premium Judo belt. Relatively thin and flexible with a shiny outer layer, 16 rows of topstitching and a width of 4.5 cm, it is a solid model to last. Recommended to practitioners looking for a premium belt remaining flexible.
  • JOG - Shusu Deluxe and JGK official Kodokan: This is the second premium Judo belt, with a cotton core thicker than the model JE, and an outer layer of superior quality. Featuring 16 rows of topstiching and a width of 4.5 cm, this belt is popular among Judoka because of its excellent performance and visual appearance due to its thickness. The JOG and JGK Judo belt models are identical regarding the finish.
  • JOGS - Deluxe Shusu Extra Thick: This black belt is similar to the model JOG, very thick and wide (4.7 cm). With 16 rows of topstiching, this Judo belt features a particularly large knot and looks very nice when tied. Note: Because of its thickness, only integrated embroideries are available on this belt.
  • JGS - Japanese Silk: The model JGS, 16 rows of topstitching and a width of 4.5 cm, has a cotton core similar to the belt JOG, however, it is covered not with shiny cotton but with an outer layer made of pure Japanese silk. This luxury belt is mainly used to offer as gift.
  • JOIB - Classic IJF: This Judo black belt is officially approved for international competitions, designed with a feltlike cotton core, it is more flexible than non IJF models and has only 10 rows of topstitching. The IJF standards demand flexible belts to ensure a tight knot, that does not easily untie during competition.
  • JOXB - Deluxe IJF: This belt is similar to the model JOIB, but characterized by 13 rows of topstitching, providing more strength, making the ends remain horizontal when the belt is tied.

Red/White Belts (Kohaku Obi) and Red Belts (Aka Obi)

  • JRW (white/red) - Cotton: The classic cotton Judo belt with 16 rows of topstitching and a width of 4.5 cm, is primarily for teachers holding a 6th, 7th or 8th Dan for practice.
  • JRWZ (white/red) - Cotton, official Kodokan: This belt is designed in the same manner as the IJF black belts, featuring 13 rows of topstitching, a width of 4.5 cm, but a core made of feltlike cotton, making it more flexible and resulting in a knot that does not loosen easily. This is the essential belt for Judo Kata competitions on the 6th to 8th Dan level.
  • JGSRW (white/red) - Japanese Silk - Official Kodokan: The official Kodokan belt in its high-end version, a cotton core covered with a Japanese silk outer layer. This deluxe belt is usually ordered in the context of offering it as gift to a high graded teacher.
  • JGSR (red) - Japanese Silk: Because this belt is theoretically reserved for masters holding the 9th and 10th Dan, a level attained by only a few dozen people, this model is almost never ordered. To keep the KuSakura catalog complete and because it is also used on a "lower" level in some traditional schools other than Judo, it is offered here.

Judo Belts for Women

In the West, these belts are not used.
In Japan, however, this women's type belt is required from the black belt. They are characterized by a reduced length of 5 cm compared to the men's model, and a central white line running all along the belt. These women's belts, sometimes used in certain traditional schools (excluding Judo), are an integral part of the KuSakura catalogue, and therefore offered as option on each belt that has the women's counterpart.

Detailed Comparative Chart

Model Rigidity Outer Layer Type of Core Width Topstitching Type of Embroidery Women's
Model
Classic Shiroobi
JWB
** White cotton Semi-rigid cotton
Soft
4.2 cm 10 rows Non integrated only No
Shiroobi IJF Deluxe
JOWIB
** White cotton Feltlike cotton 4.5 cm 10 rows Non integrated only No
Iroobi
JC
** Colored cotton Semi-rigid cotton
Soft
4.2 cm 10 rows Non integrated only Yes
Classic Shusu Kuroobi
JE
*** Black cotton Semi-rigid cotton 4.5 cm 16 rows Non integrated
Integrated
No
Deluxe Shusu Kuroobi
JOG
**** Black cotton Semi-rigid
Thick
4.5 cm 16 rows Non integrated
Integrated
Yes
Deluxe Shusu Kuroobi - Extra Thick
JOGS
***** Black cotton Semi-rigid
Extra thick
4.7 cm 16 rows Integrated only Yes
'Japanese Silk' Kuroobi
JGS
**** Black silk Semi-rigide cotton
Thick
4.5 cm 16 rows Non integrated
Integrated
No
Classic IJF Kuroobi
JOIB
** Black cotton Feltlike cotton 4.5 cm 10 rows Non integrated only No
Deluxe IJF Kuroobi
JOXB
*** Black cotton Feltlike cotton 4.5 cm 13 rows Non integrated only Yes
Kohaku Obi Cotton
JRW
**** Red and white cotton Semi-rigid cotton
Thick
4.5 cm 16 rows Non integrated
Integrated
Yes
Kohaku Obi Official Kata
JRWZ
*** Red and white cotton Feltlike cotton 4.5 cm 13 rows Non integrated
Integrated
Yes
'Japanese Silk' Kodokan Kohaku Obi
JGSRW
**** Red and white silk Semi-rigid cotton
Thick
4.5 cm 16 rows Non integrated
Integrated
Yes
'Japanese Silk' Kodokan Aka Obi
JGSR
**** Red cotton Semi-rigid cotton
Thick
4.5 cm 16 rows Non integrated
Integrated
No

* The stiffness/rigidity depends on the thickness of the belt, the type of core, and the number of topstitching rows

Seido Co., Ltd. - KuSakura Judogi Dpt.

Shirako 2-27-51
Wako-shi, 351-0101 Saitama-ken
Tel JP: +81.4-8437-1740
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