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Zen Martial Arts Belt System

The belt system used in the ZMA has three options for students to progress through depending on what suits them best: the standard path, the junior belts, and the honorary ranks. As the name suggests, the standard path is the main curriculum for ZMA which ranges from student ranks (10th-1st Kyū) through to the instructor ranks (1st-9th Dan). The junior path takes the first few color belts in the standard system and breaks them down into smaller chunks. This system is intended for anyone below the age of 13. Upon completing the junior path or growing out of it, students can seamlessly transition into the standard path by testing forward. The honorary ranks include three levels of gray belt that represent the completion of a section in the standard curriculum. These belts are earned by those who are not interested in testing at this stage in their martial arts journey by merit of their time in class and clear skill progression. There are also three honorary titles that instructors can earn in addition to their dan rank: renshi, kyoshi, and hanshi.

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