What Do You Do With Old Karate Belts?

Karate is a form of martial arts that traces its roots back to Okinawa, Japan. One of the most recognizable symbols of karate is the colored belt system, which signifies a student’s level of mastery. The belts, which start at white and progress upwards through yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, and black, represent a martial artist’s journey towards excellence.

However, what does one do with old karate belts once they have outgrown them, or achieved the coveted black belt? This blog post will explore some options for methods of recycling, repurposing, and donating old karate belts.

Donate To A Martial Arts School

Many martial arts schools welcome donations of old belts. These schools often teach underprivileged kids or at-risk youths who might not be able to afford a new belt. By donating a used belt, you give the recipient a tangible symbol of their progress and achievement, which can help to promote self-esteem and confidence. Moreover, you’re minimizing waste, which is always a positive thing.

Another option is to donate belts to new students who are just starting on their martial arts journey. Newly starting martial artists might not be able to afford a new belt, and you can help by giving your old belt to them.

Repurpose Your Old Belt

If you’re feeling creative, you can repurpose your old karate belts into various items that could be used in your home or could become wearable items. Let’s take a look at some ideas that you might find useful:

Use Your Belt as a Bookshelf Support

If you’re ever short of bookshelf supports or paperweights, your old karate belts could come in handy. By knotting your old belts together and fixing them to support your books or as paperweights on your desk, you’ll make a great conversation starter while also showing off your martial arts prowess.

Make A Belt Display Rack

Martial artists that have earned various belts may want to display their accomplishments. It could be a charming keepsake or revealing sight for visitors. Building a display rack that you can mount on a wall might be a good idea. You can utilize some pieces of wood, nails, hooks, and your favorite martial arts memorabilia to make your old karate belts or paraphernalia into beautiful, lasting works of art.

Make a Purchase with Your Old Belts

While you may no longer need your old karate belts, someone else might want them. You can sell them to a collector or martial arts fan on websites like eBay or Etsy. You can also approach fellow martial artists or even former trainers from your dojo and offer your old belts at a discounted price.

Recycle Your Old Belts

While karate belts are designed to last and are important to its culture, they are not biodegradable. When belts are beyond use, they tend to end up in landfills unless recycled properly. Here are some methods of recycling:

Recycle Them In Your Own Home

Belts are often made of cloth that can be broken down into material scraps and transformed into something new. You can find online tutorials on how to sew belts together to create a colorful and unique rug or to make handcrafted belts for your family or friends.

Use a Recycling Center

Recycling centers often welcome donations of belts and other textile materials. Look for a recycling center in your local area that accepts fabrics and inquire about whether karate belts are part of their recycling program. Check with the recycling center to see if they prefer belts to be clean or cut to a specific size and inquire with them on best practices.

What Do You Do With Old Karate Belts?


If you have been participating in karate for a while, you will undoubtedly have earned some belts along the way. However, as you progress and earn new belts, what do you do with the old ones? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about what to do with old karate belts.

1. Should You Keep Old Karate Belts?

One question that often arises is whether or not you should keep old karate belts. The answer to this question largely depends on your personal preference. Some people like to keep all of their old belts as a reminder of their progress. Others may choose to only keep their favorite belts or only keep the belts they earned at significant belt levels, such as black belt.

2. Can Old Karate Belts Be Donated?

If you have no use for your old belts, you may want to consider donating them. In some cases, local martial arts schools or organizations may accept used belts to give to students who cannot afford new ones. Additionally, some charities may accept used belts as a way to help fund their programs.

3. Can You Recycle Your Old Karate Belts?

Unfortunately, old karate belts cannot be recycled. They are usually made from cotton, which is biodegradable, but the dye used to color the belts can make them difficult to recycle. If you are looking for an environmentally friendly solution, consider donating your old belts or repurposing them in creative ways.

4. How Can You Repurpose Old Karate Belts?

If you’re feeling creative, there are plenty of ways to repurpose old karate belts. One idea is to use them as straps for bags or backpacks. You could also weave them into a decorative rug or use them to create a unique piece of wall art. Some people even use them to make bracelets or other jewelry.

5. Should You Pass Down Old Karate Belts?

Passing down old karate belts to family members can be an excellent way to keep the tradition alive. This is a particularly meaningful gesture if your family has a history of practicing martial arts. However, be mindful that some people may not appreciate the sentiment and may not want the belts, so it’s best to ask first before gifting them.

6. Can Old Karate Belts Be Displayed?

If you choose to keep your old karate belts, you may want to display them in your home. One common way to display belts is to hang them on a belt display rack or mount them in a shadow box. This is particularly popular with black belt holders who want to showcase their achievement.

7. What Should You Do with Old Karate Belts If You Stop Practicing Karate?

If you’ve decided to stop practicing karate, you may not have a use for your old belts anymore. You could still choose to keep them as mementos, but other options include donating them or passing them down to a family member or friend who’s interested in martial arts.

What Do You Do With Old Karate Belts?

Karate is a martial arts sport that is popular among people of all ages. It requires discipline, strength, and focus. When individuals practice Karate, they progress through different levels of mastery, denoted by various colored belts. The belts come in different colors, each representing a specific rank. The colors indicate the level of proficiency, with white being the starting color and black being the highest. Over time, Karate practitioners may find themselves with old, worn-out belts or belts that they have outgrown. But what can you do with old Karate belts that no longer have any use? Here are some suggestions:

1. Frame Them

One great way to preserve old Karate belts is to frame them. You can buy a shadowbox frame and display it as a keepsake. Shadowboxes are perfect for displaying old belts because they have a deep frame, which allows for the belt to be fully seen. You can mount the belt in the shadow box or place it loosely inside. This way, you can immortalize your achievements and memories of your Karate journey.

2. Donate Them

You can donate your old Karate belts to those who cannot afford a new one. Many Karate organizations or schools are in need of donated belts, especially for new students, who might not have the resources to purchase a new belt.

3. Use Them as Decorative Items

You can also use old Karate belts as decorative items. You can make a rug or a mat by weaving or sewing the belts together. You could also use them to decorate a room, such as wrapping them around a lamp or a vase. You can even use them to make an intricate design on a piece of furniture or create a unique piece of wall art.

4. Create a Memory Quilt

If you have a collection of old belts, you can use them to create a memory quilt. You can sew the belts onto a quilt and then add other Karate-related items, such as patches, photographs, or medals. This way, you can create a quilt that will serve as a reminder of your Karate journey.

5. Sell Them

Lastly, if you no longer have any use for your old Karate belts, you can sell them online. Many people collect Karate belts, so there might be someone out there who is willing to buy them. You can try online marketplaces such as eBay or Craigslist.


Karate belts represent dedication, hard work, and achievement. Even if they are no longer used in the context of the sport, they can be preserved and utilized in other ways. Whether it’s for sentimental value or as a decorative item, old Karate belts can be repurposed creatively. By using these ideas, you can give your old Karate belts a new life while still cherishing the memories they hold.

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