How Zen Planner Simplifies Belt Tracking

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jigoro kano martial arts

Jigoro Kano

Historically, the first martial arts belt system originated from Jigoro Kano, who many know as the founder of modern day Judo. For his system, and many others who adopted the use of colored belts, promoting a student symbolized simply a level of knowledge and skill. While that still remains the main and most important focus today, modern belt tracking in the martial arts industry gives additional insight into the business that can help instructors better serve their students.

Each discipline maintains different standards and criteria for belt promotions. Tracking students’ progress towards their next belt effectively starts with knowing the skill requirements needed for a student to earn the belt. After that, the instructor needs to utilize their knowledge of the curriculum, the length of time and classes they believe are necessary for the student to progress to each belt level.

The most important information from tracking promotion eligibility directly impacts individual students on their journey. By using Zen Planner’s belt tracking tools, an instructor can be consistent with each student. Whether it is effectively communicating why a student isn’t eligible based on skill level or attendance, the instructor can show the student tangible goals to reach the next level.

martial arts rank and belt testing

With larger schools it is harder to maintain the same detailed level of individual attention to monitor each student’s progress. If the school’s curriculum and standardized time at rank is tracked, Zen Planner can notify the instructor to pay closer attention to particular students. This is a great way to make sure that no one who deserves a promotion falls through the cracks.

martial arts welcome desk

On the business side, using Zen Planner to track belts effectively helps understand the long term patterns of the business. Most school owners are already tracking the metrics for retention and attendance at their school. Looking at class attendance and drops with the added information of belt level and program gives a different perspective on the knowledge and shows strengths and problem areas for the school.

For example, if an instructor is able to see that a higher percentage of the drops occur for white belts in a given program, they can proactively address the issues white belt students face before they drop. This could be done by using Zen Planner’s automation tools to proactively reach out to students in that specific group. The instructor might also find that attendance fluctuates based on the belt level of the student. Higher ranking students showing up to less classes weekly, for example, could be an indication that it’s time to add more advanced classes.

Every school and curriculum is different. One aspect shared by all martial arts is reflected in the quote, “a black belt is a white belt that never quit.” Each instructor wants to see their students accomplish their goals. The responsibilities of quality instruction and maintaining the standards of the art become difficult when maintaining a healthy business. Zen Planner’s goal is to help school owners succeed in both aspects.


Ensuring your students are tested on time is a critical component of student retention. Looking for additional ways to keep your students engaged and coming back? Get your copy of our Student Retention Guide.

martial arts student retention guide

jiu jitsu fighter chris mierzwiak

Chris Mierzwiak, Partnership Development Manager

Zen Planner

Since the first day Chris started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it has been the main focus in his life. He believes that martial arts training provides valuable skills that people can translate to any other area in life. His goal is to spread those experiences and lessons to as many people as possible.

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