Most martial arts students wear white pants, a white jacket, and a cloth belt. For some martial arts, the belt color shows the student's skill level and personal development—from white (beginner) to black (expert). The colors reflect nature. For example, the white belt that students start out with stands for a seed. The yellow belt that they get next stands for the sunshine that opens the seed. To advance from one grade level to another, you have to pass loads of tests—five for the green belt, nine for the brown belt, and 10 for the black belt! You can get a first-degree black belt in two to four years, but after that, there's still more to learn... There are 10 black belt levels!
For sparring (practice fighting), go for full gear, including a mouthpiece and padding on your head, hands, feet, and shins.