There are six belt colours: white, yellow, green, blue, red and black. White is given to beginners and black is given to students who have progressed through the grades and have a solid foundation for learning the techniques of Taekwon-Do.
Signifies innocence, as that of the beginning student who has no previous knowledge of Taekwon-Do.
Signifies the earth from which a plant sprouts and takes root as the foundation of Taekwon-Do is being laid.
Signifies the plant’s growth as Taekwon-Do skills begin to develop.
Signifies the Heaven towards which the plant matures into a towering tree as training in Taekwon-Do progresses.
Signifies Danger, cautioning the the student to exercise control and warning the opponent to stay away.
Opposite of white, therefore signifying the maturity and proficiency in Taekwon-Do, also indicates the wearer’s imperviousness to darkness and fear.
Students must grade through the following ranks starting from 10th Gup (White Belt) in the order below. You can download the belt ranks in “Members Area > Other Stuff”
|10th Gup: White Belt|
|9th Gup: Yellow Stripe|
|8th Gup: Yellow Belt|
|7th Gup: Green Stripe|
|6th Gup: Green Belt|
|5th Gup: Blue Stripe|
|4th Gup: Blue Belt|
|3rd Gup: Red Stripe|
|2nd Gup: Red Belt|
|1st Gup: Black Stripe|
|1st Dan: 1st Degree Black Belt|
|2nd Dan: 2nd Degree Black Belt|
|3rd Dan: 3rd Degree Black Belt|
|4th Dan: 4th Degree Black Belt|
|5th Dan: 5th Degree Black Belt|
|6th Dan: 6th Degree Black Belt|
|7th Dan: 7th Degree Black Belt|
|8th Dan: 8th Degree Black Belt|
|9th Dan: 9th Degree Black Belt|
Children’s Junior Belts
The following junior belts are usually given to those younger students (under 7) allowing them to achieve some small steps and therefore maintain their spirit and desire to continue training in Taekwon-Do. Equivalents for class seniority with regular belts are given also. You can download the junior belt ranks chart in “Members Area > Other Stuff”.
Junior Black Belt
Additionally, to obtain the full rank of 1st Dan, a student is required to be over 14 years of age. The following half black / half white belt is a Junior Black Belt, and is given to the student below minimum age that has passed the testing for 1st Dan. Upon reaching the required age, the student is granted the full belt of 1st Dan. This rank is considered equivalent to first Dan.
History of the Rank System
In Taekwon-Do, character development, fortitude, tenacity, and technique are graded as well as individual capacity. The promotional scale is divided into nineteen ranks – 10 grades (Gups) and nine degrees (Dans.) The former begins with 10th grade (Gup) the lowest and ends at first grade. Degrees begin with the first degree (Dan) and end with the ultimate, ninth degree.
There is, of course, certain significance in the numbering system. With degrees, the number 9 is not only the highest one among one digit numbers but also is the number of 3 multiplied by 3. In the Orient, three is the most esteemed of all the numbers. The Chinese character representing three is written: . The upper line symbolizes the heaven; the middle line, mortals; and the bottom line earth. It was believed that the individual who was successful in promoting his country, fellowmen and God, and able to reach an accord with all three would aspire to become King, which was written thusly: . The Chinese character for three and king are nearly synonymous. When the number three is multiplied by itself, the equation is nine, the highest of the high; therefore ninth degree is the highest of the high-ranking belts. It is also interesting to note that when the number 9 is multiplied by any other single digit number and the resultant figures are added together, the answer always equals 9, i.e. 9×1=9; 9×2=18, 1+8=9 and so on up to 9×9=81, 8+1=9. Since this is the only single digit number having this property, it again points to the number 9 as being the most positive of figures. Taking the use of the number three one-step further, the degrees are further divided into three distinct classes. First through third degree is considered the novice stages of black belt. Students are still merely beginners in comparison to the higher degrees. At fourth degree, the student crosses the threshold of puberty and enters the expert class. Seventh through ninth is composed of Taekwon-Do masters – the elite who fully understand all the particulars of Taekwon-Do, mental and physical.
There is perhaps one question that remains; why begin with the lowest of the two digit numbers, “10″ why not begin with the lowest one digit number and proceed from first grade to ninth grade, and then begin again for degrees? Though it would certainly be more logical, the 10 to 1 and 1 to 10 numerical system in the Orient is ageless. It would be impossible, if not even a bit impertinent, to attempt to change a practice that is even carried into children’s games. Perhaps there was an initial logical reason for it: however, it seems to have been lost in antiquity. Anyhow, the number “10″ is the lowest existing two-digit number: consequently, a beginner must start at this number rather than 11 or 12 which are numerically higher.