Taekwondo Belts (ITF)
Before a person becomes a student of taekwondo, they must be willing to abide by the universal student creed. This is as follows:
‘To have the intention to develop in a positive manner and avoid anything that harms physical health or reduces mental growth.’
‘To have the intention to develop self-discipline and in doing so to bring out the best in myself as well as others.’
‘To have the intention to use what is learnt in class constructively and for the purposes of defence. The intention is to help fellow humans, myself and never be offensive or abusive.’
The Taekwondo Belts grading system is straight forward, as with each grade level / rank, there are certain requirements laid down which have to be met. Usually lower rank gradings (up to black tag) are carried out by your club instructor at your local club. For more advanced grades an independant instructor is required for the assessment. This can only be attempted if your instructor has recommended you for grading. Click on the relevant link for a Taekwondo Grading guide for each belt.
Taekwoondo White belt (10th kup)
Taekwondo White belt with yellow stripe (9th kup)
Taekwondo Yellow belt (8th kup)
Taekwondo Yellow belt with green stripe (7th kup)
Taekwondo Green belt (6th kup)
Taekwondo Green belt with blue stripe (5th kup)
Taekwondo Blue belt (4th kup)
Taekwondo Blue belt with red stripe (3rd kup)
Taekwondo Red belt (2nd kup)
Taekwondo Red belt with black stripe (1st kup)
Taekwondo Black belt (1st dan)
White belt represents the beginning for the student who has no previous knowledge and is therefore innocent towards taekwondo
Yellow belt signifies the foundation in the earth for which the roots are laid
Green belt resembles the growth of the plant as the student gains skills in this martial art
Blue belt represents the conversion from a plant into a towering tree aiming to reach the heavens
Red belt signifies danger. The student must be aware of the skills possessed and the need for self-control. It also warns the opponent to stay away
Black belt is a display of the student’s maturity and proficiency in this style. It also represents indifference to darkness and fear
Taekwondo Belts and Grading
Each grading starts with a warm-up, basic punching and kicking technique drills. It then moves onto patterns specific for each grade. The higher the grade, the more patterns/forms that the student will have to display. The grading also includes free style sparring and set ‘one step’ sparring. These exercises allow the student to demonstrate a variety of techniques that are executed with control. Higher grades will also usually be required to break wooden boards in order to display the accuracy of their technique.
The typical student needs between three and six months before moving up each kup rank. The average student who trains two or three times per week could expect to have achieved green belt rank after one year, red belt after the second year and then black belt after more than three years of regular training. In reality many students can take up to five years to achieve their 1st dan black belt but this depends on the individual.
After achieving black belt grade (1st dan), there are further gradings up to ninth dan. Once the practitioner has passed sixth dan, they may be known as a master of Taekwondo.
During the student’s training as well as observing the creed, they should also follow the tenets of Taekwondo ITF (see philosophy section), never misuse taekwondo, respect instructors, seniors and juniors, promote freedom, justice and a more peaceful world.
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