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Taekwondo Belt System

There are eight belts in Taekwondo, the first being white, which you receive when you commence training.  The following belts are yellow, blue, red, red/black, Cho Dan Bo, black/white and black belt.  On each of the colour belts you wear stripes indicating your level of attainment on that belt.   For example after your first grading you would be yellow belt with one stripe, on your next grading you would be yellow II (two stripes).  Once you reach yellow III your next belt would be blue I.  There is a grade or gup corresponding to each belt level.  White belts are considered beginners and as such do not have a gup.  Yellow I or 9th gup is the most junior, while red III or 1st gup is the most senior.  You may also note that there are nine gups.  This is due to a Korean belief that nine is a perfect number.  Junior students (children under 15 years of age) are indicated by the green stripes on their belt.  Concurrently senior students are designate by the white stripes on their belt.  You will also note that a pattern corresponds to each belt level.

Black belt levels (called Dan’s – there are nine) take many years to earn, for example to grade from 1st Dan (beginner level black belt) to 4th Dan (master level) takes the average student up to ten years. Upon achieving black belt each level is known as a “Dan” for adults and “Poom” for children.  Children have the additional black belt rank of Cho Dan Bo (half red, half black) which is their final step before grading to 1st Poom.

In addition to this there is the junior system for four to six year olds which includes white, purple, green, orange, and yellow belts.