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 coloured belt grades ("Gup") and nine black belt degrees ("DAN") 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.
ITF Taekwon-Do Belt Colours
There are six belts colours in Taekwon-Do:
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.
The belt colours were not chosen arbitrary. They are, in fact, steeped in tradition. The colours of Black, Red & Blue denote the various levels of hierarchy during the Koguryo & Silla Dynasties of ancient Korea.
White - signifies "innocence" as the student has no previous knowledge of Taekwon-Do
Yellow - signifies the "earth" on which the Taekwon-Do foundation is laid
Green - represents "growth" like the growth of a plant which begins to sprout as Taekwon-Do skills begin to develop
Blue - represents the "heaven" towards which the plant grows up into a towering tree, as Taekwon-Do training progresses.
Red - signifies "danger" cautioning the advanced student to excercise control (both emotionally and physically) as they have developed many of the skills of a black belt - but do not yet have the maturity associated with the black belt grade. It is also to warn the opponent to stay away!
Black - is the opposite of white, therefore signifies "maturity and proficiency in Taekwon-Do" It also indicates the wearers imperviousness to "darkness and fear"
In addition to these, we also have two foundation grades, represented by two belts utilising the colour purple. The first is a white belt with a purple stripe, the second is a purple belt with a white stripe.
These foundation grades allow instructors to quickly identify the minimum skill level of a beginner, while at the sometime allowing a new student to chart their own early stages of progression in the foundation level techniques.
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