Taekwondo Belt Ranking System - SIMPLY Explained for Beginners (2023)

Taekwondo Belt Ranking System - SIMPLY Explained for Beginners (1)

Taekwondo (TKD) is one of the most popular martial arts that is widely practiced around the world. Like most other traditional martial arts, taekwondo training involves a belt ranking system and strict criteria for promotion. But how many color belt ranks are there in taekwondo?

The number of colored belt rows varies between the two main styles of Taekwondo, WT and ITF. In the ITF, color belt ranks start from 10 Geup (white belt) down to 1 Dan (black belt). WT belts start at 12 Geup (white belt) up to 1 Dan (black belt).

This is just a brief explanation of the Taekwondo belt ranking system. Be sure to read this article to learn more about color belt ranks and how this system works.

History of Taekwondo Belt Ranking System

TKDoriginated in South Korea in the 1950s, but the concept of belt ranking used in TKD has been around much, much longer. The thing is,Hong Choiand members of other kwans (dojos) who founded TKD did not invent the color belt ranking system. No, they actually took color belts from judo and, like most other arts, modified them to fit their system.

The history of the Taekwondo color belt ranking system began in Japan in the 20th century. At that time,Kano Jigoro, a martial arts genius who createdJudo, worked on the development of a unique rating system. His main idea was to create specific ranks that separate students and competitors by ability level. The idea of ​​colored belts came to him after playing the famous Japanese strategic board game called "walk', which is similar to chess. The initial colored belt ranking concept had only four belts and many more would follow in the future:

(Video) Taekwondo Belts and Ranks Explained - All Organizations (WT, ITF, ATA)

  • White
  • Blau
  • Braun
  • Schwarz

The system that Kano Jigoro created was so convenient that many other martial arts like itKarate, BJJ and TKD have all adopted this concept. Of course, each of these arts modified the system according to their needs, but the core of the concept remained the same.

Taekwondo Belt Ranking System Explained

There are two main ranking systems in Taekwondo: WT and ITF.and you will learn all about both in this article. The most important thing to remember is that the ranking system in both styles is divided into two groups:

  • Junior group (color belt "geups")includes between 10 (ITF) and 12 (WT) color belts and each rank is called "geup". Beginners always start out wearing a white belt and must progress through eight more colored belt ranks before reaching the final black belt rank.
  • Senior Group (Black Belt "Dan")consists of nine different black belt ranks and each rank is called "Dan", which is a Korean word for "grade". Students begin "Dan" rank when they have completed all ranks in the junior group.

The TKD Senior (Dan) belt levels are the same in the WT and ITF styles of Taekwondo, but the ranking systems for junior belts are different. Here is a list of all junior (geups) suit ranks.

Juniorengürtel der International Taekwondo Federation (ITF):

Taekwondo Belt Ranking System - SIMPLY Explained for Beginners (2)

World Taekwondo (WT) Belt Ranks:

Taekwondo Belt Ranking System - SIMPLY Explained for Beginners (3)
LEARN MORERead our article onKarate Belt Ranking System - SIMPLY Explained for Beginners

How do you get ahead in Taekwondo?

In order to advance in rank, all TKD students must pass a specific belt test, and the promotion test is organized every two, three, or four months, depending on the school. The tests usually involve a panel of judges and coaches before which the students must perform. Each student must demonstrate a high level of technical and tactical ability required for the rank they aspire to attain. Tests are not usually difficult to pass in the lower ranks, but become harder with each higher rank. In most schools, students are required to do the following:

(Video) Taekwondo Basic Form 1 - Full Tutorial

  • Patterns/forms (poomsae) involving various combinations of blocks, punches and kicks. Each student performs alone and must perform all techniques with perfect movement and without mistakes.
  • Sparring against other students to demonstrate practical application of the techniques in a real fight
  • Breaking boards to demonstrate power and control
  • Perform physical exercises to demonstrate the required level of fitness
  • Theoretical test in which students have to answer questions on terminology, different concepts and the history of Taekwondo.
  • In the higher (dan) ranks, students must pass a written test before proceeding to the practical test.

In some schools, students must also show consistency and loyalty in order to be promoted to the next belt. They have to show up at the dojo at least three times a week and even take special training courses to prepare for an exam. They must also show loyalty to the school by attending promotional events and following all rules and regulations.

How much time it takes to progress from one rank to the next really depends on the tier you are at. Students in the lower ranks tend to progress much faster because the tests are not as complex. They usually need to show improved fitness and perform between 8 and 9 offensive and defensive forms. But tests become more difficult and progress slows as they reach medium and advanced ranks.

Next, keep in mind that the criteria and the time it takes you to move from one rank to the next depend on the school. Promotion tests in some schools are not that difficult and you can climb through the ranks much faster. However, achieving a black belt in a short amount of time comes with a price, as you will not be as proficient as students training in traditional dojos, where promotion criteria are strict.

How long does it take to get each belt in taekwondo?

Here's a detailed look at how long it takes to get each color belt in taekwondo. However, the guidelines below apply to those who commit to exercising at least three times a week.

Taekwondo Belt Ranking System - SIMPLY Explained for Beginners (4)
Taekwondo Belt Ranking System - SIMPLY Explained for Beginners (5)

How long does it take to get a black belt in taekwondo?

On average, it takes between 3 and 5 years for a student of average talent and fitness level to achieve a black belt rank (1st place).stAnd) im Taekwondo.As with other sports, the exact time depends on many factors such as talent, fitness level, dedication and passion. However, keep in mind that due to the strict promotion criteria, it is almost impossible to achieve a black belt rank in less than 3 years.

However, there are schools where the promotion criteria are not at the highest levels. In fact, it can be very low, and these schools allow their students to rise through the ranks quickly and achieve a black belt in under 3 years. In fact, some schools go even further by guaranteeing that you will achieve a black belt rank in, say, 2 years. You shouldAvoid this kind of inferior martial arts school.

Having a black belt is great, but in this case it's useless simply because you're not skilled enough to be a TKD black belt. Or in other words, a legitimate blue belt training in a traditional dojo with the highest standards of promotion is potentially far more skilled than someone who earned their black belt in 2 years. Even students who earn their black belts in a short amount of time usually don't do well in competition. So if you want to do well at TKD, it is in your best interest to avoid any school that offers you a black belt fast track program.

LEARN MOREGet the full report onIs it worth learning Taekwondo? Here's what you need to know

What is the highest level of TKD Black Belt you can earn?

The highest grade/rank in Taekwondo is 9th Dan Black Belt, also known as the "Grand Master" rank. This is also the highest rank given to surviving individuals, since the “10th Dan black belt” is usually awarded posthumously. The only exception was when Kim Ki-Wang received a 10th dan rank while lying in the hospital bed shortly before his death from cancer in 1993.

In WT there were 6 out of 10. Dan" black belts and 45 "9. Dan" black belts, while ITF 39 "9. Dan” black belts and not a single person holds a 10th Dan. the people withhighest 10th Dan rank in the WT:

  • Choi Joon
  • Lee Moo-yong
  • Kim Kiwang
  • Lee Jong-soo (alias: Chong Lee)
  • Sell ​​Edward B
  • Pan Sim live

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TKD Belt vs Karate Belt - Difference and Comparison

The belt ranking systems in Taekwondo (ITF) and most styles of Karate are very similar as the concept is the same. Both arts inherited a color belt rank from judo created by Kano Jigoro. And both TKD and Karate include two separate belt ranks for junior and senior students, with the number of ranks being the same.

For example, TKD includes 10 different color belt ranks called "Geup" for younger students and an additional 10 "Dan" ranks for older students. Karate, on the other hand, also has 10 junior ranks called "kyu" and the same number of dan ranks, 10. The main differences are the belt colors and the time it takes you to train to move from one belt to the next. Here is a detailed comparison:

Taekwondo Belt Ranking System - SIMPLY Explained for Beginners (6)
LEARN MORERead our article onKarate vs Taekwondo: Key Differences and Similarities

related questions

Which MMA Fighters Are TKD Black Belts?

Throughout MMA history there have been many taekwondo black belts who have had much success competing at the highest levels of modern MMA. Below is a list of some of the most well known:

  • Rose Namajunas— is the UFC Strawweight Champion and one of the most famous UFC fighters. She began training in taekwondo at the age of 5 and had achieved the rank of black belt just four years later. In the octagon, she shines with various TKD kicks like ax and front kicks.
  • yair rodriguez— is a UFC fighter who is probably the finest example of TKD in modern MMA. He's one of those clumsy fighters who doesn't hesitate to throw flashy jump and spin kicks.
  • Anderson Silva— is one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time, coming from a strong background in TKD where he holds a 5th Dan black belt. This makes him one of the highest ranking TKD practitioners in MMA.
  • Walentina Schewtschenko—  is a UFC champion and champion in many martial arts, including taekwondo, where she holds a 2nd Dan black belt.
  • Anthony Petti— is the former UFC lightweight champion who has been training taekwondo since he was 5 years old. At 18, Pettis already had a 3rd Dan black belt.

Who is the father of Taekwondo?

General in the South Korean ArmyChoi Hong-hiis widely considered the father of taekwondo. Choi played a big role in the development of TKD in the 1940s and 1950s, but remember that he didn't create TKD alone. He was the founder of the first International Taekwondo Federation and its first President. Although Choi did not develop TKD alone, he is directly responsible for regulating TKD and popularizing it around the world.

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