Taekwondo ranks are typically separated into “junior” and “senior,” or “student” and “instructor,” sections. The junior section typically consists of ten ranks indicated by the Korean word geup 급 (also Romanized as gup or kup). The junior ranks are usually identified by belts or dhees, of various colors, depending on the school, so these ranks are sometimes called “color belts”. Geup rank may be indicated by stripes on belts rather than by colored belts.
Students begin at tenth geup (often indicated by a white belt) and advance toward first geup (often indicated by a red belt with a black stripe).
- 10th Geup - White
White Belt represents purity. White signifies innocence, as that of a beginning student who has no previous knowledge of Taekwondo. It represents a clean slate, and the beginning of a journey in Taekwondo.
- 9th Geup - Yellow
Yellow Belt represents Energy. Yellow signifies the earth, from which the plant sprouts and takes root as the Taekwondo foundation is being laid. It is also color of sunshine. It’s associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy. Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity, and generates muscle energy.
- 8th Geup - Orange
Orange Belt represents combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation.
- 7th Geup - Green
Green Belt is the color of growth. The growth of power in specific green signifies the plant’s growth as Taekwondo skills are developing.
- 6th Geup - Blue
Blue Belt represents the sky and continued upward attainment. Blue signifies the heavens, toward which the plant develops into a towering tree as the Taekwondo training progresses.
- 5th Geup - Purple
Purple Belt represents the stability of blue and the energy of red. Purple is associated with royalty. It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition. It is during this time that a Taekwondo practitioner should have their goals set in becoming a black belt and should have basics of Taekwondo understood.
- 4th Geup - Brown
Brown Belt represents the earth. Here the student must work to till the soil of the martial arts, to dig out the riches of knowledge needed to reach the next level Tae Kwon Do.
- 3rd Geup - Red
Red Belt is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love. Red is a very emotionally intense color. Just as stoplights, fire equipment and other highly visible items are painted in red, red in Taekwondo training should start showing the techniques and advanced skills which appeal to yourself and others.
- 2nd Geup - Red / Black Stripe
“The dawn of a new day. The sun breaks through the darkness.”
The previous day has ended, giving way to a new dawn. The student must begin a new phase of training; that of being a black belt.
The red is the sun (in a sunrise) as it breaks through the black of night.
- 1st Geup - Black
Black Belt represents the next major step in your Taekwondo journey. It is the beginning of to understand the depth of Taekwondo. Combining yellow, orange, green, purple, blue, brown, and red produces black. Black represents the combined knowledge of the lower levels in Tae Kwon Do training. The journey in Taekwondo is never ending. The black belt phase must be approached as a new beginning. One should start again with a new beginning as Taekwondo is a never ending journey.
- 1st Dan - Black / Gold Stripe
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