What Are the Different Taekwondo Belts in Order of Rank? - (2023)

Muay thai and MMA are the few very popular martial arts out there that do not have any form of belt ranking.

In kickboxing, Duke Roufus and Duane Ludwig have developed belt ranking systems for their schools according to their kickboxing curriculum.

Belts and rankings are very useful for motivating students to continue training and learning and providing a tangible goal to work toward.

They are also useful for instantly identifying a martial artists experience level by the color of the belt they wear.

But what are the different Taekwondo belts in order of rank and how long does it take to earn a black belt?

Below is the complete ranking system for Taekwondo by belt level in order from beginner to Black belt.

The ranking systems differ according to the Taekwondo organisation a particular school is affiliated with.

Taekwondo at a Glance

Taekwondo is a hugely popular martial art that can be found all over the world.

Taekwondo literally trasnlates to English to mean ‘foot fist way’.

The modern stlye of Taekwondo known around the world today has its origin in the post WWII era of the mid 1940s. This was after Japanese occupation of Korea ended and Korean martial artisits could openly practice and traing again.

Taekwondo is characterised by the many kicking techniques within the Taekwondo system.

(Video) ITF Taekwon-do Belt Order & Color Meanings 🥋

Flexibility and agility are emphasized with focus on head height kick, jumping spinning kick, and fast kick teaching a technique with kicks and striking above waist height.

Different Schools Use Different Belt Orders

There are differences in the Taekwondo belt order depending on the school or Taekwondo Organization the school is affiliated with.

Overall there are 3 different Organizations recognized in Taekwondo each with a different belt system.

  • ITF – International Taekowndo Federation
  • WT – World Taekwondo
  • ATA – American Taekwondo Association

In Taekwondo the Korean word ‘geup’ also pronounced as ‘keup’ is the term used for each grade, rank or color belt.

The ITF Belt System

The International Taekwon-Do Federation or ITF is an international taekwondo organization founded on March 22, 1966, by General Choi Hong Hi in Seoul, South Korea.

The ITF was founded to promote and encourage the growth of the Korean martial art of Taekwon-Do.

TheITF ranking systemconsists of six solid colourbelts; white, yellow, green, blue, red, and black.

  • White Belt (10th Geup):White has a meaning of blankness, it manifests the humbleness and lack of knowledge of a beginner.
  • Yellow stripe (9th Geup):A middle phase between a total beginner and yellow belt.
  • Yellow Belt (8th Geup):The metaphor of yellow is the seed planted.
  • Green stripe (7th Geup):Middle phase between yellow and green
  • Green Belt (6th Geup):The seed now is starting to grow a plant and the practitioner is growing slowly but surely
  • Blue stripe (5th Geup):Middle phase between the green belt and the blue belt.
  • Blue Belt (4th Geup):Signifies the sky as the plant is aspiring to go high towards the sky without limits
  • Red Stripe (3rd Geup):Middle Phase between blue belt and red belt
  • Red Belt (2nd Geup):Red is a sign of blood, this is a warning to the student that they are aquiring a lethal weapon, self-control should be very present.
  • Black Stripe (1st Geup):Middle phase between red belt and black belt
  • Black belt:The student is rewarded the black belt once they pass the 1st Geup.
What Are the Different Taekwondo Belts in Order of Rank? - (2)

World Taekwondo Belt System Order

The World Taekwando Federation (WTF) is the international organization that governs Olympic Taekwondo.

The WTF also oversees Taekwondo competitions around the world.

The WTf was founded in 1973 at Kukkiwon in Seoul.

WTF Taekwondo is practiced in n188 countries across the world. WTF Taekwondo is the onley taekwondo sport santioned bu the IOC (Internaitonal Olympic Committee).

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

Taekwondo became an official medal asport at the Syndey 2000 Olmypics.

Taekwondo color belt systems and order differ by school. The WTF style uses the taekwondo belt order below:

RankBelt ColorMinimum TermTotal Training Time
10thKupNone/White2 monthsnone
9thKupWhite/White with stripe2 months2 months
8thKupYellow2 months4 months
7thKupOrange/Yellow with stripe2 months6 months
6thKupGreen2 months8 months
5thKupBlue/Green with stripe2 months10 months
4thKupPurple/Blue2 months1 year
3rdKupBrown/Blue with stripe2 months14 months
2ndKupRed4 months16 months
1stKupRed with stripe4 months20 months
1st DegreeCho Dan1 year2 years
2nd DegreeEeDan2 years3 years
3rd DegreeSam Dan3 years5 years
4th DegreeSa Dan4 years8 years
5th DegreeO Dan5 years12 years
6th DegreeYookDan6 years17 years
7th DegreeChilDan7 years23 years
8th DegreePulDan8 years30 years
9th DegreeKu Dan9 years38 years

American Taekwondo Association Belt Order

Songahm Taekwondo is the style practiced at ATA affiliated schools.

Songahm means “Pine Tree and Rock.”

According to the organization, the term Songahm itself represents“Evergreen strength the year round, long life and a symbol of unchanging human loyalty”as represented by the pine tree and the rock.

Soon Ho Lee gave the name, Songahm, and its meaning to his brother, Haeng Ung Lee years before H.U. Lee founded the ATA.

What Are the Different Taekwondo Belts in Order of Rank? - (3)

In the ATA, the student is compared to a growing pine tree, from a seed (white belt) to a massive tree (black belt).

Below are the ATA Taekwondo belts in order.

  • White Belt
  • Orange Belt
  • Yellow Belt
  • Camouflage Belt
  • Green Belt
  • Purple Belt
  • Blue Belt
  • Brown Belt
  • Red Belt
  • Black Belt

White Belt
“Pure and without the knowledge of Songahm Taekwondo. As with the Pine Tree, the seed must now be planted and nourished to develop strong roots.”
The student has no knowledge of Songahm Taekwondo and begins with a clean (pure) slate.

Purity is often signified by the colorwhite.

Orange Belt
“The sun is beginning to rise. As with the morning’s dawn, only the beauty of the sunrise is seen rather than the immense power.”
The beginner student sees the beauty of the art of Taekwondo but has not yet experienced the power of the technique.

(Video) Taekwondo Belt Rankings

Orangeis found among the many colors of the sunrise.

Yellow Belt
“The seed is beginning to see the sunlight.”
The student begins to understand the basics of Taekwondo.

The sun appears to beyellow.

Camouflage (Camo) Belt
“The sapling is hidden amongst the taller pines and must now fight its way upward.”
The student begins to realize his/her place in the world’s largest martial art. The student must now begin to spar in order to promote in rank.

Camouflage(greens) is used to hide among the trees in the forest.

Green Belt
“The pine tree is beginning to develop and grow in strength.”
The student’s technique is developing power. The components of the basic techniques are beginning to work in unison.

As the pine tree develops, it sproutsgreenpine needles.

Purple Belt
“Coming to the mountain. The tree is in the mid-growth and now the path becomes steep.”
The student has crossed over into a higher level of Songahm Taekwondo. The techniques, poom-sae (forms), and level of gyeo-roo-gi (sparring) becomes more difficult, creating a “mountain” that must be overcome.

Mountains are often depicted as beingpurple.

Blue Belt
“The tree reaches for the sky toward new heights.”
Having passed the mid-way point, the student focuses his/her energy upward toward black belt.

The sky appears asblue.

What Are the Different Taekwondo Belts in Order of Rank? - (4)
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Brown Belt
“The tree is firmly rooted in the earth.”
At this point the student has mastered the basics and developed deep roots in Taekwondo.

Brownis known as an earthy color, such as dirt.

Red Belt
“The sun is setting. The first phase of growth has been accomplished.”
The first day (the period of time from white belt to red belt) of growth is coming to an end. The physical skill has been developed but lacks control; therefore, physical and mental discipline must now be achieved.

Variations ofredare found among the many colors of the sunset.

Red/Black Belt
“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.

Theredis the sun (in a sunrise) as it breaks through theblackof night.

Black Belt
“The tree has reached maturity and has overcome the darkness… it must now ‘plant seeds for the future.’”
The color black is created when all the colors of the light spectrum have been absorbed into an object. That object has “taken control” of the colors and retained them. If one color was to “escape”, the object would no longer be black but would appear as that color. The student has mastered the nine geup (grades) of Taekwondo. He/she has “absorbed” all the knowledge of the color ranks and overcome or “mastered” that level or training.

The colors of the spectrum are bound together and are not reflected off an object, resulting in the absence of color which we callblack.

How Long Does it Take to Earn a Black Belt in Taekwondo?

The time it takes from white belt (beginner) to Black Belt (expert) will vary greatly depending on many factors.

These factors include:

  • the number hours in daily class
  • the number of days per week attending training
  • the frequency in which a student is corrected by a competent Instructor
  • the amount of time practicing outside of class
  • the quality of Instruction and the quality of daily practice at home

In Taekwondo, it is likely that a dedicated student will be eligible to test for a 1st Degree Black Belt after 3 to 5 years.


Under the WTF belt ranking order, the ‘Cho Dan’ or 1st Dan black belt level requires 1-2 years of training time before being eligible for this first level black belt.

What Are the Different Taekwondo Belts in Order of Rank? - (6)


What are the order of belts in Taekwondo? ›

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.

What are the belt ranks in order? ›

There are 6 belt colors: white belt, orange belt, blue belt, yellow belt, green belt, brown belt, and black belt. All belts besides the white belt can have dashes to indicate further progress. Here is a summary of the different karate belts.

What is the highest color in Taekwondo? ›

The highest rank achievable, the black belt test requires a lot of work: one pattern, one-step sparring, two-step sparring, free sparring and multiple free sparring.

What is the lowest rank in Taekwondo? ›

Gup rank

What is the Gup rank, and why is it important? Additionally, it is occasionally referred to as the “Kup” or “Geup” rank – both of which translate as “grade.” This is the lowest rank in Taekwondo. Students must work their way up the Gup rank's nine ranks or grades.

What is the first belt in Taekwondo? ›

The first belt of the beginner is WHITE, which indicates clarity and purity. It symbolises innocence and an uninhibited mind. Thus assuming that the persons has no prior knowledge of the art and training. This colour signifies the earth and the sun, where the seed is expected to take root.

Is Taekwondo black belt easy? ›

Earning your TaeKwonDo black belt isn't easy. It takes hard work, dedication, and determination to achieve this rank. However, at Peck's TaeKwonDo, we help you succeed by giving you the training and skills to become a TKD master. Our instructors work with you to become the best version of yourself in martial arts.

What is the highest black belt in Taekwondo? ›

Black Belt Levels
  • 7th Dan (7th Degree): 7 to 8 years of practice and you can be considered a Master Instructor.
  • 8th Dan (8th Degree): This is where the Grand master status starts.
  • 9th Dan (9th Degree): This is the ultimate level but even this doesn't mean you don't have anything to learn or improve.
Jul 24, 2020

How many Taekwondo black belts are there? ›

The senior section of ranks—the "black belt" ranks—is typically made up of nine ranks. Each rank is called a dan 단 (段) or "degree" (as in "third dan" or "third-degree black belt").

How long does it take to get belts in Taekwondo? ›

Black belts in Tae Kwon Do are achieved in degrees, with the practitioner able to earn the first-degree black belt within three to five years. Some schools stipulate a minimum of four to five years of training before a student can earn a black belt, while others do not.

What is the hardest kick in Taekwondo? ›

1. The Front Kick (앞 차기, “Ap Chagi”) The front kick is sometimes referred to as the “snap kick,” because of the tremendous speed exerted in this move. It is one of the first kicks taught in Taekwondo, but is often considered as one of the most powerful even at higher levels.

Who is the youngest Taekwondo master? ›

Aguirre is the youngest in the world to achieve the belt, according to the taekwondo masters and grand masters present at the test.

What is the lowest color in Taekwondo? ›

There are seven belts: white, yellow, orange, green, blue, brown and black. 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 Tae Kwon Do.

What is the easiest Taekwondo kick? ›

The Front Kick (Ap Chagi)

Also known as the front snap kick or the flash kick, this is the easiest Taekwondo kick. The kick is performed by first raising the kicking leg's knee to waist level, and then the foot snaps forward.

Who is No 1 taekwondo player? ›

Currently, American Steven Lopez is considered the best Taekwondo player of all time. He won the first gold medal ever for Taekwondo at the Olympics and has won Olympic medals three times. Plus, he has taken the gold 5 times at the World Championships.

What rank is Chuck Norris in Taekwondo? ›

Norris has received many black belts. These include a 10th degree black belt in Chun Kuk Do, a 9th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, an 8th degree black belt in Taekwondo, a 5th degree black belt in Karate, a 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from the Machado family, and a black belt in Judo.

Who is the youngest Taekwondo black belt? ›

The World Record of 'youngest black belt in taekwondo' has been achieved by Tanya Yogi (05 years 03 months 29 days) from Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, India.

What are the 3 old names of Taekwondo? ›

The martial art of Taekwondo has gone by many names such as Tae Kyon, Soo Bak Do, Kong Soo Do, Tang Soo Do and others. However, the Master's main objective since 1945 was to purify Teakwondo and return to the traditional unarmed form and technique that was free from the influences of other martial arts.

At what age do you get a black belt in Taekwondo? ›

The minimum age to apply for promotion for 1st Dan black belt is 13 years of age.

Can I get a black belt in one year? ›

A black belt is extremely hard to achieve in this discipline. It is difficult to progress through the ranks; earning just a blue belt takes three to five years. A black belt may be earned in ten years.

Is Taekwondo harder than karate? ›

If you're interested in learning more balanced, full-body moves, karate might be a better choice. For those interested in learning fast and more elaborate kicking moves, taekwondo is the better option. A good way to find out which martial arts style is best for you is to try taking beginner classes in both disciplines.

Is Taekwondo painful to learn? ›

Taekwondo is not an easy thing to learn, and every single set of moves, every strike, and every stance takes a lot of discipline to master. Learning the various aspects of Taekwondo and perfecting them involves goal setting.

Who is the fastest black belt? ›

Caio Terra is unquestionably at the top of the list when it comes to the fastest black Belt promotions. He received his black belt from Paulo Strauch and Reyson Gracie. In the local Brazilian community, Terra dominated every opponent and quickly became the top fighter in his weight division.

What are the 3 types of uniform in Taekwondo? ›

Tae Kwon Do uniforms come in three pieces: pants, jacket, and belt. Belts are earned and are usually given by or purchased from your dojang or martial arts gym, though kids' uniform sets may come with a basic white belt.

How long does it take to get a yellow belt in Taekwondo? ›

The minimum length of time that must pass before a student can grade from yellow tag to a full yellow belt is typically 2 – 3 months. Thus, the total time it takes to go from an absolute beginner to yellow belt in Taekwondo is typically 4 – 6 months (and you have to train regularly throughout this time).

Are punches allowed in Taekwondo? ›

Punches to the body are allowed, but not to the head. A match consists of three two-minute rounds and will go into a "golden point" round if the score is tied at the end of three rounds. At that point, the first fighter to score — with any technique — wins. Here's a quick guide to taekwondo scoring.

What do the Taekwondo belt colors mean? ›

Green : Signifies the plants growth as the Taekwon-Do skills begin to develop. Blue : Signifies the sky and the heavens, towards which the tree grows as Taekwon-Do training progresses. Red : Signifies danger, cautioning the student to exercise control, and warning an opponent to stay away.

What is a Taekwondo instructor called? ›

In many traditional TaeKwon-Do organizations instructors holding 1st to 3rd dan are called Boosabum (Assistant Instructor), those holding 4th to 6th Dan are called Sabum (Instructor), those holding 7th to 8th dan are called Sahyun (Master), and those holding 9th dan are called Saseong (Grandmaster).

What is the easiest black belt to get? ›

A student can earn a black belt in Tae Kwon Do faster than in any other form of the martial arts. Black belts in Tae Kwon Do are achieved in degrees, with the practitioner able to earn the first-degree black belt within three to five years.

How do you memorize Taekwondo forms? ›

If you are having a hard time in remembering your taekwondo patterns, then these are some tips that you can use to help you.
  1. Practice One Part at a Time. ...
  2. See What Each Move Means. ...
  3. Walk Through Your Pattern Each Day. ...
  4. Learn One Form at a Time. ...
  5. Consider Competitions.

Can you wash a Taekwondo belt? ›

We recommend that you don't wash your martial arts belt due to possible shrinkage. Try using packaging tape to lift surface dirt from your belt. Apply a piece of clean tape to the dirtied area of the belt and then remove it.

How long does it take to get each belt in Taekwondo? ›

How long does it take between each belt grade? Taekwondo schools will generally test their students every three to four months. More traditional schools require longer intervals between tests, sometimes it can go up to six months.

What are the 9 of Taekwondo? ›

1977: The nine different kwans (Chung Do Kwan, Ji Do Kwan, Moo Duk Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan, Soo Moo Kwan, Han Moo Kwan, Oh Do Kwan, Jung Do Kwan, and Kang Du Won) recognize the Kukkiwon and WTF as the promotional body of Taekwondo, and agree to the black belt certification process and certificates.

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

Tae Kwon Do (3-5 Years)

Black belts in Tae Kwon Do are achieved in degrees, with the practitioner able to earn the first-degree black belt within three to five years. Some schools stipulate a minimum of four to five years of training before a student can earn a black belt, while others do not.

How do you rank up your belt in Taekwondo? ›

To advance from one rank to another, students will need to qualify for promotion testing. Each student is different and will promote at a pace measured by skill and not a timeline. To advance from one rank to another, students will need to qualify for promotion testing.

Is Taekwondo worth the money? ›

Taekwondo truly is a wonderful martial art to practice and a big reason for that is because it is a great form of exercise. This is a fighting sport that can make you better focused, teach you discipline and respect, make you stronger, more flexible, and more heart healthy too, plus a whole lot more.

What are the hardest kicks in Taekwondo? ›

The front kick is sometimes referred to as the “snap kick,” because of the tremendous speed exerted in this move. It is one of the first kicks taught in Taekwondo, but is often considered as one of the most powerful even at higher levels.

What does WTF mean in Taekwondo? ›

The acronym “WTF,” which stands for “What the [fudge],” no longer has to compete with the World Taekwondo Federation for meaning, although really, it never did. After having used the acronym for 44 years, the organization declared Friday it will now be known simply as World Taekwondo.

What do you call a Taekwondo teacher? ›

In many traditional TaeKwon-Do organizations instructors holding 1st to 3rd dan are called Boosabum (Assistant Instructor), those holding 4th to 6th Dan are called Sabum (Instructor), those holding 7th to 8th dan are called Sahyun (Master), and those holding 9th dan are called Saseong (Grandmaster).

What do you yell in Taekwondo? ›

In Taekwondo, we call the martial arts shout a kihap 기합 (sometimes spelled kihup, kiai, or kyup). Shouting forces us to exhale. This strong exhale remove air from our diaphragms and brings more power and speed to attacks.

What moves are illegal in Taekwondo? ›

The only penalty in taekwondo is a gam-jeom. A gam-jeom is declared when an athlete punches to the face, or punches or kicks below the waist. Also not allowed is attacking an opponent with the knee or the head.

How many years does it take to get a green belt in Taekwondo? ›

Time In Rank Requirements
Tae Kwon Do RankTime Required To Advance In Rank
7th Gup Yellow Belt With Green Stripe2 Months (36 Hours)
6th Gup Green Belt2 Months (36 Hours)
5th Gup Green Belt With Blue Stripe3 Months (54 Hours)
4th Gup Blue Belt6 Months (108 Hours)
15 more rows

What is the highest degree in Taekwondo? ›

The highest degree black belt in Taekwondo is typically a 9th or 10th degree black belt, which is referred to as a "Grand Master" or "Kwan Jang Nim." A Taekwondo Grand Master is a highly respected and skilled individual who has achieved the highest rank in the martial art of Taekwondo.

How impressive is a black belt in Taekwondo? ›

Obtaining a black belt or 1st Dan in Taekwondo is undoubtedly a sign of pride and an indication of having reached a good level. A taekwondoin (a new term for a taekwondo practitioner) starts with a white belt and progresses in stages to a black belt.


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