Taekwondo Belts Color And Stages

Mar 27, 2024
Taekwondo Belts Color And Stages

Going through the stages of Taekwondo belts can be confusing for many practitioners. Understanding belt colors and their significance boosts motivation and clarity in martial arts training. Taekwondo, a renowned martial art, employs a belt system to indicate a student's progress and skill level.

This system starts with the white belt, representing a beginner, and culminates in the black belt, symbolizing mastery. The journey includes various stages, such as yellow, green, blue, and red belts, each with its own meaning and requirements.

Our comprehensive guide gets into the colors and stages of Taekwondo belts, providing a clear roadmap for practitioners.

Why are Taekwondo Belts Important?

Taekwondo belts symbolize a practitioner's progress and proficiency in the martial art. Each belt color, from white to black, represents a different stage of skill and knowledge. The belt system motivates students to improve and achieve higher ranks. It also fosters a sense of accomplishment and discipline. In Taekwondo, earning a new belt is a significant milestone that reflects hard work and dedication. The belts serve as a visual record of a practitioner's journey in martial arts.

Evolution of Belt Colors and Ranks

The evolution of belt colors and ranks in Taekwondo reflects the martial art's growth and development. Initially, there were fewer belt colors, with white, green, and black being the most common. As Taekwondo became more structured, additional colors like yellow, blue, and red were introduced to represent intermediate stages. The introduction of stripes, such as a black stripe on a red belt, allowed for finer distinctions in skill levels. Today, the belt system varies between different Taekwondo federations, but the progression from white belt to black belt remains a core element of the martial art's ranking structure.

6 Stages of Taekwondo Belts

  1. White Belt: Symbolizes innocence, as the beginner has no knowledge of Taekwondo.
  2. Yellow Belt: Represents the earth, where the seed of Taekwondo knowledge is planted.
  3. Green Belt: This signifies growth, as the student's skills start to develop.
  4. Blue Belt: This represents the sky, indicating that the student is reaching higher.
  5. Red Belt: Symbolizes danger, warning the student to exercise control.
  6. Black Belt: Represents maturity and proficiency in Taekwondo.

Role of Stripes in Belt Ranking:

Stripes in taekwondo belt ranking indicate progress within a belt color. They are usually black or blue. Earning a stripe requires demonstrating proficiency in specific techniques or forms. Stripes motivate students to keep improving. They are stepping stones to the next belt level. Stripes also help instructors assess a student's progress.

The Process of Advancing to The Next Belt

The journey to the next belt in Taekwondo begins with consistent training and learning new techniques. At each level, students demonstrate proficiency in poomsae, self-defense, and sparring. The belt test assesses their skill level, with success leading to advancement. The ITF system uses gup ranks to track advancement, starting with the first (1st geup) and moving up to the 1st degree black belt. The color of the belt signifies the student's stage, with each rank bringing short-term goals and a closer step to the black belt, represented by imperviousness to darkness and fear.

Different Ranking Systems

International Taekwondo Federation (ITF)

The ITF ranking system uses colored belts to indicate a student's level of training. Beginning with white, each color belt signifies progress. For example, a yellow belt represents the earth, where a student begins.

As students advance, they move on to the next belt, each with its own significance. The ITF system includes 10 gup (color belt) ranks and 9 dan (black belt) degrees.

 To progress to the next rank, students must demonstrate proficiency in poomsae, self-defense, and spar. The journey to black belt typically takes several years of consistent training.

World Taekwondo (WT)

World Taekwondo follows a similar belt ranking system, with color belts indicating skill level and training. The WT system starts with white, symbolizing purity and the beginning of the journey. As students advance, they earn different belt colors, each representing a new stage of proficiency.

Black belt ranks in WT are divided into dan degrees, with the highest being the 10th dan. Earning a black belt in WT requires mastering poomsae, sparring, and demonstrating physical fitness.

The journey to the black belt in WT also signifies a student's imperviousness to darkness and fear.

Also Read: Taekwondo vs Karate: What are the Major Differences?


The Taekwondo belt system is a structured pathway that reflects a practitioner's growth and expertise in this martial art. From the white belt to the coveted black belt, each color represents a significant milestone in the journey of Taekwondo. Understanding these stages not only guides students but also instills a sense of accomplishment and purpose. As you reflect on your Taekwondo journey, what belt stage are you currently at, and what does it signify for you?

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