Midwest Academy
of Tae Kwon Do

   Your Belt And The Requirements

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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 grades (Gups) and nine degrees (Dans). The former begins with 10th grade (Gup) the lowers and ends at first grade. Degrees begin with the first degree (Dan) and ends with the ultimate ninth degree (Dan).

There is significance in the numbering system. With degree, the number 9 is not only the highest single digit number but is also the number 3 multiplied by 3. In the orient, three is the most esteemed of all the numbers. The Chinese character '3' contains three lines: the upper line symbolizes the heaven, the middle line mortals, and the bottom line earth.

New students will start at the rank of 10th Gup - White Belt. For students who have had previous TaeKwon-Do training, you may ask the instructor for permission to wear your present rank or equivalent rank, but you will not be allowed to test for a higher rank until you have met all the requirements for the rank you hold.

Promotion tests are held at throughout the year. The instructors will decide prior to the test what students are eligible to test and will notify them. A student will be eligible if the following criterion is met:

  • Student has trained at least the minimum required number of classes for the session(s) required
  • Student has "mastered" his or her pattern designated for that rank
  • Student has sufficiently proven to the instructors all other techniques for that rank have been successfully accomplished - kicks, hand techniques, self-defense techniques, model sparring, etc.
  • Student has demonstrated good attitude and the ability to live by the tenets of TaeKwon-Do
  • Student (not adults) has maintained positive attitude in school, kept up with school assignments, and has his or her permission from their parent(s) to test
  • Senior rank students (Blue Belts and above) have demonstrated they want to be role models to lower rank students, and help the instructors with classes, demonstrate the willingness to help others, and will be appropriate representatives of the Midwest Academy Of TaeKwon-Do.
  • A uniform is required for testing. If you need to order or replace a worn uniform please see your instructor.
  • A test fee is required - test fees are kept at a very low amount - this fee is used for supplies such as certificates, printer supplies, belts, belt tape.


The Order of Rank

Rank Belt Required
10th Gup White Belt 4 direction punch and block right and left
9th Gup White Belt W/Yellow Stripe Pattern - Chon-Ji
8th Gup Yellow Belt Pattern - Dan Gun
7th Gup Yellow Belt W/Green Stripe Pattern - Do San
6th Gup Green Belt Pattern - Won-Hyo
5th Gup Green Belt W/Blue Stripe Pattern - Yul Gok
4th Gup Blue Belt Pattern - Joong-Gun
3rd Gup Blue Belt W/Red Stripe Pattern - Toi-Gye
2nd Gup Red Belt Pattern - Hwa-Rang
1st Gup Red Belt W/Black Stripe Pattern - Choong-Moo
Probationary Black Belt Black Belt - Novice Pattern - Kwang-Gae, Po-Eun
1st Degree (Dan) Black Belt - Assistant Pattern - Ge-Baek
2nd Degree (Dan) Black Belt - Assistant Instructor Pattern- Eui-Am, Choong-Jang, Juche, Ko-Dan
3rd Degree (Dan) Black Belt - Assistant Instructor Pattern - Sam-Il, Yoo-Sin, Choi-Yong
4th Degree (Dan) Black Belt - Instructor Pattern - Yon-Gae, Ul-Ji, Moon-Moo
5th Degree (Dan) Black Belt - Instructor Pattern - So-San, Se-Jong
6th Degree (Dan) Black Belt - Master Pattern - Tong-Il
7th & 8th Degree (Dan) Black Belt - Master None
9th Degree (Dan) Black Belt - Grand Master None

The Ranks Explained

Uniforms: All Gup ranks will wear a white TaeKwon-Do dobuk - pants and jacket. Black Belts will wear black pants and a white jacket with black trim or official ITU uniform. Patches (School, ITU, Demo Team) approved by instructors can only be worn on uniforms. Please see Mr. Valin for the cost of Black Belt uniforms.

The following chart shows the approximate training time required for each rank as well as rank requirement. This is a simple chart to give you an understanding what is required of you for each step of the way to reach the goal of getting your Black Belt! You will receive specific rank requirements as you make new rank. Each rank will have a pattern, specific kicks, hand techniques, sparring techniques, self-defense techniques, etc. Please remember this is only a guideline - techniques and requirements can and will change without notice. It is also a requirement for Red Belts and above to assist instructing classes side by side with a Certified Instructor.

Testing For: Minimum Training Pattern Series Hand Initial Moves Sparring Self Defense Sparring / Breaking
White Belt W/Yellow Stripe 20 classes 4-direction
1 1 x 1 on 1 x
Yellow Belt 25 classes Chon-Ji 2-3 2-3 x 1 on 1 x
Yellow Belt W/Green Stripe 30 classes Dan-Gun 4-5 4-5 No Contact 1 on 1 1 on 1 / x
Green Belt 40 classes Do-San 6-7 6 No Contact 1 on 1 1 on 1 / Yes
Green Belt W/Blue Stripe 45 classes Won-Hyo 1x x Basic 1 on 1 1 on 1 / Yes
Blue Belt 45 classes Yul-Gok x x Basic 1 on 1 Tourny / Yes
Blue Belt W/Red Stripe 50 classes Joon-Gun x x Basic 1 on 1 Tourny / Yes
Red Belt 50 classes Toi-Gye x x Advanced 2 on 1 2 on 1 / Yes
Red Belt W/Black  60 classes Hwa-Rang x x Advanced 2 on 1 2 on 1 / Yes
Black Belt 60 classes Choong-Moo x x Free Style 2 on 1 2 on 1 / Yes

Total Time    425 classes

  • 1st Dan to 2nd Dan   2 Years
  • 2nd Dan to 3rd Dan   3 Years
  • 3rd Dan to 4th Dan   4 Years
  • 4th Dan to 5th Dan   4 Years
  • 5th Dan to 6th Dan   4 Years
  • 7th Dan to 8th Dan   4 Years
  • 8th Dan to 9th Dan   4 Years

WRITTEN TEST - A written test can be given at the rank of Yellow Belt and higher or at the instructor's discretion one week prior to testing.

ATTENDANCE - In order to advance in rank all students must meet minimum requirements. On average you should be training 2 days per week. If you train 1 night per week it will take you longer between tests. If you miss some classes due to illness, vacation, etc., you are encouraged to make it up on another night or at one of our other schools (no additional costs are involved). Make sure you sign the attendance sheet every class you attend.

PROBATIONARY BLACK BELT - A student who tests for their Black Belt will hold the rank of Probationary Black Belt for a period of 1 year. In this time they must train for a minimum of 50 classes in order to maintain the rank of Probationary Black Belt. In order to be promoted to the rank of 1st Degree Black Belt the student must train for a minimum of 75 classes, assist with instructing classes, demonstrate all of the required patterns and techniques, and be a role model to the other students of the Midwest Academy Of TaeKwon-Do.