Taekwondo Belts: A Complete Guide to Understanding the Ranks

KOMA Taekwondo

November 6, 2023

Most people understand that Taekwondo starts at White Belt and ends at Black Belt, but what exactly happens in the 3 years in between?

In this post, we will unravel the significance of each belt color, their order, and the approximate duration it takes to achieve each rank, ultimately reaching Black Belt.

White Belt

Duration: 3 months

The White Belt symbolizes the start of the Taekwondo journey, where beginners focus on fundamental stances, kicks, and punches. As you continue looking through the belts, you might notice that the color of each belt begins to get darker. This symbolizes the knowledge that the student is collecting, culminating in their final Black Belt test.

Yellow Belt

Duration: 3 months

Once the student has trained consistently for 3 months, they will be eligible to earn their next belt and the first earned belt in Taekwondo; the Yellow Belt. Advancing to the Yellow Belt, students will build on basics learned as a White Belt, refining techniques and gaining a deeper understanding of core principles. This is also the first belt where students will learn Poomsae, or forms. This belt also is the first belt in the 'Beginner' program at Ko Martial Arts.

As mentioned above, Yellow Belts will start to learn the Poomsae. Poomsae is simply a pattern of techniques, performed in a specific order with a specific rhythm. At Ko Martial Arts, we follow the Kukkiwon standard Taegeuk Poomsae for all of our color belt students

Orange Belt

Duration: 3 months

The Orange Belt is the second, and final, belt in the Beginner program and the second belt a student will earn in Taekwondo. At this rank, students have learned the basics of Taekwondo and are starting to refine their techniques as they prepare to enter the intermediate program.

Green Belt

Duration: 3 months

As a Green Belt, the 3rd belt in Taekwondo, students have now entered the second phase of their training. As an intermediate student, there is a deeper focus on the application of the techniques learned in lower ranks. In addition to working on the application in Poomsae, students also have the opportunity to start sparring. With sparring, students are able to safely practice their techniques against an opponent and learn how different kicks, blocks, and footwork techniques can work together.

Purple Belt

Duration: 3 months

Purple Belt is the 4th belt a student will earn in Taekwondo. As with the Green Belt, Purple Belts will continue building the application skills of their techniques and work to further their knowledge as a student. At this point in the student's journey, they will have been training for a little over 1 year.

Blue Belt

Duration: 3 months

The Blue Belt is the final belt in the Intermediate program and the 5th belt in Taekwondo. At this belt, students generally have a good understanding of the basics of Taekwondo and have had a chance to develop them further through application-based practice.

Brown Belt

Duration: 3 months

Brown Belt is the first belt in the Advanced program, the 6th belt in Taekwondo, the final program before testing for Black Belt. At this rank, students will continue to practice the skills from the previous ranks, but will also begin to learn more advanced material.

Red Belt

Duration: 3 months

The Red Belt is the 7th belt in Taekwondo and symbolizes the one-year point from testing for Black Belt. At this rank, students are focused on the details of their skills and correcting errors in their technique.

Black Tip Belt

Duration: 3 months

The Black Tip belt is the 8th and final color belt in Taekwondo. At this rank, students will learn their final Poomsae and work to solidify the skills they have learned over the past 2 - 2 1/2 years.

Recommended Black Belt

Duration: 6 months

Recommended Black Belt is the final belt a student must earn before they are eligible to test for their Black Belt. At this rank, students are responsible for memorizing all previous color belt Poomsae (Yellow through Black Tip) as well as a variety of other requirements that show their knowledge of Taekwondo. After 6 months of consistent training, students are eligible to test for their Black Belt.

1st Degree Black Belt

Once a student has completed 3 years of consistent training and passed their test, they will have earned their Black Belt. At Ko Martial Arts, because we follow the standards set forth by Kukkiwon, the governing body for Taekwondo, when a student earns their Black Belt, they are awarded with an official Kukkiwon certificate that certifies they have passed the test required to earn their rank.

So what comes after Black Belt?

After a student has earned their black belt, their training does not end. In truth, the opposite is true. As with many other martial arts, once a student has achieved black belt, this is just the beginning of their journey to mastery in the art. Students who earn their 1st Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo will then continue to train to earn their 2nd Degree Black Belt and beyond. Each level increases in difficulty and requires a deeper knowledge of the art than the previous.

The highest level of Black Belt in Taekwondo is the 9th Degree Black Belt which is typically awarded to those who have made a significant contribution to the art in some way.

The journey through Taekwondo belt ranks is a testament to dedication, discipline, and continuous improvement. Each belt represents a stepping stone towards mastery, with students refining their techniques and internalizing the essence of Taekwondo at every stage.