The Tang Soo Do belts system consists of seven colours, with each colour representing the degree of proficiency possessed by the one wearing the belt. As a practitioner progresses, the belt colour worn not only showcases their degree of achievement but, also portrays their authority and dignity.
From white to black, the Tang Soo Do belt rank system illustrates the cycle of the seasons throughout the year. It also symbolises the concept of oriental philosophy; whereby what is born must grow, reach maturity, die and leave behind the seeds of a new birth.
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The Meaning of Tang Soo Do Belts
White (10th and 9th Gup) - White symbolises purity and initiation. It represents the primitive stage of training and hidden potential; much like a freshly planted seed in the ground, during the season of Winter.
Orange (8th and 7th Gup) - Orange signifies hope, happiness, expectation and challenge. It represents the growth of a student which, symbolises the seed’s transition from Winter to Spring.
Green (6th and 5th Gup) - Green is the colour of youth, excitement, prosperity and growth. This stage represents the student’s rapid development as Summer arrives, with the seed flourishing.
Brown (4th and 3rd Gup) - Brown signifies power, stability, agility, weight and wisdom. This is a stabilising stage, both mentally and physically, for the student. It is likened to plants that halt their growth and prepare to flower in late Summer.
Red (2nd and 1st Gup) - Red symbolises blood, life, energy, attention and control. The student’s power and techniques begin to bloom and ripen.
Dark Blue (Cho Dan Bo - Black Belt Candidate) - Dark blue represents maturity, respect and honour. The student must now prepare their mind and body for the final step needed to attain a Black Belt.
Black (Yu Dan Ja - Dan Holder) - Yu Dan Ja means Black Belt Holder and, consists of 1st Dan, 2nd Dan and 3rd Dan. Black signifies maturity, calmness, dignity and sincerity. The first degree of Black Belt is the final stage of one life cycle and the beginning of the next. It is the beginning of a path which leads through the ranks of the higher Black Belts, to true mastery.
Black (Ko Dan Ja - Senior Dan Holder and Master) - Traditionally, full professorship of teaching the Art of Tang Soo Do (4th Dan and 5th Dan) was given to an individual who reached this level. The title in Korean is Sa Bum Nim (meaning teacher, example, honour). These highly ranked achievers train diligently and, are dedicated to developing inner power, meditation and spiritual growth.
A Masters Belt features an additional red line through a Black Belt which, signifies the mastery of each previous belt requirement plus, the mastery of Nae Kong (inner strength).
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