The Belt System
The system is scientifically designed and no prior experience or fitness is required.
Tang Soo Do has 10 colour belts/student grades (10th to 1st Gup), 1 black belt candidate (Cho Dan Bo), 4 Dan grades (1st – 4th Dan), 2 Master Dan grades (4th and 5th Dan), 2 Senior Master grades (6th and 7th Dan) and 2 Grandmaster grades (8th and 9th Dan).
Students are required to reach certain levels of proficiency in various techniques accessing their ability to grade for their next belt.
Achieving your Black Belt is not the end, instead it places your feet on the final path that leads to mastery. There are 9 levels from first to 9th Dan and after becoming 4th Dan, one can test to be given Master rank. This also requires commitment to teach the art to new students.
Philosophy of the Belt Colours
10th (white) and 9th (white with stripe) Gup: Beginning stage of achievement.
8th (orange) and 7th (orange with stripe) Gup: New growth as knowledge begins to appear.
6th (green) and 5th (green with stripe) Gup: Speedy development of technique and ability.
4th (brown) and 3rd (brown with stripe) Gup: Power, stability, agility, weight and wisdom.
2nd (red) and 1st (red with stripe) Gup: Blood, life, energy, attention and control.
Cho Dan Bo (dark blue): Maturity, respect and honour.
Black Belt: Represents mastery, calmness, dignity and sincerity.
The requirements for testing in the TGTSDA comprises a technical repertoire of :
- 50 traditional Hyungs (forms – 30 empty hand forms, 15 weapon forms and 5 Ki Gong forms)
- 30 Il Soo Sik (Hand and foot one steps)
- 60 Ho Sin Sul (30 basic self defence techniques and 30 advanced self defence techniques
- 30 Bong (staff), 10 Dan Gum (knife), 10 Jang Gum (sword) and 10 Ji Pangji (kane) one steps
Depending on the belt level written tests or essays are mandatory as well as the participation in TGTSDA events. Furthermore dedication and contribution to Dojang activities is expected and on a higher belt level students have to show leadership and teaching abilities.
Here you can find a detailed overview of the test requirements.