What are the belts for?
Each belt is a stepping stone for the student towards the ultimate goal of a black belt. Beginners will earn their first, a white belt, early in their Tae Kwon Do training.
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How are the belts ranked?
Belts are ranked in this order: white, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, purple trim, brown, red and black. Juniors, students under the age 16, will earn a Poom, or Junior Black Belt. Adults earn a first degree Black Belt, or 1st Dan.
Black belts are ranked from 1st, 2nd, 3rd. A 4th degree ranking is considered a Master Instructor. A 5th degree and higher is a Kwan Jang Nim (or President of the Association). The 8th and 9th degrees are Grand Masters and are the highest tested ranks. The highest rank of distinction is a 10th degree Black Belt who is considered to be a Great Grand Master.
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What does "certification" mean?
In the Lees Tae Kwon Do system, colored belt ranks are "certified", or officially recognized, through the Lee's Tae Kwon Do Association. Because Master Lee is a certified Examiner for the Kukkiwon, all the colored belt rankings certified by him are officially recognized worldwide as official rank, whether it is a white belt or a 2nd Dan. The Black Belts are certified through the World Tae Kwon do Federation upon the recommendation of Grandmaster Lee.
Black Belts are certified and registered with the Kukkiwon in Korea, the World Tae Kwon do Headquarters. The World Tae Kwon Do Federation is the only martial art recognized and accepted by the International Olympic Committee. The president of the WTF and the Kukkiwon, Dr. Un Young Kim, is now also the vice president of the International Olympic Committee that has authorized Tae kwon Do as an Olympic Sport beginning in 2000.
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What is belt testing?
When the student has completed the required time and training, a test date will be set. As in any educational institution, the instructors know when a student is ready to test.
At the test, the student will perform the required material in front of the testing instructor then finish by breaking the required board or boards, to advance to the next level.
Beginning students and children are given assistance, if needed, to help them fulfill the requirements to earn their belt. This helps build confidence.
Advanced students are required to complete the exam with little or no assistance.
Junior and adult black belt tests must be passed with no assistance.