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Before a person becomes a student of taekwondo, they must be willing to abide by the universal student creed. Anyone learning the WTF Taekwondo Grading system should understand the following:

‘To have the intention to develop in a positive manner and avoid anything that harms physical health or reduces mental growth.’

‘To have the intention to develop self-discipline and in doing so to bring out the best in myself as well as others.’

‘To have the intention to use what is learnt in class constructively and for the purposes of defence. The intention is to help fellow humans, myself and never be offensive or abusive.’

WTF Grading – Belts

  • White belt (10th Gup)
  • White belt with yellow tag (9th Gup)
  • Yellow belt (8th Gup)
  • Yellow belt with green tag (7th Gup)
  • Green belt (6th Gup)
  • Green belt with blue tag (5th Gup)
  • Blue belt (4th Gup)
  • Blue belt with red tag (3rd Gup)
  • Red belt (2nd Gup)
  • Red belt with black tag (1st Gup)
  • Black belt (1st Dan)

At the WTF Grading

Each grading starts with a warm-up, basic punching and kicking technique drills. It then moves onto patterns specific for each grade. The higher the grade, the more patterns/forms that the student will have to display. The grading also includes free style sparring and set ‘one step’ sparring. These exercises allow the student to demonstrate a variety of techniques that are executed with control. Higher grades will also usually be required to break wooden boards in order to display the accuracy of their technique.

To move up from one belt to the next, students must demonstrate competency during a grading in front of a panel of judges or an instructor. Grading formats may vary between clubs, but generally include the display of patterns, which use various techniques and sequence, breaking boards or wood, which demonstrates the use of techniques with power and control, self-defense, and sparring to show the application and control of techniques.

The typical student needs between three and six months before moving up each gup rank. The average student who trains two or three times per week could expect to have achieved green belt rank after one year, red belt after the second year and then black belt after more than three years of regular training. In reality many students can take up to five years to achieve their 1st dan black belt but this depends on the individual.

After achieving black belt grade (1st dan), there are further gradings up to ninth dan. Once the practitioner has passed sixth dan, they may be known as a master of taekwondo.