In Taekwon-Do the system of rank is divided up into 19 stages. 10 of these are colour belt stages,known as kups. 9 belong to black belt level, known as dans. Colour belt level begins at 10th kup (white belt) ,the lowest level, and works its way up to 1st kup (red belt black tag). Black belts begin with 1st Dan, and works up to the ultimate atainment in Taekwon-Do, 9th Dan, Grandmaster level.
Like most aspects of Taekwon-Do, the grading system holds a certain significance. 3 is seen as the most esteemed number in oriental tradition. The Chinese charactcter for three represents the heavens, mortals and the earth. It is said that he who is succesfull in living in harmony with all three will aspire to be king. Also when the number 3 is multiplied by itself you get 9, the highest possible rank in Taekwon-Do.
The Dan stages of black belt level are divided into three sections. 1st - 3rd degree are seen as novice black belts, still only beginners in comparison to more senior ranks. 4th - 5th degree are seen as having crossed into maturity and are classed as experts. 7th - 9th degree consists of Taekwon-Do masters, those who have come to fully understand and perfect the particulars of Taekwon-Do, both mental and physical.
Below are the various stages of the colour belts. To view the grading criteria for reaching each level, simply click on the appropriate link on the left. You begin your practice of Taekwon-Do as a white belt.