Pattern Meanings

This page is full of the meanings of patterns of various styles. It is unique in the fact that it offers meanings of patterns beyond just ITF and WTF.

ITF (and simmilar styles)/GTF Pattern Meanings:

Four Direction Punch/Saju-Jirugi:

The four represents the four ways of the compass, the direction means the direction you want to go in life, and the punch means to be agressive to achieve your goals.

Four-Direction Block/Saju-Makgi:

The four represents the four ways of the compass, the direction means the direction you want to go in life, and the block means to block out all negative things preventing you from achieving your goals.


Chong-Ji means literally the heaven and the earth, the first part of the tul represents heaven and the second part represents earth. It is named after Lake Chon-Ji. There are 19 movements in the pattern and the diagram is a cross or plus-sign. Patterns starts in a parallel ready stance.


The pattern Dan-Gun is named after the holy Dan-Gun, the legendary founder of Korea in the year 2033 BC. It has 21 movements and the diagram is a capital I. Pattern starts in a parallel ready stance.


Do-San is the psuedonym of the patriot Ahn-Chang-Ho (1876-1938) The 24 movements represent his entire life, which he devoted to furthering the education of Korea, and to its independance movement. The diagram is a right stair step, or a backwards Z. Pattern starts in a parallel ready stance.


Won-Hyo was the noted monk who introduced Buddisimto the Silla Dynasty in the year 686 AD. The pattern has 28 movements and the diagram is a capital I. Patterns starts in Closed Ready Stance A.


Yul-Guk is the pseydonym of the great philosopher and scholar Yi-I (1536-1584) Nicknamed the Confucious of Korea. The 38 movements of this pattern refer to his birthplace on the 38th latitude and the pattern diagram represents the Chinese character for scholar. Patterns starts in a parallel ready stance.


Joong-Gun is named after the patriot Ahn Joong-Gun who assasinated Hirobumi Ito, the first Japanese governer-general of Korea. Ito was known as the man who placed the leading part in the Korea-Japan merger. The 32 movements in this pattern represent Mr. Ahn’s age when he was executed at the Lui Shung prison in the year 1910. The diagram is a capital I. The patterns starts in a Closed Ready Stance B.


Toi-Gye is the pen name of the noted scholar Yi Hwang (16th century) an authority on Neo-Confucinisim. The 37 movements in the pattern represent his birthplace on the 37th Latitute and the diagram represents the Chinese character for scholar. The Patterns starts in a Closed Ready Stance B.


Hwa-Rang is named after the Hwa-Rang Youth Group, which originated in the Silla dynasty in the early 7th Century. This group eventually became the actual driving force of the unification of the three kingdoms of Korea. The 29 movements in this pattern represent the 29th Infantry Division, where Taekwon-Do developed into maturity. The pattern starts in a Closed Ready Stance C.


Choong-Moo is named after the great Admiral Yi Soon-Sin of the Yi Dynasty. He is reputed to have invented the first armored battleship, Kobukson, in the year 1592, which is actually the precursor to the present day submarine. Checked by the forced reservation of his loyalty to the king, Yi Soon Sin was given no chance in his lifetime to show his unrestrained potentiality. The pattern has 30 movements and the diagram is a capital I. The pattern starts in a parallel ready stance.


Kwang-Gae is named after the famous Kwang-Gae-Toh-Wang, the 19th King of of the Koguryo Dynasty, who regained all of the previously lost territories including the greater part of Manchuria. The diagram represents the expansion and recovery of lost territories. The 39 movements refer to the first to figures of 391 AD, the year he came to the throne. It begins in the Heaven Hand position in a parallel stance.


Po-Eun is the pseudonym of the loyal subject and famous poet Chong-Mong-Chu (1400) whose poem “I Would Not Serve A Second Master Though I Might Be Crucified A Hundred Times” is known to every Korean. He was also a pioneer in the field of physics. The pattern represents his unerring loyalty to his king and country towards the end of the Koguryo dynasty, and the pattern has 36 movements. It begins in the Heaven Hand position in a parallel stance.


The pattern Ge-Baek is named after Ge-Baek, a great general in the Baek-Ji Dynasty (660 AD) The diagram represents his strict and severe military displine and the pattern has 44 movements.


Eui Am is the pseudonym of Son Byong Hi, the leader of the Korean independence movement on 1st March 1919. The 45 movements refer to his age when he changed the name of the Dong Hak (Oriental Culture) to Chondo Kyo (Heavenly Way) religion in 1905. The diagram represents the indomitable spirit he displayed whilst devoting his life to the prosperity of his nation. The pattern begins in a position with your hands in fists at your side, looking much like Joombi position.


Choong-Jang is the pseudonym given to General Kim Duk Ryang who lived during the Yi Dynasty (14th Century). This pattern ends with a left-hand attack to symbolise the tragedy of his death at 27 in prison. The pattern has 52 movements and begins in a closed ready stance A.


Juche is the philosopical idea that man is the master of everything and therefore decides and determines his destiny. It is said that the idea was rooted on the Baekdu Mountain, which symbolises the spirit of the Korean people. The diagram represents the Baekdu Mountain, and the pattern has 45 movements. The starting position is hands on hips in fists.


Ko-Dang was replaced by Juche in the ITF, but some organizations still teach this pattern, either with Juche or instead of Juche. More info coming soon.


Sam-Il denotes the historical date of the independence movement of Korea, which began throughout the country on 1st March 1919. The 33 movements in the pattern stand for the 33 patriots who planned the movement.


Yoo-Sin is named after General Kim Yoo Sin, a commanding general during the Silla Dynasty. The 68 movements refer to the last two figures of 668 AD, the year Korea was united. The ready posture signifies a sword being drawn from the right rather than the left, symbolising Yoo Sin’s mistake of following the kings orders to fight with foreign forces against his own nation. The pattern has 68 movements.

Choi Yong:

Choi Yong is named after General Choi Yong, Premier and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces during the 14th century Koryo dynasty. Choi Yong was greatly respected for his loyalty, patriotism and humility. He was executed by his subordinate commanders headed by General Yi Sung Gae, who later became the first king of the Yi dynasty. The pattern has 46 movements.

Yon Gae:

Yon Gae is named after General Yon Gae Somoon, a famous general during the Koguryo dynasty. The 49 movements refer to the last two figures of 649 AD, the year he forced the Tang dynasty to leave Korea after destroying nearly 300,000 of their troops at Ansi Sung.

Ul Ji:

Ul Ji is named after General Ul Ji Moon Dok who successfully defended Korea against a Tang invasion force of nearly 1,000,000 soldiers led by Yang Je in 612 AD. General Ul Ji used hit and run tactics to destroy a large number of the opposing force. The diagram represents his surname. The 42 movements represent General Choi’s age when he designed this pattern.


Moon-Moo honors the 30th King of the Silla Dynasty. His body was buried near Dae Wang Am (Great Kings Rock). According to his will, the body was placed in the sea ‘Where my soul shall forever defend my land against the Japanese’. It is said that the Sol Gul Am is a fine example of the culture of the Silla dynasty. The 61 movements represent the last two figures of 661 AD when Moon-Moo came to the throne.


So-San is the pseudonym of the great monk Choi Hyong Ung (1520 to 1604) during the Yi dynasty. The 72 movements refer to his age when he organized a corps of monk soldiers with the assistance of his pupil Sa Myung Dang. The monk soldiers helped repel the Japanese pirates who over ran most of the Korean peninsular in 1592.


The pattern Se-Jong is named after the greatest Korean king Se-Jong who invented the Korean alphabet in 1443, and was a noted meteorologist. The diagram represents the king, while the 24 movements refer to the 24 letters of the Korean alphabet.


Tong-Il denotes the resolution of the unification of Korea that has been divided since 1945. The diagram symbolises the homogenous race. It has 56 movements. This is the last of the ITF patterns learned.

Patterns Only Offered in the GTF:


Jee-Goo means “Global”. The ready stance is a parallel stance with forearms crossed. This stance symbolizes the crossing out of the years of strife in Taekwon-Do. The first movement represents breaking away from the past and reflects Grandmaster Park’s desire for world peace and harmony. The 30 movements are divided into 24, 4 and 2. The number 24 represents the hours in a day, so that the thought of world peace and harmony will be with us every second. The number 4 represents the four directions of North, South, East and West, for all people of all nations. The number 2 is demonstrated by playing the pattern twice in each direction to reaffirm our commitment to the idea of world peace and harmony.


Jook-Am is a pseudonym for the Grandmaster Park. Jook means bamboo which shoots up straight forward without any curvature, its roots intertwining to form an inseparable force. Am is an immovable boulder from which the bamboo plants its roots to form an unshakable foundation. This pattern represents Grandmaster Park’s life and his constant struggle for perfection. The diagram is a representation of a bamboo shooting up from the boulder. This pattern’s 95 movements (112 including combinations) symbolizes the year 1995 in which Jook-Am was created.

ATA/Songahm Pattern Word Meanings:


Pine Tree and Rock.

In Wha:

An unbroken glory.

Choong Jung:

All things turn out perfect and beautiful.

Shim Jun:

Begin planting seeds for the future.

Jung Yul:

With your noble character, you will develop a new permeance in your life.

Chung San:

Peace of mind and tranquility.

Sok Bong:

You will live confortably and in peace.

Chung Hae:

Mastered all kinds of knowledge and utilizes this to do many things.

Jhang Soo:

Long Life.

WTF Taeguk and Poomsae Meanings:

Il Chang Pattern:

This pattern represents heaven and light. Heaven gives us rain and the sun gives us light and making things grow. Therefore Keon is the beginning of everything on earth and the source of creation. When performing this Taegeuk the mind should be clear and allow all the basic techniques to flow. As with creation this Taegeuk is the simple, yet forms the basis for more complex movements and techniques to come.

I Chang:

This pattern is expressed by the symbol Tae, Meaning joyfulness. This is the state in which ones minds is kept firm, yet appears gentle so that smile and virtue prevail. When performing this Taegeuk all actions should be performed gently yet forcefully.

Sam Chung:

This pattern concerns actions applying the principles of RI. This symbol means fire and sun. What distinguishes man from the animals is that man knows how to use fire. Burning fire gives man light, warmth, enthusiasm and hope. The action therefore of Sam Chang accordingly should be performed with vitality and passion.

Sa Chang:

This pattern concerns actions applying the thoughts and principles of Jin, Thunder. Thunder and lighting are the objects of fear and fright. The principles of Jin suggest that we should act calmly and bravely in the face of danger and fear, and then the blue sky and bright sunlight will appear. When performing Taegeuk Sa Chang show a positive mind and a brave attitude. The movements should be strong powerful opposing Jin.

Oh Chang:

This pattern expresses the principle of wind. There are such winds as typhoons, hurricanes and tornadoes. But the nature of the wind is gentle. Spring breezes caress weeping willows. Wind symbolizes a humble state of mind. Actions should be performed as gentle breezes, slow yet graceful, then strong and fast like hurricanes.

Yuk Chang:

This pattern represents water. Water is liquid and formless. Water never loses it’s nature, it always flows downwards. The principles behind this Taegeuk show us that we can overcome difficulties and hardships if we go forward with self confidence. Actions should be performed with a flowing motion, steadily through the techniques.

Chil Chang:

This pattern symbolizes a mountain. We should stop when we should go on when must. Moving and stopping should match with time in order to achieve things.
A mountain never moves. Man must learn this stability like a mountain. We should not act hastily or push too hard. This principle is well adapted to Taekwondo. Through fast actions seem fine, we should know where and when to stop. The stance Beom Seogi (Cat Stance) is included because it is very stable, yet still allows us free movement.

Pal Chang:

This pattern is a series of actions applying the Gon principle. Gon symbolizes Earth. The earth is the source of life. Things take life from it and grow, draining limitless energy. The earth is where the creative force of heaven is embodied. The earth is wordless, it hugs and grows everything. Taegeuk Pal Chang is the gardens last round of training, and stepping stone to the way of Dan grade holder.
Here you perfect all the fundamental actions and review them. Actions should be performed clearly and expertly. A strong character should be shown in technique and, as is the earth, an unbending force


Koryo is the name of an ancient Korean dynasty (AD918 – 1392). The English word Korea is derived from the name Koryo. Koryo’s legacy to the Korean people is very significant, as they successfully defeated and thus defended Korea from the attacking aggression of the Mongolian Empire, who were sweeping the known world at the time.
In Poomsae, Koryo the spirit of the Koryo dynasty should be emphasized. Consequently every motion of the Poomsae should show a strong conviction like that shown by the Koryo people in their struggle with Mongolians.


The word Kumgang has the meaning of the being too strong to be broken. The Korean people named their most beautiful mountain Keumgang-san, it is also the name of natures hardest substance, diamond, Keumgang Seok.
Therefore, Kumgang in Taekwondo means movements based on spiritual strength that is both beautiful and majestic, as are mountains and diamonds. Strong and beautiful.
The lines of the Poomsae correspond to the Chinese character for mountain. In the movement of Poomsae Kumgang therefore, such sharp and endlessly changeable majestic spirit, as that of mountains should be displayed. This is a rewarding art both physically and spiritually, and is applicable to people regardless of whether they play party poker or have learnt other martial arts- all skills must be learnt, and the rewards are easy to see.


There is an ancient Korean story about the origin of Korea. It says that about 4,300 years ago, legendary founded the nation for the first time in Taebek, the present day Mount Baekdoo.
Mount Baekdoo is the largest and highest mountain in Korea. As may be understood, poomsae Taebek has its basic principles of movement from the word “Taebek” with its meaning of light, and being looked upon as being sacred by the Korean people. Mount Baekdoo is regarded as the symbol of Korea. Therefore, every movement in Taebek should not only be displayed precisely and nimbly, but also with rigor and a determined will.


The definition of Pyongwon is “stretch, vast plain, big, majestic.”


Sipjin stands for decimal. This Poomsae represents the orderliness of the decimal system. It also means the endless development and growth in a systematic order: stability.


Jitae is derived from the meaning of the earth. All things evolve from and return to the earth, the earth is the beginning and the end of life. 37 movements.


Cheonkwon means ‘sky’. The sky should be seen as ruler of the universe. It is both mysterious, infinite and profound. The motions of Cheonkwon are full of piety and vitality. Has 38 movements.

Han Su:

This poomsae is derived from the fluidity of water which easily adapts within nature. It has 33 movements.

Il Yo:

The state of spiritual cultivation in Buddhism is called ‘Ilyo’ which means more or less ‘oneness’. In Ilyo, body and mind, spirit and substance, I and you are unified. The ultimate ideal of Taekwondo can be found in this state. It is a discipline in which we concentrate on every movement leaving all materialistic thoughts, obsessions and external influences behind. Has 28 movements.

Rhee Tae Kwon Do Hyung Meanings:

Although the belts and ways of pattern performance are different, the meanings are the same as in the ITF style Taekwon-Do.


Same as ITF Chon-Ji


Same as ITF Dan-Gun.


Same as ITF Do-San.


Same as ITF Won-Hyo.


Same as ITF Yul-Guk.


Same as ITF Joong-Gun.


Same as ITF Toi-Gye.


Same as ITF Hwa-Rang.


Same as ITF Choong-Moo.


Jhoon-Rhee Taekwondo:

Although the belts and ways of pattern performance are different, the meanings are the same as in the ITF style Taekwon-Do.


Same as ITF Chon-Ji. 


Same as ITF Dan-Gun


Same as ITF Do-San.


Same as ITF Won-Hyo.


Same as ITF Yul-Guk.



ATA/Songham Forms

The Songham Forms/Poom-Sae:

  • Songahm 1
  • Songham 2
  • Songham 3
  • Songham 4
  • Songham 5
  • In Wha 1
  • In Wha 2
  • Choong-Jung 1
  • Choong-Jung 2
  • Shim Jun
  • Jung Yul
  • Chung San
  • Sok Bong
  • Chung Hae
  • Jhang Soo

Black Belt Essays

Some do-jangs have testing black belts write essays for their promotion. For example, the topic might be set already, for example, ‘What Does A Black Belt Mean to You?’ or you might be able to choose your own topic. Depending on the do-jang and TKD style, you may write an essay at any or all or none of your degrees of black belt tests.


When writing an essay, make sure that you don’t rush it, or make it only one paragraph. Try to make your essay as good as you can possibly make it. Seriousness and making the essay come from the heart make it so much better, so make your essay from your personal opinion as well. Always use good grammer and spelling, too.


Taekwon-Do tests are performed when you will try to earn your next belt grade. (See the BELT GRADES page)

For your test, one usually performs the below:

  • Pattern/Form
  • Board Breaking
  • Self-Defence/Step-Sparring/Releases/Ho Sin Sul
  • Required Knowledge test
  • Sparring


  • Written test

Instructors normally only test color belts when they are sure to pass, but yes, it is possible to fail your test. If you do not pass your test, don’t worry: just practice hard and when you test again you will surely pass.

When one tests for any degree of black belt, the instructor will only allow those who are certain to pass to test. Black belt tests are more of a demonstration of your skill than an actual ‘test.’


To test, one needs to have been to a certain number of classes. For example, in ITF-style Taekwon-Do, one needs to have been to at least 18 classes to obtain their yellow stripe. When you are testing for your black belt, rather than months you will have to wait years to earn higher degrees/dans. In ITF-style, you must wait 1 1/2 years being a 1st dan to obtain your 2nd dan, 3 years as a 2nd dan to earn your 3rd dan, 4 years as 3rd dan to earn your 4th dan, and so on.

Age requirements are sometimes required, for example in WTF you cannot get your 1st dan unless you are a certain age, and you will have a poom belt while you are waiting. In ITF-style there are also sometimes age requirements (for example, you cannot get your 2nd dan unless 14 or older, 3rd dan when 17 or older, ect.) but these are sometimes ignored if the testing student has proven themselves ready for their next degree of black belt.


For your test, you will perform all the things you are required to know for your belt grade. For example, as an ITF green belt you are required to have memorized and perform correctly the pattern Won-Hyo. Board breaking and self-defence vary between belts, and of course, vary between do-jangs, but the basic idea for a test is the same: perform what you learned at your current belt to earn your upcoming one.


Try not to be nervous! Sure, you may be scared that you won’t break that wooden board or won’t remember your Step-Sparring, but it will be okay. Your instructor thinks you have it in you to pass, so trust him/her and trust in your own abilities! Besides, if you’re nervous, you will do far worse than you would be if you were calm.


Much of the required knowledge is here on BestTKD, or will be added here shortly. If you can’t find what you need here, go the the WEBSITES page on BestTKD and find a good information website, or look up the knowledge in an internet search. The best place, though, would be to look in The Enyclopedia of Taekwon-Do by General Choi Hong-Hi if you do ITF, GTF, ICTF, UITF, or simmilar. Also, your do-jang very likely offers a booklet about testing information, so ask your instructor or visit your training hall’s website.

Belt Meanings

The belt meanings may vary slightly between styles or do-jangs.

ITF and WTF Belt Meanings:

White : Signifies innocence. No previous knowledge of Taekwon-Do, a beginner student that is innocent like a newborn baby when it comes to Taekwon-Do or a blank page yet to be filled.

Yellow : Represents the earth where the seed of Taekwon-Do is planted as the foundation of Taekwon-Do is beginning.

Green : Represents the green plants that grow from the earth, just as the practioners grows in his or her knowledge and skill in Taekwon-Do.

Blue : Signifies the sky and the heavens, towards which the tree grows as Taekwon-Do training progresses.

Red : Signifies danger, because most red belts have good technique and no control, and therefore are dangerous to others and sometimes to themselves. The red belt should be cautious and try to have self-control.

Black : The opposite of white, therefore signifying a maturity and proficiency in Taekwon-Do. It also indicates the wearer’s imperviousness to darkness and fear.

ATA/Songham Belt Meanings:

White: Pure and without knowledge of Songahm Taekwondo. As with the Pine Tree, the seed must now be planted and nourished to develop strong roots.

Orange: The sun is beginning to rise. As with the morning’s dawn, only the beauty of the sunrise is seen rather than the immense power.

Yellow: The seed is beginning to see the sunlight.

Camo: The sapling is hidden amongst the taller pines and must now fight its way upwards.

Green: The pine tree is beginning to develop and grow in strength.

Purple: Coming to the mountain. The tree is mid-growth and now the path becomes steep.

Blue: The tree reaches for the sky towards new heights.

Brown: The tree is firmly rooted in the earth.

Red: The sun is setting. The first phase of growth has been accomplished.

Red-Black: The dawn of a new day. The sun breaks through the darkness.

1st Degree: The tree reached maturity and has overcome the darkness. It must now begin to ‘plant seeds for the future.’

2nd Degree: With your noble character, you will develop a new permanence in your life.

3rd Degree: Peace of mind & tranquility.

WTF Poomsae

The WTF Poomsae:

  • Il Jang
  • Yi Jang
  • Sam Jang
  • Sa Jang
  • O jang
  • Yuk Jang
  • Chil Jang
  • Pal Jang
  • Koryo
  • Keum Gang
  • Tae Beck
  • Pyong Won
  • Sip Jin
  • Ji Tae
  • Chon Kwon
  • Han Su
  • Il Yo


The ITF Patterns (Tul):

  • Four-Direction Punch/Saju-Jirugi
  • Four-Direction Block/Saju-Makgi
  • Four-Direction Thrust (not always taught)
  • Chon-Ji
  • Dan-Gun
  • Do-San
  • Won-Hyo
  • Yul-Gok
  • Joong-Gun
  • Toi-Gye
  • Hwa-Rang
  • Choong-Moo
  • Kwang-Gae
  • Po-Eun
  • Ge-Baek
  • Eui-Am
  • Choong-Jang
  • Juche
  • Ko-Dang (“lost pattern,” was replaced by Juche and is rarely taught)
  • Sam-Il
  • Yoo-Sin
  • Choi-Yong
  • Yon-Gae
  • Ul-Ji
  • Moon-Moo
  • So-San
  • Se-Jong
  • Tong-Il

Visit the Pattern Info page for pattern meanings


Below are FAQs as designed for new Taekwon-Do students, particularly the ITF-style.
Courtesy of

Q. Is Taekwon-Do the same as Karate?
A. No. Taekwon-Do is ‘the way of the hands and the feet,’ created by General Choi Hong-Hi on April 11th, 1955. He took Shotokan Karate and Taek-Kyun, a Korean martial art, and changed them into Taekwon-Do. Taekwon-Do is the scientific use of the body in the method of self-defense. This martial art has no equal in either power or technique. Most of the devastating maneuvers are based specifically on the initial impact of a blow plus the consequential additional force provided by the rebound of the opponent’s moving part of the body. Although this Korean Art of Self-Defense was created from Karate and Taek-Kyun, it is completely different.
Q. What are the benefits of Taekwon-Do?
A. General Choi Hong-Hi, the father of Taekwon-Do says ‘…Taekwon-Do is an art of self-defense which aims at a noble moral rearmament, high degree of intellectual achievement, graceful techniques, formidable power at beauty of physical form…’ Through the scientific practice of Taekwon-Do a person can significantly improve his or her heath and nourish his intellect. Taekwon-Do will help one get in and stay in good shape. Moral society is characterized by self discipline, sacrifice, and devotion- dedication to the art can promote change toward a moral society. If you are interesting in playing a sport or are playing a sport right now, Taekwon-Do will help you become better at all sports you try. Taekwon-Do develops your hand, eye, foot coordination; reflexes, speed, quickness, tones your muscles to run faster and jump higher. It teaches you courtesy and indomitable spirit.
Q. Will I or my child get hurt?
A. ‘Wrongly applied, Taekwon-Do can be a lethal weapon’ says General Choi Hong-Hi, the founder of Taekwon-Do, ‘therefore mental training must always be stressed to prevent the student from misusing it.’ During the Student Oath, the students say, ‘I shall never misuse Taekwon-Do’ and ‘I shall build a more peaceful world.’ The fourth tenet is ‘self-control.’ Yes, it is possible one could be hurt during Taekwon-Do practice, but never severely. The students spar each other from gold stripe and up, wearing protective equipment so they don’t hurt themselves or others. We never have anyone go all-out during free sparring, so the only way someone could get hurt is by accident. During class, the students stand far enough away from each other so no one unknowingly hits another student when practicing. Taekwon-Do, although a martial art, is not practiced so that students can hurt each other. It is practiced so that the students know how to fight so that they don’t have to.
Q. Is it ever too late to start Taekwon-Do?
A. No! Taekwon-Do is for anyone from 6 to 106, It is suitable for the young and old, male and female. Whether you are taking it to learn self-defense, for the exercise, or for self-discipline, the enjoyment derived will justify the time invest and spent. Taekwon-Do can become a way of life, for one person or for the whole family. Every student can go at his or her own pace, learning at the speed that they learn. Hours spent on training, at home or at the do-jang, will not be wasted.
Q. Can anyone take Taekwon-Do?
A. Anyone can take Taekwon-Do, male or female, young or old, strong or weak. Everyone can benefit from the martial art. Young children ages 6 and up can begin classes, and anyone else, older children, teenagers, adults and the elderly can take the ‘way of the hands and the feet’ too.
Q. Are all Taekwon-Do styles the same?
A. No. There is a large amount of styles of Taekwon-Do. Visit the Organizations page on BestTKD to see what they are.
Q. How long does it take to get to black belt and how many belts are there?
A. There are six belt colors which are white, gold, green, blue, red and black. Between each belt advancement is a stripe level. Total there are 11 levels to achieve a black belt. Then there will be all the degrees of black belt, 1st degree to 9th degree. How long does it take to get to black belt? If you don’t miss too many classes, try your hardest and pass your tests, you will reach black belt in three years. But black belt is only the beginning, and just because you get to black belt doesn’t mean you are a master of the martial art.
Q. What about tests?
A. You will test for your gold stripe after 18 classes as a white belt, and will keep testing from there after you have been your belt or stripe for a certain amount of time and know your patterns and other testing requirements for each belt and stripe well. Everyone goes at their own pace, so if you need longer to learn things it is no big deal. What about failing tests? It is possible to fail a test, but if you do you will be able to test again in a little bit. Most people who test pass, because your instrutor probably doesn’t let people test if they are really not ready. The tests are done at class and the student who is testing (usually with other students) will do his or her pattern, free sparring pattern and releases or Step Sparring, and will break a board, and spar no-contact against another student if the testing student is a gold stripe or higher.
Q. Who is General Choi Hong-Hi?
A. General Choi Hong-Hi is the creator of Taekwon-Do. He founded it on April 11th, 1955, and worked very hard to make it the best it could be. He died in 2002, but before his death wrote great works including the 15-volume Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do, Taekwon-Do: The Condensed Encyclopedia and his memoirs, Taekwon-Do and I volumes 1 and 2.
Q. Is Taekwon-Do going to be too hard?
A. What would be the point of doing anything if it was easy? Taekwon-Do is sometimes hard, but is great training and helps you get better and better at what you’ve learned. White belts have it easier than higher belts, and as you gain more knowledge and skill in Taekwon-Do you learn more difficult things. Red belts, black stripes and black belts have the choice to attend the Red and Black Belt class, which is twice a month. Taekwon-Do is difficult, but awesome. But if an adult cannot do back-bridges because of a sore back, or a child cannot do push-ups because of an injured wrist, no one is forced to something they are not yet capable of doing. Remember, the easy choice isn’t always the best choice, and even if Taekwon-Do is sometimes hard, that is no reason to think you cannot handle it.


Belt Grades

ITF and other General Choi Hong Hi’s style- Taekwon-Do organizations:
Note: ‘Gup‘ is sometimes spelled ‘Kup’ or ‘Geup’ and ‘Stripe‘ is also called ‘Tag’ and ‘Tip.’
ITF and similar practitioners averagely take 3-4 years to get their 1st dan, if practicing 1-3 classes per week for an hour or more.

  • White Belt (10th Gup)
  • Gold/Yellow Stripe (9th Gup)
  • Gold/Yellow Belt (8th Gup)
  • Green Stripe (7th Gup)
  • Green Belt (6th Gup)
  • Blue Stripe (5th Gup)
  • Blue Belt (4th Gup)
  • Red Stripe (3rd Gup)
  • Red Belt (2nd Gup)
  • Black Stripe (1st Gup)
  • 1st Dan Black Belt (becomes Novice Black Belt)
  • 2nd Dan Black Belt
  • 3rd Dan Black Belt
  • 4th Dan Black Belt (becomes Expert Black Belt)
  • 5th Dan Black Belt
  • 6th Dan Black Belt
  • 7th Dan Black Belt (becomes Master)
  • 8th Dan Black Belt
  • 9th Dan Black Belt (becomes Grandmaster)
  • ITF Belt Colors



    ITF belt colors include stripes

    between the full color belts.

    Stripes are just as important as the

    big color belts.






    WTF Belt Grades:
    Note: WTF color belts vary highly depending on the school, therefore a world-wide belt establishment is not avaliable to add here. It is usually simmilar to the ITF belts, sometimes with additional colors such as orange or purple or brown. Below, however, are the WTF black belt grades.
    WTF practitioners averagely take 2 years to get their 1st dan when practicing 1-3 45 minute classes per week.

  • Poom (a black belt for children 15 or 16 or under. Exactly like a black belt, but held only until an official black belt is awarded once the child is old enough.)
  • 1st Dan Black Belt
  • 2nd Dan Black Belt
  • 3rd Dan Black Belt
  • 4th Dan Black Belt
  • 5th Dan Black Belt (becomes a Master)
  • 6th Dan Black Belt
  • 7th Dan Black Belt
  • 8th Dan Black Belt (becomes a Grandmaster)
  • 9th Dan Black Belt
  • 10th Dan Black Belt
  • WTF Belt Colors


     General WTF Belt colors

    are simmilar to the ITF colors.







    ATA (Songham) Belt Grades:
    Note: ATA practitioners averagely take 1 year to get their 1st degree.

  • White Belt (9th Grade)
  • Orange Belt (8th Grade)
  • Yellow Belt (7th Grade)
  • Camo Belt (6th Grade)
  • Green Belt (5th Grade)
  • Purple Belt (4th Grade)
  • Blue Belt (3rd Grade)
  • Brown Belt (2nd Grade)
  • Red Belt (1st Grade)
  • 1st Degree Black Belt
  • 2nd Degree Black Belt
  • 3rd Degree Black Belt
  • 4th Degree Black Belt
  • 5th Degree Black Belt
  • 6th Degree Black Belt
  • 7th Degree Black Belt (becomes a Master)
  • 8th Degree Black Belt
  • 9th Degree Black Belt (becomes a Grandmaster)
  • ATA Belt Colors


     ATA belt colors

    include purple, orange, and camo

    which ITF and WTF do not have.







    Please Comment If You Have More Belt Information!

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