Thursday, August 18, 2005

Meet the Belts

The Belt Ranking System
(Extract from a Rhee Taekwondo Grading booklet)

The six orders of coloured belts in Tae Kwon-Do have not been arbitrarily chosen for convenience sake, as many people believe. They are in fact steeped in tradition.

The colours of black, brown (red) and blue denoted the various levels of hierachy during the Silla Dynasty. The belts in themselves are indicative of a student's level of training because of the meanings behind the colours.

Signifies the innocence of a beginning student who has no previous knowledge of Tae Kwon-Do. The white uniform symbolizes purity.

Signifies the earth from which a plant sprouts and takes root as the Tae Kwon-Do foundation is being laid. Also the sun which instigates the birth of the seed.

Signifies the new plant's growth, gaining strength as the Tae Kwon-Do skills begin to develop.

Signifies the heaven towards which the plant matures into a towering tree as training in Tae Kwon-Do progresses. The vastness of the sky indicating the beginning of a true understanding of technique.

Signifies the tree taking solid root in the earth as technique becomes increasingly proficient (RED indicates danger, cautioning the student to exercise control and warning the opponent to stay away.)

The opposite of white, therefore signifying the maturity and proficiency in Tae Kwon-Do. Black also indicates the endless universe and a realisation of the limitless techniques available. Also indicates the wearer's imperviousness to darkness and fear.

In deference to tradition, the black piping around the edge of the jacket worn by black belt holders is symbolic of the pure white shirt with black piping worn by the royal family and aristocrats during the Silla Dynasty, in Old Korea.

A student should not become preoccupied with achieving rank, realising that training and the stanard of technique are more important goals to strive for. Certainly, a would-be attcker will not be concerned with what colour belt his intended victim possesses.