Belt Colors and Meanings

Belt Meanings and Colors
Our school (and all other ATA facilities) use a rank system to develop the skills, discipline, and self-control which are necessary for proper Taekwondo techniques. The number nine is the highest single digit; in some oriental cultures, nine represents the highest attainable goal of any measurable endeavor. ATA has nine ranks of color belts and nine degrees of Black Belts. The colored and 1st degree black belt ranks are divided into two levels: recommended or decided.
9th grade White Belt “Pure and without the knowledge of Songahm Taekwondo. As with the Pine Tree, the seed must now be planted and nourished to develop strong roots.” The student has no knowledge of Songahm Taekwondo and begins with a clean (pure) slate.

8th grade Orange Belt “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.” The beginner student sees the beauty of the art of Taekwondo but has not yet experienced the power in the technique.

7th grade Yellow Belt “The seed is beginning to see the sunlight.” The student begins to understand the basics of Taekwondo.

6th grade Camo Belt “The sapling is hidden amongst the taller pines and must now fight its way upwards.” The student begins to realize his/her place in the world’s largest martial art. The student must now begin to spar in order to promote in rank.

5th grade Green Belt “The pine tree is beginning to develop and grow in strength.” The student’s technique is developing power. The components of the basic techniques are beginning to work in unison.

4th grade Purple Belt “Coming to the mountain. The tree is in mid-growth and now the path becomes steep.” The student has crossed over into a higher level of Songahm Taekwondo. The techniques, forms, and level of sparring becomes more difficult creating a “mountain” that must be overcome.

3rd grade Blue Belt “The tree reaches for the sky towards new heights.” Having passed the midway point, the student focuses his/her energy upwards toward black belt.

2nd grade Brown Belt “The tree is firmly rooted in the earth.” At this point the student has mastered the basics and developed deep roots in Taekwondo.

1st grade Red Belt “The sun is setting. The first phase of growth has been accomplished.” The first day (the period of time from White to Red belt) of growth is coming to an end. The physical skill has been developed but lacks control; therefore, physical and mental discipline must now be achieved.

1st degree recommended Black Belt “The dawn of a new day. The sun breaks through the darkness.” The previous day has ended giving way to a new dawn. The student must begin a new phase of training; that of being a black belt.

1st degree decided Black Belt “The tree has reached maturity and has overcome the darkness. It must now begin to ‘plant seeds for the future’.” The color black is created when all the colors of the light spectrum have been absorbed into an object. That object has “taken control” of the colors and retained them. If one color was to “escape”, the object would no longer be black. The student has mastered the nine grades of Taekwondo. He/she has “absorbed” all the knowledge of the color ranks and overcome or “mastered” that level of training.

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