Martial Arts Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students and teachers of all martial arts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What are the belt colors of Tae Kwon Do in order? Also could you add the degrees, I have had a hard time finding a reliable site?

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Smartass Answer


TKD Belts

Serious Answer

Depends on the school/association. Some have over 10 colored belts before you even get to first degree black. Some have much fewer. An example:

  • White
  • Yellow 1st and 2nd Degree
  • Green 1st and 2nd Degree
  • Blue 1st and 2nd Degree
  • Brown
  • Black 1st Degree through 9th or 10th

The fewer belts the school has, the more time you can expect to spend on each one. For example, if one school has 10 colored belts, you will probably move through two belts in the same time that it would take you to move through one belt in a school that only has 6 or 7 colored belts.

You could conceivably narrow down the answer to your question if you would specify which association you're talking about. ITF, ATA, WTF, will each have their own list of belts. Then again, if you knew that, you could just look it up on each respective organization's official website...

Additionally, some individual instructors, whether they are affiliated with an association or not, may have their own belt list. So there's really no way of answering your question definitively. Best thing to do is to find a school you're thinking of joining and ask them what their belts are.

The most important thing I can tell you is this: if you see a camouflage belt anywhere in the school, you are in a McDojang. WALK AWAY!

share|improve this answer
"if you see a camouflage belt" - I'm confused... which one was the smart arse answer? ;-] – Tony D Jun 14 '14 at 7:37
@TonyD The American Taekwando Association has a camouflage belt in their lineup. They get some ridicule for it. – Sean Duggan Jun 14 '14 at 13:34
Part of the testing requirements for camo belt is doing ten round kicks without spilling your beer. – The Wudang Kid Jun 17 '14 at 14:07
@TheWudangKid: :) Funny. While I see the camo belt as a silly marketing thing, I have to say that I really don't see it as any different than most of the belts. My understanding is that belt colors are essentially arbitrary choices that people have created backstories for rather than having any meaning from the start. – Sean Duggan Jun 17 '14 at 14:35
@SeanDuggan - Some of it is marketing, but if you look at the meaning for each belt, it fits in. ATA compares the colored belt levels to the growth of a pine tree (Songahm, the ATA style, means pine tree and rock). Camouflage is the first level where light contact sparring (as opposed to one steps) is introduced, and the accompanying belt meaning is "The sapling is hidden among the taller pines and must new fight its way upward". Agreed, most belt colors are arbitrary anyway. The old adage about a black belt being a really dirty white belt doesn't account for orange, blue, purple, etc. :p – JohnP Dec 8 '14 at 20:50

In ITF Taekwon-do, the coloured belts are numbered from 10th kup (also gup) to 1st kup. Black belt grades are numbered from 1st degree (also dan) to 9th degree.

In the organisation I'm a member of (P.U.M.A, in the UK), the colours used are:

  • 10th: White
  • 9th: Yellow stripe
  • 8th: Yellow
  • 7th: Green stripe
  • 6th: Green
  • 5th: Blue stripe
  • 4th: Blue
  • 3rd: Red stripe
  • 2nd: Red
  • 1st: Black stripe

The stripes are also called tags in some schools or organisations; historically, our stripes were insulating tape wrapped round the end of the belt! Now, though, striped belts have the lower colour as the background with the higher colour forming a band along the length of the belt (that is, a 9th kup belt round the waist of a student would have 3 parallel lines of white - yellow - white from top to bottom).

Our degree/dan grades use roman numerals to identify a black belt's grade (I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VII, IX). Grades above 4th degree have vertical black stripes on the arms and legs of their dobok and masters (above 7th degree) have badges on their shoulders.

This page on Wikipedia has a good explanation of the ranks I'm used to!

share|improve this answer

I can't comment as I don't have 50 reputation yet, but unfortunately coltonon is incorrect. He says "eight official color belt ranks registered by the kukkiwon and the wtf" and that those ranks are certified and recognised worldwide.

The Kukkiwon doesn't care about colour belt ranks and doesn't certify them. There is no system in place to get the certificates from them or register promotions with them for coloured belts. There is no Kukkiwon defined syllabus in place for coloured belt tests, nor any rules/regulations relating to them (except for the requirement that they are given by a Kukkiwon 4th dan or above)

The WTF doesn't care about ANY ranks, it is purely a sport organisation. For all matters relating to rank it delegates these to the Kukkiwon.

So any kup ranks may or may not be accepted in 164 countries, but it's at the instructor's discretion and not Kukkiwon or WTF certified/registered.

Source: Taekwondo 5th Dan Kukkiwon, my school is a Kukkiwon Member, I'm a regular member of the 2012 and 2013 World Taekwondo Leaders Forum and I'm a Kukkiwon-certified Master Instructor with Citation. All certificates are on my website.

share|improve this answer
I don't believe you have to be a 4th degree to conduct a colored belt test. You do (or have to bring in people) for dan testings, but I believe for colored belts you can be under 4th dan and still conduct the testing. – JohnP Dec 8 '14 at 20:55
It is specifically stated in the Kukkiwon promotion regulations. Article 20 – Andy Jeffries Dec 9 '14 at 22:02
Ah, cheers! I missed that when I was reading through yesterday. – JohnP Dec 9 '14 at 22:30
That's not to say there aren't a lot of organisations out there that let below 4th Dans perform coloured belt testing, it's just not Kukkiwon rules compliant to do so. As my answer was specifically about Kukkiwon practices and Kup certificates "registered by the kukkiwon" I'm strictly limiting my answer to that. – Andy Jeffries Dec 10 '14 at 8:39
Got it. And yes, a lot of federations allow Dan ranks to promote to a dan rank two below them. (3rd to 1st, 4th to 2nd, etc.), with high ranks (4+) needing a testing panel. – JohnP Dec 10 '14 at 14:48

Simple answer: the gup.

So what the h&$@ is a gup? It's a taekwondo rank. There's gups and dans. My school has 8 gups. That is, eight official color belt ranks registered by the kukiwon and the wtf ( world taekwondo federation). We have other ranks, but only 8 are certified and recognized by 164 countries worldwide.

Gups go in opposite order. For example, an eighth gup is a hin tdi, or white belt. A 7th gup is a norang tdi, or yellow belt. This goes up to red belt, aka bbalgong tdi, or first gup. Once you hit black belt, it goes up. For example, a 1st Dan is the lowest rank of black belt, where 10th Dan is the highest. A fourth degree black belt aka fourth Dan is called a master. A sixth degree is a grandmaster, and an ninth degree is a great-grandmaster. Hope this helps.

Source- myself, a taekwondo 1st dan, trained for four years.

share|improve this answer
You left out poom ranks, as well as that not all TKD associations recognize 4th dan as Master, some are higher. – JohnP Dec 8 '14 at 20:57
Yes, but a poom is not a color belt. Not all schools have pooms. I also stated my school – coltonon Dec 8 '14 at 20:59
You talk about Dan rankings, they are not color belts. And you seem to treat the Kukkiwon as the sole arbiter of belts in TKD, which is far from the case. – JohnP Dec 8 '14 at 21:01
I discussed gups. The kukkiwon is the most popular, and most recognized. I am not that familiar with other organizations, thus i opted to not mention any. – coltonon Dec 8 '14 at 21:04

Here are the colors that I went through when I was training with Lee's TKD Federation, who follows WTF rules and regulations:

White, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Purple with white stripe along the top and bottom, Brown, Red, Black (unless the person was under 16, which is then poom, black belt with red along the top and bottom). From there it's gold stripes on the ends for each additional Dan rank, capping off at a 10th Dan. Grand Master Lee was going for his 8th Dan when I had to leave due to personal circumstances

share|improve this answer

My school uses:

  1. White
  2. Yellow
  3. Orange
  4. Green
  5. Blue
  6. Purple
  7. Brown
  8. Red
  9. Black
  10. Black 1st degree-9th degree.
share|improve this answer
Could you add what style your school teaches and/or what organistion it belongs to (national or international)? – Mike P Nov 9 '15 at 11:21
I'm not sure what style it belongs to, it might just be private. We don't go to or have any competitions. – OldBunny2800 Nov 9 '15 at 12:38
I'm intrigued. What style do you practise? – paperclip Nov 10 '15 at 3:27
I'm not sure what style it belongs to My post two posts above this – OldBunny2800 Nov 10 '15 at 4:16

The Belt order at my school is: White, Yellow, Yellow-green, Green, Green-blue, Blue, Blue-red, Red, Red-black, and Black

share|improve this answer
Would be helpful if you could add whether your school is ITF or WTF. – Mike P Apr 18 at 14:02

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.