Belt System




Min. Training Months/Classes

10th Gup White Beginner First Day
9th Gup White/One Red Stripe Beginner 2-3 Months & 16 Classes (After 10th Gup)
8th Gup Purple/One White Stripe Novice 3-4 Months & 24 Classes (After 9th Gup)
7th Gup Purple/Two White Stripes Novice 3-4 Months & 24 Classes (After 8th Gup)
6th Gup Green/One White Stripe Intermediate 3-4 Months & 24 Classes (After 7th Gup)
5th Gup Green/Two White Stripes Intermediate 3-4 Months & 24 Classes (After 6th Gup)
4th Gup Green/Three White Stripes Intermediate 3-4 Months & 24 Classes (After 5th Gup)
3rd Gup Red/One White Stripe Advanced 3-4 Months & 24 Classes (After 4th Gup)
2nd Gup Red/Two White Stripes Advanced 3-4 Months & 24 Classes (After 3rd Gup)
1st Gup Red/Three White Stripes Advanced 3-4 Months & 24 Classes (After 2nd Gup)
1st Dan Navy Blue/One Gold or White Stripe Bo Kyo Sa Nim Minimum of 6 Months & 48 Classes (After 1st Gup) and Recommended by Chief or Master Instructor

Rank is nothing more than the opinion of your instructor as to where you are in your martial arts training in accordance with the standards set by the school. There is no entitlement to a black belt.  Although a common misperception, obtaining a black belt is not a goal or something that is obtained, but a marker of the progress in one’s training according to the standards of the school. In general, it takes between 3 and 5 years of training to reach black belt proficiency at United States Tang Soo Do. However, there are many variables, including frequency of training, level of skill, and a proper mindset and understanding of the concepts and philosophy of Tang Soo Do, which may shorten or lengthen the time in which it takes to black belt proficiency.

Philosophy of the Belt System

Our Tang Soo Do belt system, in its progression from white to midnight blue, represents the cycle of the seasons and the educational steps of learning. Each color stands for a specific stage of achievements. In this way we realize an essential concept of Korean philosophy, i.e., that which is born must grow and learn and reach maturity. In the World system, the white belt is the first year of school and the black belt is a graduate.

Each belt level represents the following:

White: White represents a primitive stage, ready to learn and grow. It is the dormant (and potential) state of a new student.  Like Winter.

Purple: Purple represents new growth, like the spring of the seasons. The student has new knowledge to grow and a sense of Tang Soo Do direction is developed.

Green: Green represents the speedy development of youth as summer arrives, a sense of pride has come over the student.

Red: Red represents power, stability, agility, weight and wisdom. This is like the high school years. The student begins to flower and bloom.

Dark Blue or Black: Dark Blue represents maturity, respect and honor. It is the completion of a (Black Belt) goal or one stage of life. It is a new pathway to higher ranks of Black Belt. It is like graduating from high school and going to college to become a Master. The mind is clear and calm. The body is a machine that can move and react in a split second.