LEVELs of advancement

all students below the level of a black belt is considered a "gup".  new students begin as a 10TH GUP (WHITE BELT).  the gup system counts downward from 10th gup to 1st gup.  students have the opportunity to advance to the next level at each test.  after reaching THE RANK OF 1ST GUP (RED BELT WITH 2 WHITE STRIPES), a studentS will pre-test for THEIR 1st degree black belt.  if they pass the pretest, they will be given a midnight blue stripe and be considered a cho dan bo (candidate for black belt) and eligible to test at the next black belt test, which typically takes place in april and october.

another term used for a person who holds a black belt is a dan member.  in tang soo do moo duk kwan, we use a midnight blue belt and uniform trim for our dan members.  in most asian cultures, black symbolizes death, the end, or finality to things.  we believe that we are always learning and growing so we use midnight blue, which symbolizes the ocean and the nighttime sky and their vastness

 

HISTORY & meaning of the colors

traditionally in tang soo do moo duk kwan, there were only 4 different belt colors:

  • white - SYMBOLIZING WINTER

  • GREEN - SYMBOLiZING SPRING

  • RED - SYMBOLIZING SUMMER, 

  • MIDNIGHTBLUE - SYMBOLIZING AUTUMN

WHITE IS THE BEGINNING OF THE CYCLE, REPRESENTING THE SEED AS IT LIES DORMANT BENEATH THE WINTER SNOW.

YELLOW AND ORANGE WERE ADDED A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO TO HELP STUDENTS STAY MOTIVATED IN THE BEGINNING OF THEIR TRAINING BY HAVING A SYMBOL OF GROWTH AND CHANGE.  YELLOW AND ORANGE SYMBOLIZES THE SUN.  THE SUN MELTS THE SNOW OF WINTER, REVEALING THE GREEN TREES AND PLANTS OF SPRING AND SPROUTING THE SEED.   LIKE KNOWLEDGE & LEARNING OPENING UP THE MIND OF THE STUDENT.

a GREEN BELT starts to BLOSSOM AND grow, DEVELOPING THEIR KICKS, PUNCHES AND BLOCKS and strenGthening their techniques.  SPRING THEN LEADS TO SUMMER, WHERE EVERYTHING IS RED HOT AND ON FIRE.  

A RED BELT'S KICKS, PUNCHES, AND BLOCKS BECOME FASTER & SHARPER, LIKE THE PLANTS WHICH EXPLODE IN THE HEAT OF SUMMER, REACHING TOWARDS THE SUN.  THE LONG HOT SUMMER EVENTUALLY LEADS TOWARDS AUTUMN, OR DAN LEVEL (MIDNIGHT BLUE).  

THERE IS A CALMNESS AND AN INTROSPECTION THAT COMES WITH AUTUMN, AS EVERYTHING QUIETS DOWN, THE HAZE OF SUMMER CLEARS, AND THE TREE SHED ITS LEAVES TO REABSORB NUTRIENTS AND ENERGY, MUCH LIKE THAT OF A DAN MEMBER.  THE DAN MEMBER REFLECTS ON HIS JOURNEY AND HOW FAR HE HAS COME.  SOME WOULD ARGUE THAT FALL IS THE PRETTIEST TIME OF YEAR.