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"With Heart We Stand"

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South African Tang Soo Do Academy

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The Belt System

Our belt system is made up of 8 colours, running from light to dark.  The system is used to measure our progress from absolute beginner, to mastery.  The system is divided into 2 major divisions, called Gups (coloured belts) and Dans (black belts).  Gups are divided into 12 divisions, starting at 10th Gup,  and going to 1st Gup. Afterwards, the student obtains a special belt called "Cho Dan Bo", making him or her a "Black Belt Candidate".

After the Gup stage of one's training, there is the Dan stage.  The Dans, or Black Belts, are divided into 9 divisions, starting from 1st Dan and ending at 9th.

The colours are White, Orange, Green, Brown, Red, Midnight Blue, and finally, Black. In the table below it is likened the growth of a plant throughout the seasons.


Studio Option
Rank
Belt Philosophy
(from the WTSDA Gup Manual)
White 10th Gup
(Basic Beginner)
Plain white
White Belt
Beginner's belt colour. White represents a primitive stage of achievement; thus, the seed as it lies dormant beneath the shows of winter.
White with Black Stripe Intermediate Beginner
White with Black Stripe
Yellow Advanced Beginner
Plain Yellow
yellow-stripe
9th Gup
Yellow with Black Stripe
Orange 8th Gup
Plain orange
Orange belt
Orange represents new growth which appears in spring. Our Tang Soo Do knowledge begins to reveal itself.
Orange with White Stripe 7th Gup
Orange with a white stripe
Green 6th Gup
Plain green
Green belt
Green represents the speedy development of youth as the summer arrives.
Green with White Stripe 5th Gup
Green with a white stripe
Brown 4th Gup
Plain brown
Brown Belt
Brown represents power, stability, agility, weight and wisdom.  This stabilizing stage, both mentally and physically, is analogous to the plants which curtail their growth and prepare to flower in late summer.
Brown with White Stripe 3rd Gup
Brown with a white stripe
Red 2nd Gup
Plain Red
Red Belt
Red represents blood, life, energy, attention and control. The student's power and techniques begin to bloom and ripen.
Red with White Stripe 1st Gup
Red with a white stripe
Midnight Blue Cho Dan Bo
Midnight blue
Midnight Blue Belt
Dark Blue belt represents maturity, respect and honour.  Our dark blue belt is given to the Cho Dan Bo (Black Belt candidate). He/she must now prepare mind and body for the final step needed to attain Black Belt.
Black with White Stripe 1st Dan
Black with a stripe
Black Belt
Black represents mastery, calmness, dignity, and sincerity.  Black Belt is the final stage of one life cycle and the beginning of the next.  Thus we see that it is not only the end of one stage but, more importantly, the beginning of a path which leads up through the ranks of the higher Black Belts to true mastery.
2nd Dan
2nd Dan
Black with 2 stripes
3rd Dan
3rd Dan
Black with 3 stripes
4th Dan
4th Dan
Black with 4 stripes
4th Dan Master
4th Dan Master
Black with Red Line
Master's Belt
This Belt represents a great degree of mastery of the Art. This is the ULTIMATE GOAL in of the practitioner of Tang Soo Do.


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