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Taekwondo Belts Explained

Taekwondo Belts. Diagram Showing both WT belts and ITF belts

There are two main governing bodies for Taekwondo: The International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) and the World Taekwondo (WT, formerly known as the WTF). Each organization has its own ranking system however they share a lot of similarity within their Taekwondo belts.

Both systems use colored belts to represent geup (degree) ranks, the specific colors vary between organizations and from dojang to dojang. The ITF commonly uses white, yellow, green, blue, red, and black belts, whereas the WTF system often includes additional colors like orange and purple. We have covered the ATA Taekwondo Belt System separately.

International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) Belts

Taekwondo ITF Belts diagram. Showing all belts from white to black


ITF Taekwondo ranking system ranges from 10th Geup (white belt) to 1st dan (black belt). The Highest Dan achievable being the 10th Dan. The table below shows the ITF taekwondo belt ranks.

Geup(Degree) Belt Color Time to Advance
10th Geup White Belt 2-3 Months
9th Geup White Belt + Yellow stripe 2-3 Months
8th Geup Yellow Belt 2-3 Months
7th Geup Yellow Belt + Green stripe 2-3 Months
6th Geup Green Belt 2-3 Months
5th Geup Green Belt + Blue stripe 2-3 Months
4th Geup Blue Belt 6 Months
3rd Geup Blue Belt + Red stripe 6 Months
2nd Geup Red Belt 6 Months
1st Geup Red Belt + Black Stripe 6 – 12 Months
1st Dan Black Belt 1 – 2 Years

World Taekwondo (WTF) Belts
Taekwondo WT Belts diagram. All belts from white to black in takewondo. Showing time taken to get each belt


WTF Taekwondo belt levels vary slightly as they omit striped belts and replace them with colors not found in the ITF system. The table below shows the WTF taekwondo belt ranks.

Geup(Degree) Belt Color Time to Advance
11th Geup White Belt 2-3 Months
10th Geup Yellow Belt 2-3 Months
9th Geup Orange Belt 2-3 Months
8th Geup Green Belt 2-3 Months
7th Geup Purple Belt 2-3 Months
6th Geup Blue Belt 2-3 Months
5th Geup Blue SR. 6 Months
4th Geup Brown Belt 6 Months
3rd Geup Brown SR. 6 Months
2nd Geup Red Belt 6 Months
1st Geup Jr. Black 6-12 Months
1st Dan Black Belt 1-2 Years


What belt can you start competing in Taekwondo?

The specific Taekwondo belt level at which you can start competing may vary depending on the rules and regulations of the governing organization or the tournament you wish to participate in. However, in most cases, practitioners are required to reach at least a Taekwondo Yellow Belt (8th Geup) before they are eligible to compete.

How Long Does it Take to Get Each Belt in Taekwondo?

Beginner Taekwondo belts regardless of the organisation awarding them usually take between 2-3 months to advance. Advancing between White, Yellow, and Green Belts takes on average 6 months (ITF), as each distinct color is separated by a stripped halfway belt. For Blue and Red belts the time required is doubled to a year and the final jump to a black belt takes between 1-2 years.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Black Belt in Taekwondo?

The minimum time spent training consistently to advance to a Black belt in Taekwondo is around 4 years. This assumes a practitioner trains 2+ times a week and consistently passes their gradings.

For a complete overview of what it takes to achieve a Taekwondo Black Belt check out our article.


Taekwondo belt system example

How many belts in Taekwondo?

Following the ITF system there are 10 belts before a Black belt.  The taekwondo belt order is as follows:

  • White Belt
  • White Belt with Yellow Stripe
  • Yellow Belt
  • Yellow Belt with Green Stripe
  • Green Belt
  • Green Belt with Blue Stripe
  • Blue Belt
  • Blue Belt with Red Stripe
  • Red Belt
  • Red Belt with Black Stripe


Whereas the WTF implements 11 belts before a Black belt. The taekwondo belt order is as follows:

  • White Belt
  • Yellow Belt
  • Orange Belt
  • Green Belt
  • Purple Belt
  • Blue Belt
  • Blue Senior Belt
  • Brown Belt
  • Brown Senior Belt
  • Red Belt
  • Junior Black Belt

Highest Belt in Taekwondo

Taekwondo Black Belt dan Progression diagram. Shows how Dans (degrees) of takewondo black belts progress
Black Belt progression 1st to 5th Dan


The highest belt rank in Taekwondo is the black belt (also known as 1st dan). After achieving the black belt, progression continues with higher degrees or dans. The dan system represents a person’s level of mastery and expertise in Taekwondo. The number of dan ranks can vary depending on the Taekwondo organization or school, but it commonly goes up to 9th dan. With the 10th dan black belt being awarded to just a few people.

Taekwondo 10th dan Black Belt diagram. Illustrates the highest Taekwondo belt
10th dan Black Belt



Taekwondo Black Belt (Dans Progression)

Dan (Phase)  Time to Advance
1st Dan (Il Dan) 1-2 Years
2nd Dan (Ee Dan) 2 Years
3rd Dan (Sam Dan) 4 Years
4th Dan (Sa Dan) 4 Years
5th Dan (Oh Dan) 6 Years
6th Dan (Yook Dan) 6 Years
7th Dan (Chil Dan) 8 Years
8th Dan (Pal Dan) 8+ Years
9th Dan (Koo Dan) 8+ Years

Taekwondo belts meaning

The belt meaning in Taekwondo holds significance and represents a practitioner’s level of skill and knowledge. Each belt color signifies a stage of progression and growth in the martial art. As students advance through the ranks, they acquire new techniques, develop discipline, and deepen their understanding of Taekwondo’s principles. Belts serve as a visual representation of a practitioner’s dedication, perseverance, and commitment to their training.


White Belt – Taekwondo

White Belt Taekwondo example

Beginner Level – requires a few lessons to attain

A White belt  represents a beginner or novice level of training and is the starting rank in all Taekwondo schools. It is the first step on a life long journey. Seen as a symbol of purity and a clean slate for the practitioner.

Yellow Belt – Taekwondo

Yellow Belt Taekwondo example

Beginner Level

A Yellow belt in Taekwondo signifies progress and growth as it is the first rank advancement beyond the white belt level. The yellow color of the belt is a metaphor for a planted seed, representing the developing taekwondo foundation for a student.

Orange Belt – Taekwondo

Orange Belt Taekwondo example

Beginner Level

Orange is the rising sun which calls for the further growth of a student and of the planted seed representing their Taekwondo foundation.

Green Belt – Taekwondo

Green Belt Taekwondo example

Intermediate Level – Requires 9-12+ months of training

A green belt represents an intermediate level of training. Portrays the growth of practitioners.

Purple Belt – Taekwondo

Purple Belt Taekwondo example

Intermediate Level

A purple belt in Taekwondo is a sign of a student approaching a fully developed Taekwondo foundation.

Blue Belt – Taekwondo

Blue Belt Taekwondo example

Intermediate Level

A blue belt in Taekwondo represents the sky which symbolizes the progress a student has made but also the journey still ahead of them.

Brown Belt – Taekwondo

Brown Belt Taekwondo example

Advanced Level – Requires 18-24+ months of training

Is a step into advanced levels of mastery in Taekwondo. Although not close to perfect or complete a students knowledge of taekwondo is vast.

Red Belt – Taekwondo

Red Belt Taekwondo example

Advanced Level

A red belt in Taekwondo can be interpreted as an image of blood, warning others and the student of their proficiency in the martial art, it should serve as a reminder to exercise self control. Alternatively, the red belt is also viewed as a sunset which marks the ending of a students introduction to Taekwondo and the beginning of their mastery journey.

Black Belt – Taekwondo

Black Belt Taekwondo example

Perceived as the epitome of Taekwondo by many but seen as another blank slate by others. From here on out students turn into leaders and further their skills to advance to higher black belt dans which take years to advance between each one.

Learn about other Martial Arts Belt systems in our articles on the:



Is there a 10th degree black belt in Taekwondo?

Yes, there is a 10th degree black belt in Taekwondo. However, it’s important to note that the 10th degree black belt is an honorary rank and is typically reserved for the highest-ranking masters and founders of specific Taekwondo organizations or styles.

The 10th degree black belt is often seen as a symbolic rank that recognizes the immense contribution, knowledge, skill, and lifetime dedication of an individual to the art. It is a mark of exceptional mastery and leadership in the field.

It is noteworthy that individuals do not earn the 10th degree black belt through a standard progression, but instead, relevant organizations and governing bodies bestow this rank upon them.


What do the stripes on taekwondo belts mean?

Belt stripes recognize and signify progression within belt ranks. For instance, a student with a Green belt and blue stripe demonstrates advancement beyond Green and nears a full blue belt.


What are white belt stripes Taekwondo?

A Black belt with a white stripe is usually given to represent a Junior Black Belt rank (1st Geup) which is one grading away from a Black Belt (1st dan)

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