Here is an extract from our welcome document:
What do the belts mean?
Taekwon-Do proficiency is signified by the student’s belt. There are ten grades of coloured belt (“gup”), and nine degrees (“dan”) of black belt.
A beginning student wears a white belt (10th gup). After passing a formal grading, the student will attain 9th gup – a white belt with a yellow stripe on each end of the belt. Over time, the student can progress through to 1st gup (red belt with black stripe).
From 1st gup, the student will aspire to 1st dan black belt, then 2nd dan, and so forth. Black belt degrees are shown with Roman numerals on the belt.
It’s a little different for kids
Taekwon-Do levels were designed for adult students. It takes young children a long time to attain the skills required for 9th gup and 8th gup. So we have a children’s syllabus.
The main purpose of this syllabus is to give children a sense of progress and achievement. Gradings are less formal – a chance for us to check a student’s progress towards 9th gup, and then towards 8th gup.
Children’s grades between 10th gup and 9th gup are shown with a coloured stripe at one end of the white belt. Grades between 9th gup and 8th gup are shown with additional yellow stripes on the belt.
A child who is not quite ready for the next level might receive a second stripe of the same colour.
What are gradings?
A grading is the test a student must pass to attain the next belt level. Students are examined on all areas of Taekwon-Do practised in class. To be permitted to grade, a student must:
- attain the required level of skill for the next level
- attend at least the minimum number of classes
- display good attitude and behaviour
- submit a completed report sheet (children only)
- pay the grading fee.
Gradings are conducted by a nationally qualified examiner (usually Mr Banicevich). Coloured belt gradings are in the final week of each school term.
How do I know whether I’m grading?
Two weeks before grading (week 8 of each term), class instructors “pregrade” students. Students who pass the pregrading and will meet all other requirements will be invoiced for grading. We also give students verbal feedback, although children often get confused about whether they are grading.
If you receive an invoice after pregrading, you are eligible to grade. If the invoice is for $20, the grading is for a children’s syllabus rank. If it is for a greater fee ($60-$90), the grading is for a formal grade. (Coloured belt grading fees are the main source of revenue for the NZ association.)
All children must submit a completed report sheet at the end of every term. With this sheet, we want to ensure that we are supporting parents and teachers. A student with a “poor” result from his/her parent or teacher will not be permitted to grade.
Note: permission to grade does not guarantee that a student will pass the grading.