The ITF ranking system consists of six solid color belts; white, yellow, green, blue, red, and black.
Coloured belt ranks are defined as follows (from lowest to highest rank):
White – Signifies innocence, as that of the beginning student who has no previous knowledge of Taekwon-Do.
White with yellow tag
Yellow – Signifies the earth from which a plant sprouts and takes root as the foundation of Taekwon-Do is being laid.
yellow with green tag
Green – Signifies the plant’s growth as Taekwon-Do skills begin to develop.
Green with blue tag
Blue – Signifies the Heaven towards which the plant matures into a towering tree as training in Taekwon-Do progresses.
Blue with red tag
Red – Signifies Danger, cautioning the student to exercise control and warning the opponent to stay away.
Red with black tag
Black – Opposite of white, therefore signifying maturity and proficiency in Taekwon-Do; also indicates the wearer’s imperviousness to darkness and fear.
Assistant Instructor (must remain at this rank at least 2 years)
Assistant Instructor (must remain at this rank at least 3 years)
Instructor (must remain at this rank at least 4 years)
Instructor (must remain at this rank at least 5 years)At this point, a person my become a “SaBum-Nim”
Instructor (must remain at this rank at least 6 years)
Master Instructor (must remain at this rank at least 7 years)
Master Instructor (must remain at this rank at least 8 years)
The reason for nine black belt degrees is that the number nine is not only the highest of the single-digit numbers, but also is the number of three multiplied by three. In the Orient, three is the most esteemed of all numbers. The Chinese character for 3 is three horizontal lines, one above the other. The bottom line represents earth; the middle line represents mortals; the upper line represents heaven. It was believed that a man who could unite the three realms in himself, would aspire or be reborn into a king.