Student Zone

The System of Rank (Dan Gup Jedo)

The grade system of Taekwon-Do consists of nineteen ranks: ten grades (kups) and nine degrees (dans).

The nine degree grades are significant. The number nine is the highest of the single digit figures and is also the square of three, the most esteemed of all numbers. The Chinese characters for 'three' and 'king' are almost identical and are closely linked.

The number nine has one other unique feature: when multiplied by any other single digit number, the figure produced can be added together to equal nine. Therefore, this points to nine being the most positive of the single digits.

It is noticeable too, that the degree grades are divided into three groups; novice, expert and elite.

The Taekwon-Do Syllabus

WHITE (hayan ti)

White Belt (10th Kup)

Signifies innocence. No previous knowledge of Taekwon-Do, as that of the beginner student.

White Belt Terminology

White Belt Colour Meaning: Signifies innocence.

No previous knowledge of Taekwon-Do; as that of the beginner student.


Four Direction Punch Exercise (saju jirugi)

Four Direction Punch Exercise consists of the following techniques:

    • Stances (Sogi)

    • Attention (charyot)

    • Parallel (narani)

    • Walking (gunnun)

Defensive Techniques: Outer Forearm Low Block (bakat palmok najunde makgi)

Offensive Techniques: Forefist Middle Front Punch (ap joomuk kaunde ap jirugi)


Four Direction Block Exercise (saju makgi)

Four Direction Block Exercise consists of the following techniques:

    • Stances (Sogi)

    • Parallel (narani)

    • Walking (gunnun)

Defensive Techniques

    • Knifehand Low Block (sonkal najunde makgi)

    • Inner Forearm Middle Block (an palmok kaunde makgi)


YELLOW (hayan ti)

Yellow Tag (9th Kup) Yellow Belt (8th Kup)

Represents the earth where the seed of Taekwon-Do is planted as the foundation of Taekwon-Do is being laid.

Yellow Tag Terminology

Yellow Belt Colour Meaning: Represents the earth where the seed of Taekwon-Do is planted as the foundation of Taekwon-Do is being laid.

Chon-Ji Tul

Number of Movements: 19

Pattern Meaning: Means literally "The Heaven, The Earth." It is, in the Orient, interpreted as the creation of the world or the beginning of human history.

Pattern Chon Ji consists of the following techniques:

    • Stances (Sogi)

    • Parallel (narani)

    • Walking (gunnun)

    • L-Stance (niunja sogi)


Defensive Techniques

    • Outer Forearm Low Block (bakat palmok najunde makgi)

    • Inner Forearm Middle Block (an palmok kaunde makgi)

Offensive Techniques

  • Forefist Middle Front Punch (apjoomuk kaunde ap jirugi)


Yellow Belt Terminology

Yellow Belt Colour Meaning: Represents the earth where the seed of Taekwon-Do is planted as the foundation of Taekwon-Do is being laid.

Dan-Gun Tul

Number of Movements: 21

Pattern meaning: Named after the Holy Dan-Gun, the legendary founder of Korea in the year 2,333 BC.

Pattern Dan Gun consists of the following techniques:

    • Stances (Sogi)

    • Parallel (narani)

    • L- (niunja)

    • Walking (gunnun)

Defensive Techniques

    • Knifehand Middle Guarding Block (sonkal kaunde daebi makgi)

    • Outer Forearm Low Block (bakat palmok najunde makgi)

    • Twin Forearm Block (san palmok makgi)

    • Outer Forearm Rising Block (bakat palmok chookyo makgi)

Offensive Techniques

  • Forefist High Punch (apjoomuk nopunde jirugi)

  • Knifehand Side Strike (sonkal yop taerigi)

Additional Techniques

  • Continuous Motion (yonsok dongjak)


GREEN (nok ti)

Green Tag (7th Kup) Green Belt (6th Kup)

Represents the green plant growing as the skills of Taekwon-Do develop.

Green Tag Terminology

Green Belt Colour Meaning: Represents the green plant growing as the skills of Taekwon-Do develop.

Do-San Tul

Number of Movements: 24

Pattern Meaning: The pseudonym of the patriot Ahn Chang-Ho. The twenty-four movements represent his entire life, which he devoted to furthering the education of Korea and its independence movement.

Pattern Do San consists of the following techniques:

  • Stances (Sogi)

  • Parallel(narani)

  • Walking(gunnun)

  • L- (niunja)

  • Sitting (annun)


Defensive Techniques

    • Outer Forearm High Block (bakat palmok nopunde makgi)

    • Knifehand Guarding Block (sonkal daebi makgi)

    • Outer Forearm Wedging Block (bakat palmok hechyo makgi)

    • Outer Forearm Rising Block (bakat palmok chookyo makgi)

Offensive Techniques

    • Forefist Punch (ap joomuk jirugi)

    • Straight Fingertip Thrust (sun sonkut tulgi)

    • Backfist High Side Strike (dung joomuk nopunde yop taerigi)

    • Middle Front Snap Kick (kaunde apcha busigi)

    • Knifehand Side Strike (sonkal yop taerigi)

Additional Techniques

    • Fast Motion (barun dongjak)

    • Twisting Release (bitulmyo pulgi)


Green Belt Terminology

Green Belt Colour Meaning: Represents the green plant growing as the skills of Taekwon-Do develop.

Won-Hyo Tul

Number of Movements: 28

Pattern Meaning: Won Hyo was the noted Monk who introduced Buddism to the Silla Dynasty in the year 686 AD.

Pattern Won Hyo consists of the following techniques:

  • Stances (Sogi)

  • Close (moa)

  • L- (niunja)

  • Fixed (gojung)

  • Bending (guburyo)

  • Walking (gunnun)


Defensive Techniques

    • Twin Forearm Block (sang palmok makgi)

    • Knifehand Guarding Block (sonkal daebi makgi)

    • Circular Block (dollimyo makgi)

    • Forearm Guarding Block (palmok daebi makgi)


Offensive Techniques

  • Knifehand Inward Strike (sonkal anuro taerigi)

  • Middle Side Piercing Kick (kaunde yopcha jirugi)

  • Straight Fingertip Thrust (sun sonkut tulgi)

  • Low Front Snap Kick (najunde apcha busigi)


BLUE (ch'ong ti)

Blue Tag (5th Kup) Blue Belt (4th Kup)

Signifies the sky and the heavens, towards which the tree grows as Taekwon-Do training progresses.

Blue Tag Terminology

Blue Belt Colour Meaning: Signifies the sky and the heavens, towards which the tree grows as Taekwon-Do training progresses.

Yul-Gok Tul

Number of Movements: 38

Pattern Meaning: The pseudonym of the great philosopher and scholar, Yi I, nicknamed 'The Confucius of Korea.' The thirty-eight movements refer to his birth-place on the thirty-eighth degree of latitude.

Pattern Yul Gok consists of the following techniques:

  • Stances (Sogi)

  • Parallel (narani)

  • Sitting (annun)

  • Walking (gunnun)

  • Bending (guburyo)

  • L- (niunja)

  • X- (kyocha)

Defensive Techniques

  • Inner Forearm Block (an palmok makgi)

  • Palm Hooking Block (sonbadak golcho makgi)

  • Twin Knifehand Block (sang sonkal makgi)

  • Outer Forearm Block (bakat palmok makgi)

  • Double Forearm Block (doo palmok makgi)

Offensive Techniques

  • Forefist Punch (ap joomuk jirugi)

  • Front Snap Kick (apcha busigi)

  • Side Piercing Kick (yopcha jirugi)

  • Front Elbow Strike (ap palkup taerigi)

  • Straight Fingertip Thrust (sun sonkut tulgi)

  • Backfist Strike (dung joomuk taerigi)

Additional Techniques

  • Connecting Motion (euijin dongjak)

  • Measuring (gueri jaegi)



Blue Belt Terminology

Blue Belt Colour Meaning: Signifies the sky and the heavens, towards which the tree grows as Taekwon-Do training progresses.

Joong-Gun Tul

Number of Movements: 32

Pattern Meaning: Named after the patriot Ahn Joong-Gun who assassinated the first Japanese Governor-General of Korea. The thirty-two movements show the age of Mr Ahn when he was executed in the Lui-Shung Prison in 1910.

Pattern Joong Gun consists of the following techniques:

  • Stances (Sogi)

  • Close (moa)

  • L- (niunja)

  • Rearfoot (dwitbal)

  • Walking (gunnun)

  • Low (nachuo)

  • Fixed (gojung)

Defensive Techniques

  • Reverse Knifehand Side Block (sonkal dung yop makgi)

  • Palm Upward Block (sonbadak ollyo makgi)

  • Knifehand Guarding Block (sonkal daebi makgi

  • X-Fist Rising Block (kyocha joomuk chookyo makgi)

  • Double Forearm Block (doo palmok makgi)

  • Forearm Guarding Block (palmok daebi makgi)

  • Palm Pressing Block (sonbadak noollo makgi)

  • U-Shape Block (digutja makgi)

Offensive Techniques

  • Side-Front Snap Kick (yopapcha busigi)

  • Upper Elbow Strike (wi palkup taerigi)

  • Twin Vertical Punch (sang sewo jirugi)

  • Twin Upset Punch (sang dwijibo jirugi)

  • Backfist Strike (dung joomuk taerigi)

  • High Punch (nopunde jirugi)

  • Side Piercing Kick (yop cha jirugi)

  • Side Punch (yop Jirugi)

  • Angle Punch (giokja jirugi)

Additional Techniques

    • Slow Motion (neurin dongjak)

    • Twisting Release (bitulmyo pulgi)



RED (hong ti)

Red Tag (3rd Kup) Red Belt (2nd Kup)

Signifies danger, cautioning the student to exercise control, and warning an opponent to stay away.

Red Tag Terminology

Red Belt Colour Meaning: Signifies danger, cautioning the student to exercise control, and warning an opponent to stay away.

Toi-Gye Tul

Number of Movements: 37

Pattern Meaning: The pen-name of the noted scholar Yi Hwang, an authority on Neo-Confucianism. The thirty-seven movements refer to his birthplace on the thirty-seventh degree of latitude.


Pattern Toi Gye consists of the following techniques:

  • Stances (Sogi)

  • Close (moa)

  • L- (niunja)

  • Walking (gunnun)

  • Sitting (annun)

  • X- (kyocha)


Defensive Techniques

    • Inner Forearm Block (an palmok makgi)

    • X-Fist Pressing Block (kyocha joomuk noollo makgi)

    • W-Shape Block (san makgi)

    • Double Forearm Pushing Block (doo palmok miro makgi)

    • Knifehand Guarding Block (sonkal daebi makgi)

    • Outer Forearm Block (bakat palmok makgi)

    • Knifehand Low Guarding Block (sonkal najunde daebi makgi)

    • Forearm Circular Block (palmok dollimyo makgi)

    • Double Forearm Block (doo palmok makgi)

Offensive Techniques

    • Upset Fingertip Thrust (dwijibun sonkut tulgi)

    • Backfist Side-Back Strike (dung joomuk yopdwi taerigi)

    • Twin Forefist Vertical Punch (sang joomuk sewo jirugi)

    • Front Snap Kick (apcha busigi)

    • Forefist Middle Punch (apjoomuk kaunde jirugi)

    • Twin Side Elbow Thrust posture (sang yop palkup jase)

    • Knee Upward Kick (moorup ollyo chagi)

    • Side-Front Snap Kick (yopapcha busigi)

    • Flat Fingertip Thrust (opun sonkut tulgi)

Additional Techniques

  • Grabbing (japki)

  • Stamping Motion (gurunun dongjak)


Red Belt Terminology

Red Belt Colour Meaning: Signifies danger, cautioning the student to exercise control, and warning an opponent to stay away.

Hwa-Rang Tul

Number of Movements: 29

Pattern Meaning: Named after the Hwa-Rang Youth Group which originated in the Silla Dynasty. The twenty-nine movements refer to the twenty-ninth infantry division where Tae Kwon Do developed to maturity.

Pattern Hwa Rang consists of the following techniques:

  • Stances (Sogi)

  • Close (moa)

  • Sitting (annun)

  • L- (niunja)

  • Fixed (gojung)

  • Vertical (soojik)

  • Walking (gunnun)

Defensive Techniques

    • Palm Pushing Block (sonbadak miro makgi)

    • Twin Forearm Block (sang palmok makgi)

    • Outer Forearm Block (bakat palmok makgi)

    • Knifehand Guarding Block (sonkal daebi makgi)

    • X-Fist Pressing Block (kyocha joomuk noollo makgi)

    • Inner Forearm Side-Front Block (an palmok yopap makgi)

Offensive Techniques

  • Forefist Middle Punch (apjoomuk kaunde jirugi)

  • Forefist Upward Punch (apjoomuk ollyo jirugi)

  • Knifehand Downward Strike (sonkal naeryo taerigi)

  • Knifehand Side Strike (sonkal yop taerigi)

  • Straight Fingertip Thrust (sun sonkut tulgi)

  • High Turning Kick (nopunde dollyo chagi)

  • L-Stance Obverse Punch (niunja so baro jirugi)

  • Side Elbow Thrust (yop palkup tulgi)

Additional Techniques

  • Pulling Release (dangimyo pulgi)

  • Sliding (mikulgi)


RED (hong ti)

Black Tag (1st Kup)

The opposite of white, therefore signifying a maturity and proficiency in Taekwon-Do. It also indicates the holder's imperviousness to darkness and fear.

Black Tag Terminology

Black Belt Colour Meaning: The opposite of white, therefore signifying a maturity and proficiency in Taekwon-Do. It also indicates the holder's imperviousness to darkness and fear.

Choong-Moo Tul

Number of Movements: 30

Pattern Meaning: Choong-Moo was the name given to the great Admiral Yi Soon-Sin of the Lee Dynasty. He was reputed to have invented the first armoured battleship (Kobukson) in 1592, which is said to be the precursor of the present day submarine. The reason this pattern ends with a left hand attack is to symbolize his regrettable death, having no chance to show his unrestrained potentiality checked by the forced reservation of his loyalty to the king.


Pattern Choong Moo consists of the following techniques:

    • Stances (Sogi)

    • Parallel Stance (narani sogij

    • L- (niunja)

    • Walking (gunnun)

    • Bending Stance (guburyo sogi)

    • Fixed (gojung)


Defensive Techniques

    • Twin Knifehand Block (sang sonkal makgi)

    • Knifehand Guarding Block (sonkal daebi makgi)

    • Outer Forearm Block (bakat palmok makgi)

    • Forearm Guarding Block (palmok daebi makgi)

    • U-Shape Block (digutcha makgi)

    • Double Forearm Block (doo palmok makgi)

    • Middle Front Block (kaunde ap makgi)

    • X-Knifehand Checking Block (kyocha sonkal momchau makgi)

    • Twin Palm Upward Block (sang sonbadak ollyo makgi)


Offensive Techniques

  • Knifehand High Inward Strike (sonkal nopunde anuro taerigi)

  • Flat Fingertip Thrust (opun sonkut tulgi)

  • Middle Side Piercing Kick (kaunde yopcha jirugi)

  • Flying Side Piercing Kick (twimyo yopcha jirugi)

  • Knee Kick (moorup chagi)

  • Reverse Knifehand High Front Strike (sonkal dung nopunde ap taerigi)

  • High Turning Kick (nopunde dollyo chagi)

  • Back Piercing Kick (dwitcha jirugi)

  • Upset Fingertip Thrust (dwijibun sonkut tulgi)

  • Backfist High Side Strike (dung joomuk nopunde yop taerigi)

  • Straight Fingertip Thrust (sun sonkut tulgij)

  • Forefist Middle Punch (apjoomuk kaunde jirugij)


Additional Techniques

  • Grabbing (japki)

  • Jumping (twiyo)


BLACK I to III Degree

National/Assistant Instructor (Boo Sabum)

Wear black piping along the lower edge of dobok shirt. Considered 'novice'

BLACK IV to VI Degree

International Instructor (Sabum)

All grades from IV Degree wear additional black piping along sleeves and trouser legs. Considered 'Expert.'

BLACK VII to VIII Degree

Master (Sahyun) IX Degree – Grand Master (Sasung)

Considered 'the elite'. Grand Master denotes a full knowledge of Taekwon-do, and many decades of experience at the fore of teaching & promoting the art.