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.
WHITE (hayan ti) White Belt
Signifies innocence. No previous knowledge of Taekwon-Do, as that of the beginner student.
BLACK (komun ti) Black Tag (1st
The opposite of white, therefore signifying a maturity and proficiency in Taekwon-Do. It also indicates the holder's imperviousness to darkness and fear.