Innocence, a beginner who has no knowledge of Taekwon-Do.
Signifies earth, from which a plant sprouts & takes root as Taekwon-Do foundation is laid.
Signifies the plants growth as Taekwon-Do skills begin to develop.
Signifies the heaven, towards which the plant matures into a tree as training continues.
Danger, warning opponent & wearer to exercise control.
Signifying wearer impervious to darkness & fear.
WHITE PIPING ON BLACK BELT
Junior Black Belt Grade (under 16 years of age)
1st to 3rd Degree - Bousabum (Novice Black Belt / Assistant Instructor)
Only used these days in the case of instructors having lower ranking assistant instructors
1st to 3rd degrees also wear black piping along their dobob tops
(Worn along the bottom of top & up to belt height only)
It is often seen that at 1st degree the student has merely built a good foundation and that the job of building the house lies ahead!
4th to 6th Degree - Sabumnim (Expert / instructor)
As well as the black piping on the top half of the dobok, those of 4th degree & above also have black piping down the side of either legs & arms to denote their grade/status.
4th Degree & above are often denoted as expert and International Examiner status
7th & 8th Degree - Sabyum (Master)
Someone who has learnt all the basic elements of Taekwon-do, has indepth knowledge of the patterns & other various elements that compose Taekwon-do.
At this stage, the student has learnt all 24 patterns.
7th & 8th degree are usually honourary grades, given for promoting/serving Taekwon-do, though these are given out too easily these days (IMO) and it should be noted by all that Grandmaster Ki Ha Rhee waited patiently for 16 years before receiving his 8th degree!
9th Degree - Saseung (Grandmaster)
The highest grade achievable in Taekwon-do
At the time shortly before General Choi's death, there were only four 9th degrees in the world
This rank was originally given only by the founder.
Obviously, politics means that others have received this grade, some deservidly (like Grandmaster Hee Il Cho) and others for policital or other underserved reasons.
Still it denotes a full knowledge of Taekwon-do, and many decades of experience at the fore of teaching & promoting the art.
BLACK PIPING ON WHITE UNIFORM
Black piping was worn by the artistocracy in ancient Korea
as well as blue & red piping - hence the order,
with black being the highest.
The piping should be 3 cm in width, the 3 cm represent
Heaven, Human Kind & Earth and was hughly significant to
General Choi & also in the orient.
The Chinese charactor for 3 is
A similar symbol also represents King and it is believed that
someone attuned to Heaven, Mankind & the Earth and
reach an accord with all three would become a king.
The symbol for king is
DAN RANK ON BELTS
Officially, Dan rankings on belts were shown by Roman Numerals. Many use stripes, but General Choi
felt it was too hard to read/count so many stripes quickly, hence the reason for roman numerals.
The rank should always be worn on the left (as the belt hangs)
9 DAN GRADES
As noted above, the number 3 is highly significant. The number 9 is the highest single digit number, it is also the 3 X 3 (the most significant number, multiplied by itself). Finally, the number 9 is seen as the most positive of numbers as it has a property no other single digit has. The number 9, when multiplied by any other single digit number, then the two numbers from the answer added together always equal 9, hence why 9th degree is the highest dan grade.
And, as you can also see, the dan ranks are divided into 3 as well, novice, expert & masters!
I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX