The dan/kyu/geup is the system of ranking in taekwondo sports by different coloured belts. Jigoro Kano invented it by awarding his two best students the “shodan” after inventing judo. There was still no clear differentiation between yudansha (ones with dan ranking) and those who had not attained dan ranking (mudansha). His yudansha wore black belts from 1886 marking the birth of belt colour ranking. By then he used black and white belts. He introduced modern gi and obi in 1907 and awarded some students in 1924. All other arts using colour copied the Japanese.
The taekwondo belts were invented in the 19th century and modernized now are still used and adapted by arts other than taekwondo. The inventor Jigoro Kano with his game of judo had an aim to reshape the community and came up with this idea to separate those who had qualified and those who had not qualified. He mostly used two colours: black for fully trained students and white for beginners. Even though other colours are used today, he is considered the father of using coloured belts as a way of differentiation between students.
The taekwondo belt levels by color
- Derivation from a book by general Choi Hong Hi explained about the ranking by colors
- Taekwondo has ten Geups with black as the first and white as the tenth
- Geup means degree while phase is the meaning of dan
- Dan degrees are nine in taekwondo – each represented by black colour
The taekwondo has ten levels, each represented by a colour. The lowest rank is white meaning that the holder is innocent and has no knowledge. It is gained by attending the taekwondo classes. The next one is yellow and signifies that the holder is now conversant with the basics. It is compared with a plant developing roots. The next is green to show the person is learning taekwondo and compared to plant developing leaves. Then comes blue to show the student is progressing – just as a plant growing higher. It is the fourth geup.
The red colour shows danger. It is a sign of warning to the opponent and also a warning to the student asking them to be cautious on how they control their movements. It is the second geup. The next level is called poom. This is usually awarded to those that meet requirements of gaining a black belt but are under the age of 16, which is a must to get the black belt. The last and first dan is the black belt. It shows that the student is not penetrable by darkness and fear.
Ethics of the sport
Ethics are of great importance to all arts learnt. Taekwondo being rated as an aggressive sport requires its students to be upright ethically. The practitioners should have personal ethics and also stand with the expected social ethics. They should not be aggressive. The main point is to have the difference between evil and good. Taekwondo’s aim is to improve self-defence skills and a way to live. It gives the student more self-confidence but should never be a reason for a false sense of being better than others.
- Be selective in case of taking a life.
- During battle there is no retreat.
- Serve your master showing loyalty.
Modern taekwondo is governed by commandments. They are set to regulate the students to be morally upright in accordance with the expectations of their behaviour after the training. These commandments are as follows: to show loyalty to one’s country, to always be obedient to the parents, to show faithfulness to one’s spouse, to be respectful to one’s siblings, to show respect to the teacher, to always be loyal to all friends, to never kill unfairly, to have unbeatable spirit, to be loyal always to ones school and lastly to always complete what one begins.
There are some principles of the taekwondo that govern the students. They are referred to as the tenets of this sport, starting with courtesy where one is expected to be considerate about the other people. It applies to both the teacher and his student. Integrity is another key principle showing people to earn respect, trust, be good to others and be honest. Then to persevere, have self-control where the student is required to have the ability to control their emotions and actions at all time. Finally to have an indomitable spirit.
Self-defence and it’s meaning
- Self-defence is one of the main principles of taekwondo.
- It cannot be practised alone.
Even if taekwondo by itself is considered self-defense, the sport involves spinning kicks which are usually very high, making them not applicable in the street or for self-defense. Honsisul/self-defence is among the four major taekwondo principles. This is always a mixture of different moves that helps against an armed attacker. It helps survive most unplanned attacks by people holding dangerous weapons. The training on self-defense can never be fully completed by an individual when they are alone – only when with another one of almost equal strength.
The main self-defence tactics are as follows: control techniques, the freeing techniques and termination techniques. The self-defence tactics used in hapkido and those in taekwondo are always with a great resemblance. With hapkido going for the most vital parts of the attacker, also taekwondo goes for the same vital parts like neural joints. These points prove to be the best weak points of the armed attacker aiding in self-defence upon precision. Just as taekwondo, hapkido also trains the students on immobilizing their attackers and gain an advantage over them.
- To learn self-defence one will need a partner of equivalent strength.
- Self-defence is one major key of taekwondo.
In taekwondo, there are two types of self-defence. There is the circular, also called the soft way and the hard way/linear way. The hard way of self-defence involves using arms and legs to defend oneself from the attacker. It has the advantage of a counter-attack causing pain to the attacker. Main drawback is that it looks harsh for the outsiders and demands much energy. The soft form is where you use the speed and the strength of the attacker to your advantage. The attacker is not hurt but a lot of skill is needed.