Talk of martial arts and all I can think of is Bruce Lee! To me, he is the ultimate epitome of agility, controlled and precisely aimed aggression, and lethal moves. I could go on and on. Somewhere down the line, I think the idolization of Mr. Lee led me to learn a bit of Taekwondo. The most prominent thing which I noticed while learning was the belt and their colors. Even though I had a faint idea as to what the colors of these belts are for, once I started training, it dawned upon me even more clearly, the true meaning of the colors of taekwondo belts.

Taekwondo Belts

Starting from white, as any other connected martial arts like karate, taekwondo belt rankings go till black, the ultimate one.

White Belt (10th Kup)
At this stage, the individual has no knowledge of taekwondo whatsoever, and just starts learning. A level up in this is a white belt with a yellow Stripe (9th Kup).

Yellow Belt (8th Kup)
At this level, stamina development and the very basic techniques of taekwondo are emphasized upon. The foundation of mastering taekwondo are laid at this level. A yellow belt with a green stripe (7th Kup) is a a variation in this belt.

Green Belt (6th Kup)
At this stage, the student has gone a step ahead of the yellow belt in his training. He continues to build up and develop his skills. A green belt with a blue stripe (5th Kup) is a part of the basic green belt. A lot of different moves in taekwondo are taught at this level.

Blue Belt (4th Kup)
This is a crucial juncture depicted by the blue color. Here, the student starts getting a grip of what taekwondo is all about, and has learned quite a few important techniques. This stage also includes the blue belt with a red stripe (3rd Kup).

Red Belt (2nd Kup)
This is the point in training where the student is made to realize and understand the damage he can do, and other students are made aware of his skills. A red belt with a black stripe (1st Kup) is a level up of the blue belt.

Black Belt
Finally, you have the black belt, for which there is an exam a good year or so after acquiring the red belt. The reason is obvious―getting a black belt requires vigorous training in taekwondo techniques and body strength, which is a long and continuous process. The black belt is called the 1st Dan.

Taekwondo Belt Meanings

Apart from the practical explanations of connecting these belts to the grade of the expertise of the practitioner, there is a philosophical connotation given to the colors of these belts too.
  • White color depicts innocence and zero knowledge of the martial art.
  • Yellow points out to the earth, which leads a plant to gain roots and grow.
  • Green is an indicator of the growth of the plant, as the student starts gaining more skills.
  • Blue refers to the heavens, which is the direction of the growth of a plant, portraying the progress in a student's training.
  • Red is an epitome of danger and caution, for the student gains various skills, and for opponents to keep him at bay.
  • Black, on the contrary to white, marks maturity and proficiency of a taekwondo practitioner. A deeper meaning refers to the fearlessness and indomitability of the person wearing it.
These were the various levels in taekwondo belts along with their meanings and significance! You can see that these are not just random colors, but have been thought about very wisely by the masters in this art.