CERTIFICATIONS AND STANDARDS
The International Tang Soo Do Federation™ goes to great lengths to ensure that each of its instructors maintains exceptional knowledge of Tang Soo Do. The following are examples of what the Federation does to guarantee the high quality of its instructors.
Belt Ranking System
In addition to improving physical abilities, authentic Tang Soo Do strengthens one’s spirit and attitude. Because of this, advancement from one rank to another is not granted on technical ability alone. A student must also demonstrate discipline, spirit and respect to earn a promotion. Beginning with a white belt, a student will take approximately four years to earn their black belt. Testing for each new rank depends on the student’s ability, regular class attendance and the instructor’s recommendation.
All students begin with a white belt (10th gup).
Upon the instructor’s recommendation, the student’s ability and regular class attendance, the student tests for yellow belt (9th gup).
After approximately 1-2 additional months the student tests for orange belt (8th gup).
A stripe will be added to the orange belt (7th gup) after approximately 3 months of additional training. Promotions are granted every three months thereafter with the instructor's recommendation and regular class attendance.
A student advances from orange belt with one green stripe to green belt (6th gup), green belt with one red stripe (5th gup), green belt with two red stripes (4th gup) and red belt (3rd gup).
After attaining red belt, each promotion requires at least 6 months of training. A total of 2 stripes are added to the red belt.
The student will then be eligible to test for Cho Dan Bo (Black Belt Candidate). The student must achieve a blue belt and 1 stripe before being eligible to test for promotion to black belt. To achieve a black belt, the student must have attended class for a minimum of 4 years from the start of his or her training.
After becoming a first degree black belt (Cho Dan), the length of time between promotions varies. The number of years between advancement depends on the desired level of black belt mastery. For example, it will take approximately 2 years to promote from Cho Dan (1st degree black belt) to E Dan (2nd degree black belt), 3 years from E Dan to Sam Dan (3rd degree black belt), 4 years from Sam Dan (3rd degree black belt) to Sa Dan (4th degree black belt) and so on.
A Master's degree is granted upon mastery of Sam Dan (3rd degree black belt).
A special test is also required for Kyo Sa (certified instructor). A student is required to be at least E Dan (2nd degree black belt), 18 years of age and have demonstrated the ability and desire to instruct.
Of special note is that the traditional Tang Soo Do "black" belt is, in fact, midnight blue. This is based on the philosophy that black is the symbol of an end or death. It is believed that midnight blue symbolizes the midnight sky, and learning is an eternal process that continues throughout one's life. The achievement of a black belt is actually a new beginning; therefore, continuing the learning process.