How To Get a Black Belt in Taekwondo

Taekwondo is one of the best martial arts to learn, and I can assume that there are a few reasons why you would be searching for this answer. Maybe you want to take up Taekwondo as a sport, or you are already doing Taekwondo, and want to know how long it will take you to earn your black belt. Let’s find out.

To get your black belt in Taekwondo, you need to progress through all previous ranks. The 1st black belt degree will take a minimum of 3 years from starting Taekwondo, although 4 years is more common. To get your 3rd-degree black belt will take approximately 4 years after receiving your first black belt degree.

I know, it is insane that there are 9 black belt degrees. If you are wondering how long it would take you to reach that level, we will have everything covered in this article and more. So, for everything you need to know about getting your black belt in Taekwondo, keep reading.

How To Get Your Black Belt In Taekwondo

To get your first black belt in Taekwondo, you need to pass a test and spend a minimum of 9 months as a red belt. Each belt has a test that needs to be passed before you can progress to the next one.

To earn the black belt, you must also prove that you have what it takes to wear the belt. This is often determined by your character, mental state, Taekwondo knowledge, fitness, and much more.

Taekwondo Ranks: Gup To Dan

When you first start out in Taekwondo, you will be known as a “Gup.” A Gup starts out as a white belt in Taekwondo. You will stay a Gup until you become a black belt. Once you get your black belt, you will be known as a Dan.

A Gup will go through 10 stages before becoming a Dan. The stage starts with a white belt and ends with a red belt with a black stripe. Once you become a Dan, you use only the blackbelt.

While some schools have different belt color-coding, the majority of schools and dojos use this belt system.

What Does Each Belt Mean

It may seem like the color of a martial art belt is simply selected at random to help distinguish between different levels and ranks. This is not true. Each belt has a meaning, and when we explain it, everything will make a lot more sense. So, let’s jump straight into it.

Each belt has a middle phase. So, a white belt will go from white to with a yellow stripe. A yellow belt will go from yellow to yellow with a green strip and so on. This just means that the student is halfway to the next rank. The stripe will always be the color of the next rank.

  • White belt: This signals that a seed has been planted. The student is still innocent and knows nothing of Taekwondo yet.
  • Yellow belt: You can look at it as the instructor is the sun shining down on the student. The instructor is feeding the student his knowledge, helping the student grow.
  • Green belt: The green belt is actually a pretty significant milestone in a Gup’s journey. It means that the seed that was once naive and ignorant to the world of Taekwondo is now starting to sprout from the ground with all that it has learned so far.
  • Blue belt: As the student grows, he/she is reaching further for the blue sky.
  • Red Belt: The student now knows enough Taekwondo for them to be considered dangerous. The red signifies fiery danger, and the student now needs to learn self-control.
  • Black belt: This belt signifies that you have the basic knowledge needed to become a true Taekwondo master.

When you start out in Taekwondo, you might think that becoming a black belt makes you a master, but this is not true. Earning your black belt is only the beginning. It is now time to start earning each Dan. Good luck.

How Long Does It Take To Progress Through Each Taekwondo Rank?

As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, to get your black belt will take approximately 4 years from the day you start. I thought that it would be important and useful to add a table and so here it is.

The table is taken from the international Taekwondo association. It shows how much time must be sent in each rank before you can advance to the next one.

Tae Kwon Do RankTime Required To Advance In Rank
10th Gup White Belt2 Months (36 Hours)
9th Gup White Belt With Yellow Stripe2 Months (36 Hours)
8th Gup Yellow Belt2 Months (36 Hours)
7th Gup Yellow Belt With Green Stripe2 Months (36 Hours)
6th Gup Green Belt2 Months (36 Hours)
5th Gup Green Belt With Blue Stripe3 Months (54 Hours)
4th Gup Blue Belt6 Months (108 Hours)
3rd Gup Blue Belt With Red Stripe6 Months (108 Hours)
2nd Gup Red Belt6 Months (108 Hours)
1st Gup Red Belt With Black Stripe9 Months (162 Hours)
1st Dan (Il Dan) Black Belt2 Years
2nd Dan (Ee Dan) Black Belt2 Years
3rd Dan (Sam Dan) Black Belt4 Years
4th Dan (Sa Dan) Black Belt4 Years
5th Dan (Oh Dan) Black Belt6 Years
6th Dan (Yook Dan) Black Belt6 Years
7th Dan (Chil Dan) Black Belt8 Years
8th Dan (Pal Dan) Black BeltN/A
9th Dan (Koo Dan) Black BeltN/A

Is Becoming A Taekwondo Black Belt Worth It?

To be completely honest, that is a tough question because it depends entirely upon you and your goals. There is an old saying in martial arts, and it goes something like this “A person who earns his/her black belt is simply a white belt who never gave up.”

That saying is pretty powerful, and I guess, if you look at it like that, then yes, a black belt is worth it. I will list a few things that I think of when asked this question, and based on my experience, and I can say that getting a black belt in any martial art is definitely worth it.

Taekwondo Is A Lifestyle

Taekwondo is a lifestyle for many people, and as a species, we will generally always try our best to perfect our lifestyle.

Taekwondo Teaches You Many Things

The more you progress through the ranks, the more you learn. The lessons that you get taught are great not only for Taekwondo but also for all aspects of your life.

By progressing all the way to a black belt, you are proving to yourself that you have what it takes to tackle most situations that life will throw at you.


The goal of this article was just to answer a simple question, but we decided to delve deeper into the topic. Earning a black belt is a great achievement, but you can start considering yourself a master once you start reaching the higher Dans.

My advice is, do not rush the process, take your time, and absorb as much knowledge as you can. This will make progress through each rank a lot easier. If you are chasing the black belt, try not to see Taekwondo as only a hobby; rather, make it your lifestyle.

When you do finally earn that black belt, don’t be afraid to applaud yourself. You have done something that most people lack the willpower to do.

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