Our Belt Systems

All practising martial artists are students. The Budo South Martial Arts belt system provides a clear distinction between beginner students (junior belts), experienced students (senior belts) and empowered students (black belts). A student’s belt represents their level of proficiency and dedication. The belt colours get darker with the increased proficiency of the student. There are sometimes 8, 10 or 12 ‘Keup’ grades before the ‘Dan’ grades (black belt). Tabs or Stripe grades occur between each major colour belt, and Dan levels between black belt grades.

The term Keup means Student (or boy) and Dan means Instructor (or man).

Each belt has its own philosophical meaning:

  • White Belt represents purity and innocence of a new student.
  • Yellow Belt represents the sun, a fundamental from which growth can occur.
  • Green Belt represents further growth of a student and being well rooted in their learning.
  • Blue Belt symbolises the sky, reflecting an unlimited capacity for progression and extension.
  • Brown and/or Red Belt represents danger, as the student now has responsibility to use their advanced skills appropriately and pass on correct techniques to junior grades.
  • Dan Grades (all black belt levels) represent all the colours combined, representing the universe and maturity. The student is fully developed and must now take on responsibility to uphold the martial arts code. Black belt is not the end of training, it just symbolises the student has mastered the basic techniques and can now take control of their learning.

The Taekwondo belt system is:

Junior Belts

  • White (10th Keup)
  • White with Yellow Tabs (9th Keup)
  • Yellow (8th Keup)
  • Yellow with Green Tabs (7th Keup)
  • Green (6th Keup)
  • Green with Blue Tabs (5th Keup)

Senior Belts

  • Blue (4th Keup)
  • Blue with Red Tabs (3rd Keup)
  • Red (2nd Keup)
  • Red with Black Tabs(1st Keup)
  • Tigers Only – Cho Dan Bo (Club-only Black Belt)
  • Dan/Poom grades (Kukkiwon registered Black Belt – worldwide)

The Haidong Gumdo belt system is:

Junior Belts

  • White (8th Keup)
  • Yellow (7th Keup)
  • Green (6th Keup)
  • Blue (5th Keup)

Senior Belts

  • Orange (4th Keup)
  • Brown (3rd Keup)
  • Red (2nd Keup)
  • Red and Black – Cho Dan Bo (1st Keup)
  • Dan grades

The Hapkido belt system is:

Junior Belts

  • White (8th Keup)
  • Yellow (7th Keup)
  • Blue (6th Keup)
  • Blue with Red Stripe (5th Keup)
  • Blue with two Red Stripes (4th Keup)

Senior Belts

  • Red Belt (3rd Keup)
  • Red Belt with Black Stripe (2nd Keup)
  • Red Belt with two Black Stripes (1st Keup)