Taekwondo Black Belt Testing Requirements (Time and Skills)


Taekwondo black belt lg

Taekwondo sometimes gets a bad rap in martial arts, and we hear stories of black belts being handed out very quickly. So, what are the Taekwondo black belt requirements?

In most cases, to test for a Taekwondo black belt, the practitioner has to have been training for a minimum of three years. The Taekwondo black belt test consists of fitness testing, semi-contact sparring, self-defense demonstrations, a theory test, and board breaking.

There are 10 black belt levels in Taekwondo, and to progress up the back belt ranks, you need to train and teach the martial art of Taekwondo.

There are lots of factors that determine how long it takes to get your Taekwondo black belt, and the requirements vary from school to school.

How long does it take to become a black belt in Taekwondo?

On average, it takes about 5-6 years of Tae Kwon Do training to become a black belt. But it is possible to get your first-degree Taekwondo black belt in under 4 years of training if you are extremely hardworking, a fast learner, and train more than 4 days a week.

Most people won’t get their Tae Kwon Do black belt that fast.

There are some schools that give black belts to people when they have only been training for 2 years! That’s absurd because there is no way someone could master the comprehensive art of kicking that quickly.

You should not focus on speed when it comes to getting your black belt. It is more important that you are a good quality black belt that can actually fight. Taekwondo is about learning. The more you focus on self-development and give your full effort, the quicker you will progress to higher ranks.

Your belt color does not matter. It does not mean you can fight.

The belt is a piece of cotton that symbolizes your achievement. Focusing on your promotion tests and rank testing dates will be detrimental to your Taekwondo progress.

Just train for the love of the game! But how often is good enough?

Check out this recent article on my site about how often you should train in Taekwondo. I explain what the sweet spot is for improving technique, mindset, and factoring in rest time.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What does a Taekwondo black belt test consist of?

A Taekwondo black belt test consists of fitness testing, where you will do running and other aerobic exercises, followed by some technique demonstrations, combinations, semi-contact, technical sparring, a test of self-defense skills, and a theory test.

Taekwondo promotion tests have a set structure. In the technique demonstration, you will likely have to perform your “forms” and showcase sequences of techniques.

You may also be asked to demonstrate self-defense techniques like pressure point attacks.

During the rank testing, you will do some semi-contact sparring. This may be against one or multiple attackers. The point of the sparring is to showcase your skill and composure, not to beat each other up.

The rest of the test will have questions about the history of Taekwondo and will ask you about basic concepts.

You should spend time outside of class preparing for your gradings. But what if you don’t have a dojo near you or are uncomfortable training with a stranger?

To learn the single best way to train Taekwondo alone, check out this recent article. I give you a ton of great (and mostly free) resources where you can get the training you need from your own home. It’s even possible to earn a black belt at home.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

How long does it take a child to get a black belt in Tae Kwon Do?

On average, it takes about 4-5 years for a child to go from a complete beginner to a black belt in Taekwondo. Some Taekwondo organizations don’t allow children under the age of 16 to get their black belt, so instead, they are awarded a red and black belt.

The time it takes for a child to get their taekwondo black belt depends on a handful of factors.

Firstly, it depends on how your child focuses. If they are the type of child that can sit still, listen to instructions, and tries their best in every class, they will get their black belt quicker than a restless child with trouble concentrating.

If your child is fit and healthy and has a good attitude to learning, they will get their black belt quicker than a child that skips classes, doesn’t listen, and is not active outside of Taekwondo training.

If you have a child enrolled in Taekwondo, make sure you encourage them a lot and teach them the importance of respect, listening, and giving class their full effort.

Try to get your child to learn to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of training Taekwondo and not be focused on the color belts.

If your child can learn to enjoy the friendships, the training, the skills they learn, and the fitness they gain, they will be much better Taekwondo practitioners and will get promoted quicker anyway.

The time it takes your child to get their Taekwondo black belt is similar to how long it takes Karate students.

Are there Taekwondo black belt age requirements?

In WTF Taekwondo, you cannot get a black belt until you are at least 16 years of age. This is because if you are under the age of 15, you have not yet reached your full strength and performance potential in Taekwondo.

Instead, you will be awarded a red and black belt.

The red and black belt is used in WTF Taekwondo. WTF stands for World Taekwondo Federation, and this organization awards the red and black belt to students that achieve the skill level of a black belt before the age of 15.

The reason they are not given a normal black belt is to show that the young student does not yet have the strength and performance of an adult black belt. There are no age requirements for the other belts besides the black belt.

ITF stands for International Taekwondo Federation.

Below is a table showing the belt order in WTF, and ITF Taekwondo.

ITF belt order WTF belt order
White belt White belt
White belt with yellow stripe Yellow belt
Yellow belt Orange belt
Yellow belt with green stripe Green belt
Green belt Purple belt
Green belt with blue stripe Blue belt
Blue belt Purple belt
Blue belt with red stripe Brown belt
Red belt Red belt
Red belt with black stripe Junior black belt
Black belt Black belt

If you want to learn more about the governing bodies in Taekwondo and the requirements at each belt level, check out this recent article on my site.

Once you are a first-degree black belt, you then start testing for the next rank, which is the second-degree black belt. There are 9 degrees of black belt in Taekwondo.

For people that have contributed significantly to the growth of Taekwondo, they may be awarded an honorary 10th-degree black belt.

The list below shows the different degrees of Taekwondo black belt ranks and how long they take to achieve.

  • 1st degree black belt – You have to train for a minimum of three years to obtain the first degree black belt, also known as the 1st dan black belt
  • 2nd degree black belt – You have to have been training for a minimum of 5 years to obtain this.
  • 3rd degree black belt – You have to have been training for a minimum of 8 years to obtain this.
  • 4th degree black belt – You have to have been training for a minimum of 12 years to obtain this.
  • 5th degree black belt – You have to have been training for a minimum of 17 years to obtain this.
  • 6th degree black belt – You have to have been training for a minimum of 23 years to obtain this.
  • 7th degree black belt – You have to have been training for a minimum of 30 years to obtain this.
  • 8th degree black belt – You have to have been training for a minimum of 38 years to obtain this.
  • 9th degree black belt – You have to have been training for a minimum of 45 years to obtain this.
  • 10th degree black belt – You have to have been training for a minimum of 55 years to obtain this. This is the highest level available.

What are some standard Taekwondo black belt test questions?

When testing for black belt in Taekwondo, expect to be asked questions such as:

  1. What does Taekwondo mean? 
  2. What is the name of your grandmaster? 
  3. What is the motto of your Taekwondo school? 
  4. Why do you ki-hap? 
  5. What makes a good student? 
  6. What makes a bad student? 
  7. How do you generate power?

You may also be asked some terminology, like “what is the Korean word for sparring, strike, thrust, punch, kick, and stance”. You may be asked to name different blocks, kicks, punches, and stances.

To pass your Taekwondo grading questions, just make sure you know the name of every technique you have been taught.

Also, be aware of what makes a good student, and have some knowledge of the history and philosophy of Taekwondo and the principles and code of conduct your school operates by.

Interestingly enough, Judo gradings also have a theory test.

If you want to learn about the difference between Judo and Taekwondo, check out this recent article on my site. I talk about how cross-training Judo and Taekwondo could make you a phenomenal martial artist!

My 1st Dan Black Belt Test | (World Taekwondo)

Conclusion

On average, it takes about 5 years to get a Taekwondo black belt. In a Taekwondo belt test, you will have to demonstrate techniques, do some light sparring, answer a theory test, and break boards.

Children can get their Taekwondo black belts in about 4 years, but they will be “junior black belts”. Children get the rank of the adult black belt when they are about 16 years old.

To progress faster in Taekwondo and get that next belt, it is important to have a good attitude to learning, train frequently, and challenge yourself. Don’t be afraid of hard work.

It will still take months of training in-between belts at the lower levels too, so don’t get discouraged.

There are 10 degrees to Taekwondo black belts, and only those who adopt the mindset of a lifelong student will train long enough to achieve the highest ranks in martial art.


Image by inna mykytas from Pixabay

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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