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The Belts and Philosophies of 
Songahm Taekwondo

Our school (and all other ATA facilities) use a rank system to develop the skills, discipline, and self-control which are necessary for proper Taekwondo techniques. The number nine is the highest single digit; in some oriental cultures, nine represents the highest attainable goal of any measurable endeavor.
ATA has nine ranks of color belts and nine degrees of Black Belts. The color ranks are divided into two levels: recommended or decided.


White Belt: Pure and without the knowledge of Songahm Taekwondo. As with the Pine Tree, the seed must now be planted and nourished to develop strong roots. The student has no knowledge of Songahm Taekwondo and begins with a clean (pure) slate. Purity is often signified by the color WHITE.
Orange Belt: The sun is beginning to rise. As with the morning's dawn, only the beauty of the sunrise is seen rather than the immense power. The beginning student sees the beauty of the art of Taekwondo but has not yet experienced the power in the technique. ORANGE is found among the many colors of a sunrise.
Yellow Belt: The seed is beginning to see the sunlight. The student begins to understand the basics of Taekwondo. The sun appears to be YELLOW.
Camo Belt:The sapling is hidden amongst the taller pines and must now fight its way upward. The student begins to realize their place in the world's largest martial art. CAMOUFLAGE patterns are used to hide among the trees in the forest.
Green Belt: The pine tree is beginning to develop and grow in strength. The student's technique is developing power. The components of the basic techniques are beginning to work in unison. As the pine tree develops, it sprouts GREEN pine needles.
Purple Belt:Coming to the mountain. The tree is in midgrowth and now the path becomes steep. The student has crossed over into a higher level of Songahm Taekwondo. The techniques, forms, and level of sparring becomes more difficult creating a "mountain" that must be overcome. Mountains are often depicted as PURPLE.
Blue Belt: The tree reaches for the sky toward new heights. Having passed the mid-way point, the student focuses their energy upward toward black belt. The sky appears as BLUE.
Brown Belt: The tree is firmly rooted in the earth. At this point the student has mastered the basics and developed deep roots in Taekwondo. BROWN is known as an earthy color.
Red Belt: The sun is setting. The first phase of growth has been accomplished. The first day (the period of time from white belt to red belt) of growth is coming to an end. The physical skill has been developed but lacks the control; therefore, physical and mental discipline must now be achieved. Variations of RED are found among the many colors of a sunset.
Black/Red Belt (Recommended 1st Degree Black Belt): The dawn of a new day. The sun breaks through the darkness. The previous day has ended giving way to a new dawn. The student must begin a new phase of training; that of being a black belt. The RED is the sun (in a sunrise) as it breaks through the BLACK of the night.
Black Belt: The tree has reached maturity and has overcome the darkness.... It must now begin to 'plant seeds for the future. The color black is created when all the colors of the light spectrum have been absorbed into an object. That object has taken control of the colors and retained them. If one color was to escape, the object would no longer be black but would appear as that color. The student has mastered the nine geup (grades) of Taekwondo. He/She has absorbed all the knowledge of the color ranks and overcome or mastered that level of training. The colors of the spectrum are bound together and are not reflected off an object, resulting in the absence of light known as BLACK or darkness.