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Kel-West Society of Taekwon-Do and Hapkido - System of Rank :(Dan Gup Jedo)
( copyright 2010 - all rights reserved)

school logo of Kel-West Academy of Taekwon-Do and Hapkido

Grading Requirements (Adults and Youth):

Belt Rank Minimum time required
to advance in rank
10th Gup - White-Belt 2 - 3 Months (16-24 Hours) Yellow-Stripe
9th Gup - White-Belt With Yellow-Stripe 3 Months (24-36 Hours) Yellow-Belt
8th Gup Yellow Belt 3 Months (24-36 Hours) Green-Stripe
7th Gup - Yellow-Belt With Green-Stripe 3 Months (24-36 Hours) Green-Belt
6th Gup - Green-Belt 3 Months (24-36 Hours) Blue-Stripe
5th Gup - Green-Belt With Blue-Stripe 3 Months (24-36 Hours) Blue-Belt
4th Gup - Blue-Belt 4 Months (48 Hours) Red-Stripe
3rd Gup - Blue-Belt With Red-Stripe 5 Months (60 Hours) Red-Belt
2nd Gup - Red-Belt 6 Months (72 Hours) Black-Stripe
1st Gup - Red-Belt With Black-Stripe 6 Months (72 Hours) 1st Degree Black-
1st Dan (Il Dan) Black-Belt 2 Years (192 hours) 2nd Degree Black-Belt
2nd Dan (Ee Dan) Black-Belt 2 Years (192 hours) 3rd Degree Black-Belt
3rd Dan (Sam Dan) Black Belt 3 Years (288 hours) 4th Degree Black-Belt

Who is eligible to grade or test at the Kel-West Academy:

a) G.T.F. Canada policy states that the Head Instructor (and not the parent or student) is solely responsible for determining who is ready for rank promotion.

b) Grading candidates are expected to be of good character.

c) Be dedicated and loyal. All students who are eligible to test must keep an attendance record of at least 80 percent of classes offered, during the three previous months or else, they cannot grade! While loyalty and good attendance is both appreciated and rewarded, we cannot guarantee rank promotion at our school.

d) Students, especially young kids, must have a basic working knowledge of the grading syllabus, prior to testing. For promotion to higher ranks (i.e. Green Belt and higher), more will be expected of you. The pass mark is 60 percent out of 100.

e) You must be a member of the Global Taekwon-Do Federation and/or World Hapkido (if applicable) and your Kel-West membership fees must be in good order, prior to testing at our school.

f) The colours of black, red and blue symbolize the various levels of hierarchy during the Silla and Koguryo dynasties. A Black-Belt with a white stripe (down the middle) signifies the junior G.T.F. Black-Belt holder, who is under the age of 16.

How long will it take me to obtain my Black-Belt in Taekwon-Do or Hapkido:

a) Normally, about the same time it takes to obtain a university Bachelor's degree - usually four years. Any less time (i.e. three years or less) would make a mockery of our grading syllabus, in our view.

b) If you wish to obtain your black-belt, simply learn the material, step by step, for EACH belt rank, as thoroughly as possible BEFORE moving up to the next belt level. In other words, Yellow belts should not be learning the material for Blue-Belt or Red-Belt. Take the time and patience to learn the material and do it to the best of your age, range of motion, abilities, etc. Also, practice constantly!

c) Set for yourself realistic, "mini-goals" on the way to the "main goal." For example, Green-Belt after one year, Blue-Belt after two years, Red-Belt after three years of training, are both tangible and realistic. However, if you are balancing a career or family and also doing martial arts, it may take longer for you to achieve these goals. Always remember that martial arts were designed to be life-long studies. Therefore, the REAL training of the martial art actually begins at Black-belt, it doesn't END at 1st dan !

The black-belt degree is both a mental and spiritual accomplishment, as well as physical. Unfortunately, very few Okanagan black-belts understand the mental and spiritual qualities required of their art. A professional martial arts instructor should be able to determine your belt rank, just by observing you ! At the end of the day, your promotion to a certain belt rank should be so obvious, that even those ignorant of the Korean martial arts will sit up and take notice. Ultimately, the community at large validates, and judges, our martial art rank, through our daily actions.

History of G.T.F. ranking system:

Kel-West Academy of Taekwon-Do and Hapkido follows the traditional G.T.F. belt-ranking system that was originally implimented by General Choi Hong Hi (founder of T.K.D.) in 1966 and subsequently used by G.T.F. founder Grand Master Park Jung Tae at Taekwon-Do schools in more than 100 countries throughout the world.

There are six orders of belts: White, Yellow, Green, Blue, Red and Black.

There is one stripe, only, between each solid belt-rank colour (two stripes for very young children).

In Taekwon-Do, character development, fortitude, tenacity and technique are graded, as well as individual capacity. The promotional scale is divided into nineteen ranks - 10 GRADE ranks (Gups) and nine DEGREE ranks (Dans).

The former begins with 10th Grade (the lowest) and ends at 1st Grade. Degrees begin with the first degree (or Dan) and ends with the ultimate, ninth degree (or Dan)

There is, of course, a certain significance in the numbering system. With degree, the number 9 is not only the highest one among one digit numbers but also is the number of "3" multiplied by "3." In the orient, three is the most esteemed of all the numbers.

In ancient times, it was believed that the individual who was successful in promoting his country, fellowmen and God, and able to able to reach an accord with all three would aspire to become KING. Meanwhile, the Chinese character for three and KING are nearly synonymous. When the number three is multiplied by itself, the equation is nine, the highest of the high; therefore, ninth degree is the highest of the high ranking belts.

It is also interesting to note that when the numeral 9 is multiplied by any other single digit and the resultant figures are added together, the answer always equals 9 (i.e. 9x1=9, 9x2=18, 1+8=9 and so on, up to 9x9=81, 8+1=9). Since this is the only single digit having this property, it again points to the number nine as being the most positive of figures.

Taking the use of the number three, one step further, the degrees are further divided into three distinct classes. First through third degree is considered the novice stages of black-belt.

Students are merely beginners in comparison with the higher degrees. Fourth through Sixth Degree is the expert class, while the last grouping (Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Degrees) is composed of Taekwon-Do masters - the elite who fully understand all the particulars of Taekwon-Do; mental and physical.

Graphic of the Kel-West Belt System

Copyright 1992 - Taekwon-Do: The Complete Syllabus (3rd Edition)
By: Grand Master Leong, Wai Meng, 9th Degree

Greed is insatiable?

" A person who is content with what he has - is the richest man in the world. On the other hand, he who has everything but still craves for more can be regarded with pity, for he has yet to find his peace of mind. Greed is a hungry flame - fanned by discontentment which can consume the person who is playing with it. To keep this dangerous creature at bay, self-satifaction is very important and this can be developed by promoting a generous nature. "

Grand Master Leong Wei Meng, 9th Dan

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