The Philosophy Behind Belt Colors

The Taegeuk and Um-and Yang instructs us that life is a cycle with no beginning and no ending. It is the perpetual cycle of opposites (sky and earth, male and female, light and darkness, good and evil). This is the philosophical explanation for the colors of the ranking belts (see colors below). These represent the cycle of life of animals and plants (birth, growth, maturation and death). Thus death is not an ending, but another beginning. The cycle repeats, never ending.


White - This color represents the beginning of knowledge and the development of basic skills.  Man is as a seed hidden beneath the winter's snow.

Yellow - This represents the warmth of the winter's sun that melts the winter's snow and allows the seed to germinate. This is the birth of conscious and purposeful action.

Green - This is the color of the sprout and represents the spring when growth and activity abound. This is continued growth of knowledge.

Blue - This is the color of youth, ambition and rapid growth. The seedling is now reaching for the blue sky.

Brown - This represents the earth in which the roots are developing to nourish the plant. The roots of Taegeuk have formed and the growth of knowledge and skills continues.

Red - This represents the summer's sun that swelters with the intensity of the flowering arts and the mature knowledge in the skills and philosophy of Taegeuk.

Black - This is the color of mastery. No color added to this color can change or improve it. This completes a cycle that is now begun again. New knowledge and skills continue in a new cycle.

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