Do You Have to Earn a White Belt in Taekwondo?

Taekwondo is a great traditional kicking-based martial art that most people are familiar with. Taekwondo is even taught in many countries as a part of the school system like Honduras. People often ask what it takes to get their white belt in Taekwondo, so let’s take a look.

You do not have to earn a white belt in Taekwondo. You “earn” your Taekwondo white belt by taking the first step and starting classes in Taekwondo. A white belt in Taekwondo is awarded at the very beginning of your training and typically comes with the Taekwondo gi.

Now that we know that simply starting Taekwondo training earns you your white belt, let’s take a look at what being a Taekwondo white belt actually means in the context of this martial art.

How Long Does It Take to Get a White Belt in Taekwondo?

You gain the white belt rank in Taekwondo when you take your first class. In traditional martial arts like Taekwondo, a white belt represents the newness and purity of a beginning student. This comes from the martial arts mythos that a white belt becomes dirty and black as you progress to expert levels.

How Long Do You Stay a White Belt in Taekwondo?

A typical Taekwondo student will train between 2 to 3 months in order to be promoted to a white belt with a yellow stripe. There will be variance between Taekwondo schools in regards to promotion expectations and timelines. Take a look here to get an idea of how one school handles these promotions.

What Is a White Belt in Taekwondo?

A Taekwondo martial artist with a white belt is a complete beginner in this martial art. It symbolizes the beginning of the journey through Taekwondo. Typically white belts in Taekwondo have less than 6 months of training but specific timelines will vary based on what school is attended.

What is Expected of a White Belt in Taekwondo?

A white belt in Taekwondo is expected to learn the culture and rules of the school and learn how to behave within a traditional martial arts environment. An early martial artist will focus on building basic skills and practicing poomsae, the Korean martial arts word for forms, similar to a kata.

Does Taekwondo Award Stripes to White Belts?

Taekwondo does include a striping system as proof of learned skills and traits for each belt rank including white belt. Individual Taekwondo schools have very different expectations for belts and stripes. For a rundown of how one school handles it, take a look at the stripe system at Akula.

What are the Belt Ranks in Taekwondo?

Taekwondo belt ranking systems vary by main governing bodies, which are the WT (World Taekwondo) and the ITF (International Taekwon-Do Federation). WT is the ruleset that the Olympics uses and is focused on sport. ITF is the ruleset meant for traditional self-defense.

The WT belt ranking system is as follows:

  • White
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Green
  • Purple
  • Blue
  • Blue and Black
  • Brown
  • Brown and Black
  • Red
  • Red and Black
  • Black Belt (1st Dan)

The ITF belt ranking system is as follows:

  • White
  • White and Yellow
  • Yellow
  • White and Green
  • Green
  • Green and Blue
  • Blue
  • Blue and Red
  • Red
  • Red and Black
  • Black Belt (1st Dan)

Are Taekwondo White Belts Allowed to Compete?

Some tournaments will restrict Taekwondo white belts from competing due to safety concerns, but most Taekwondo tournaments allow white belts to compete. It is a great learning experience for new martial artists and will definitely help you get used to expectations and how tournaments actually work.

Final Thoughts

Getting a white belt in Taekwondo happens when you walk in the door, but that is a very important step in your martial arts training journey. Enjoy your time at white belt and keep your progression going and enjoy the journey!

For more check out Do You Need to Be Fit to Start Taekwondo?


Hi, I'm Andre and I am the author of this website. I currently train primarily in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but supplement with other grappling martial arts as well as help to coach my kid's blended grappling program.

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