ITF Gradings 

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ITF Gradings are an important aspect of Taekwon-Do training. They indicate the student’s proficiency in that art, and allow further learning to take place. They are the tool used to determine taekwondo belt advancement.

A grading assesses one’s technical ability, knowledge, indomitable spirit and physical conditioning. The complexity of tasks increases in accordance with rank advancement.

Whilst every grading is important, particularly to the testing candidate, black belt gradings are always one of the highlight ITF events.

The different coloured belts indicate the student’s current level of achievement.

The I.T.F. ranking system 

  • 10th gup White belt / beginner
  • 9th gup Yellow tip
  • 8th gup Yellow belt
  • 7th gup Green tip
  • 6th gup Green belt
  • 5th gup Blue tip
  • 4th gup Blue belt
  • 3rd gup Red tip
  • 2nd gup Red belt
  • 1st gup Black tip
  • 1st Degree – 3rd Degree Boo Sabum (Assistant instructor)
  • 4th Degree – 6th Degree Sabum (Instructor)
  • 7th Degree – 8th Degree SaHyun (Master)
  • 9th Degree SaSung (Grandmaster)
  • Founder General Choi Hong Hi (dec)

The Grading syllabus outlines all areas that need to be fulfilled in order to test for rank promotion.

These requirements include PatternsFundamental movements, Sparring, Breaking, Terminology and Theory, Self Defense and any additional requirements.

Also note that active training time and attendance requirements are also set out, and need to be adhered to.

The grading syllabus is designed specifically for all Thoroughbred Taekwon-Do schools, and is adopted by many associated ITF Taekwon-Do schools.

It encompasses a wide range of self-defense oriented movements and theories, whilst also conforming to the International Taekwon-Do Federation’s requirements.

It is the responsibility of the student to achieve a high level of competence in all areas of grading requirements to the best of their ability.

Students are tested on overall performance in each area, to assess whether rank promotion is warranted.

All Black Belts are expected to have developed proficiency and thorough understanding of all colour belt grading requirements, as well as their own degree level grading requirements.

Grading Results

Distinction Pass (Double rank promotion)
These promotions are rare, and granted very sparingly. A double promotion is generally only given during the lower ranks. It is reserved for the student who has shown exceptional mastery of techniques as well as outstanding attitude, application and attendance.

At ITF Taekwon-Do we encourage excellence and hard work rather than hold back those who excel in determination and dedication.

A double promotion is more common in the case of a student who has previous martial arts background, particularly in Taekwon-do. A student cannot apply for double promotion.

Pass (Single rank promotion)
When a student has performed to a satisfactory level in all grading requirements, a pass is granted. At this point, a student can commence preparing for their next level.

Incomplete Pass (Probation)
A student who has performed satisfactorily in most areas of grading requirements, but has obvious deficiencies in a certain area, will be granted an incomplete pass . They will be required to perform that element again at their next grading, or a date soon after the original grading. If no improvement is shown, no promotion is given.

Pass Incomplete (Re-test required)
When a student has deficiencies in several areas, they will be asked to re-test for the same rank at the next grading. Re-tests are also recommended when a student demonstrates inappropriate etiquette during a grading .

Learning Resources

In addition to links on the resources pages, you may also like to consider our series of Ebooks in our Online Store.

Our ebooks come with detailed instructional information, step by step descriptions and video link to all sequences.

Gup Grading Manual ebook resources

ITF Step Sparring resources

Degree Syllabus resources









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