In Tang Soo Do Each belt color has a philosophical meaning:
The White Belt
Season: Winter (Pure, empty, innocent)
As a white belt, you're a beginner. You've made the commitment to train in Tang Soo Do. White is the color of snow. Your skills are hidden beneath and are not yet exposed, as that will come as your training progresses. The Winter months are cold and unpredictable – just like the movements of the white belt. As you continue down the path of your training, your level of skill will eventually begin to bloom.
Animal Representation: Tiger
A tiger is fast, rigid and aggressive. White belts, like tiger cubs, are often eager to learn. Raw power, not yet refined.
Metal is stiff and solid, much like the movements of a white belt. You will wear no trim on your dobok (uniform). Even at yellow, orange and orange with a stripe, you will wear no trim, as you are still considered a beginner.
The Green Belt
As a green belt, your skill level grows, just like the flora and fauna in the Spring Equinox. Spring represents growth.
Your techniques are sharper, your spirit and confidence are in full bloom and you start to realize the philosophical as well as the physical aspect of Tang Soo Do. At this rank, you will wear green trim on your dobok to match the color of your belt.
Animal Representation: Dragon
The dragon is powerful, but not very graceful. As a green belt, you are now learning intermediate techniques that require you to be air born.
You will also learn spinning techniques.
Wood is hard and rigid, but certainly softer than metal. The green belt is beginning to gain confidence and will relax more while executing techniques, which, by the way, are becoming softer, with more fluidity.
They’re much more focused where technique is concerned, which is a testament to their transition from beginner to intermediate.
The Red Belt
Red belts often train with fiery intensity. They are learning and mastering advanced techniques. In summer, the leaves on the trees, are in full bloom, similar to the red belt’s skill level.
Animal Representation: Bird
Like the bird, red belts are high flyers, capable of delivering techniques with almost surgical precision and lightning speed.
They’re one step away from achieving the coveted rank of cho dan (Black belt).
The element of fire is philosophically indicative of the red belt’s fervor.
They’re advanced now - And with advancement, comes the beginning stages of responsibility and leadership.
Their confidence level is sky high and they actually feel a lot more comfortable teaching lower ranks.
As a red belt, you will now wear red trim on your dobok, to match the color of your belt.
The Black Belt
Fall is the philosophical season of the black belt. The emphasis now, is not so much the physical, but the philosophical.
They’re looked up to and counted on for guidance and instruction. At black belt, the journey is just beginning.
You must now pass your knowledge and expertise down to the lower ranks to help them grow.
Animal Representation: Turtle
The turtle is an animal that moves slowly, but very purposefully. It is stoic and powerful. Like black belts, they would rather not fight - but will defend themselves fiercely when threatened, or provoked.
Water is the element of the Black Belt. It is the most powerful element. Water rusts metal, rots wood and douses fire. It can take any shape or form. It is powerful, peaceful, flowing and inviting. Water is essential to all life, just as Black Belts are essential to the life of Tang Soo Do. Like water, those who hold the rank of Black Belt must be respected. They are strong and powerful, yet have so much they are willing to share with others, peacefully.
Courage - Strength - Discipline - Respect