photo: white belt doing axe kick
photo: Gabe's fancy kick. Folks, don't try this at home!

The color of a student's belt is a mark of rank, and a student's rank is a reflection both of achievement in the art and of the responsibility of authority within the club. Rank gives structure to our community and is a great motivator in training. Training with spirit and dedication – both to improve individually and to improve the club's community by participation, service, and leadership – is ultimately the most important quality for a martial artist in our club to cultivate. You will notice that "advancement in rank," is not among Tae Kwon Do's five aims to achieve. Rank is merely one aspect of the art which facilitates students' pursuit of those aims.

We hold examinations three times per year, at the end of the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Students who have trained regularly during the semester may take the exam and, depending on the results, will advance through the colored-belt ranks. The path from beginner to black belt is very long, but numerous students have made the whole journey in our club.

A new journey begins at black belt: there are nine levels of black belt, and three exams instead of one for each level! Examinations for students advancing to a black belt rank are held irregularly about once a year. They are given by Master Ho Sun Kang, the brother of our founder and the son of Grandmaster Suh Chong Kang. The location is either at his school in Brooklyn, New York, or here at MIT. We are honored that Grandmaster Kang has presided over every one of our black belt exams in New York.