Soo Bahk Do Curriculum and Rank System
The curriculum taught in every Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan school is the same, and has been set by World Moo Duk Kwan. This is one of the unique aspects of our art; that every student is taught and graded on the same skills. It also means you can walk into any Moo Duk Kwan school around the world and fit in with their classes as your rank is recognised and you'll know exactly what to do.
Detailed explanations of the required curriculum for each level is available to students in the Members Area.
Belt Ranking System
Students begin as 10th Gup (white belt), and progress through the 10 Gup levels to 1st Gup (red belt with two blue stripes). Each of the four belts (white, orange, green, red) have intermediate ranks, indicated by blue stripes. Each belt or stripe is awarded after successfully completing a Shim Sa (grading or assessment).
Korean philosophy holds that black represents perfection, and the culmination of all knowledge. As such, there are no black belts in Soo Bahk Do. In their place, when a student completes their first Dan (degree), they are awarded a midnight blue belt, to symbolise that they will always have more to learn, and will never fully master everything there is to know.
Gup Shim Sa are held within the dojang at regular intervals throughout the year to provide students the opportunity to demonstrate and be assessed on the skills they have learned. If successful, they are promoted to the next level, otherwise they are invited to re-test at a later date. A minimum length of time is required between each rank, however there is no requirement for students to test.
Dan Shim Sa are held twice a year, and are hosted by the Region 3 Examiners (incorporating both New South Wales and the ACT).
All grading results are ratified by the Australian Federation, and are recognised internationally.
White belts / Beginners
Symbolises winter, emptiness, innocence, hidden potential and purity.
As a white belt you represent winter. Your potential and skills are hidden under the pure white snow. As you begin your journey, through training and time your skills and potential will begin to appear.
New students are introduced to the fundamentals of martial arts, with classes focusing on basic hand strikes, kicks, partner work and hyung. Strengthening and conditioning is also incorporated for beginners, however the focus is on quality, not quantity, and new students are encouraged to progress at their own pace. White belts train from 6pm to 7pm.
Represents the time between winter and spring.
The orange belt was originally added by Grandmaster Hwang Kee in 1975, this level was designed as an extra stage of encouragement and motivation. As an orange belt you represent the time between winter and spring. Through your training, some of your skills and potential are beginning to appear like the stalk of a plant pushing up through the snow. Longer classes allow for greater attention to detail, and a more in-depth study of the art.
Symbolises spring, growth, spreading and advancement.
As a green belt you represent spring. Through hard work and training your potential and skills are becoming much more visible, like the new growth of a plant in spring. Just like a new plant your skills must be nurtured through continued hard work and practice so they will continue to grow and blossom. Increased awareness and understanding of the art comes from many hours of training and studying advanced techniques.
Symbolises summer, ripening, 'Yang' and being active.
As a red belt you represent summer. With much hard work, your skills and potential have blossomed and are visible like the petals of a flower. Your training has provided you with strong roots and foundation in Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan. You are the embodiment of yang, by being active and dynamic in your actions, coupled with a greater responsibility in and around the dojang. You are able to accept life's challenges with confidence and a positive attitude.
Midnight Blue --- Dan / Degree
Symbolises autumn, maturity, 'Um', passive force, a time for harvest.
As a Dan you represent autumn. The time spent training has provided you with the skills and maturity to better understand and use Soo Bahk Do. You represent the um or yin, as your training becomes more internalised, with a greater focus on the philosophical aspects of the art and passive force. This knowledge allows you to continue to grow physically and mentally as well as lead a healthy and disciplined life.
There are no black belts in Soo Bahk Do.