Can You Skip Belts in Taekwondo?

taekwondo belts

While you nurture the exciting thought of having a Taekwondo black belt someday, you might also be considering the possibility of fast-tracking this process. But can you skip belts in Taekwondo?

You cannot skip belts in Taekwondo as each belt represents a significant level of progress and mastery that deserves its own dedication and should not be hurried along. However, with McDojo, you can easily skip belts as long as you are willing to pay for them.

Almost everyone who begins taekwondo training nurture the hope of wearing a black belt someday.

You should however know that rising to the black belt level is an ongoing process.

This means that the process of earning a black belt is even more important than obtaining it for that is how you master the fundamentals of taekwondo.

Each taekwondo training level emphasizes the ongoing development of the practitioner’s mental and physical abilities.

Promotional tests are held throughout the year to assess a student’s ongoing development.

At most taekwondo schools, these tests are normally held every 3 months.

And students who have regularly attended classes and shown progress in their understanding of the art are allowed to take promotion tests to the next gup level at each of these 3-month intervals.

Sadly, despite Taekwondo being one of the easiest martial art to quickly earn a black belt in, students are still looking for ways to shorten or skip some stages as they journey along.

This has contributed to the rise of McDojo, especially in the Western part of the world.

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Skipping belts with McDojo

McDojo is a pejorative term (in the same vein as “McChurch” and “McMansion”) that refers to martial arts academies (generally located in the West) which, rather than being honestly committed to teaching students, are instead primarily concerned with amassing profits.

These martial arts schools are set up not for the promotion of Taekwondo philosophies, but for the selfish gains and support of those looking to bend the rules.

They promise rapid progression through certificates and ranks as long as you are willing to pay for them.

A McDojo can issue you a black belt in 6 months if you have the money!

So, yes, with McDojo, you can skip belts in Taekwondo, but the truth is that you shouldn’t especially if you are serious about learning the discipline the right way.

Remember, here at Martial Arts Republic, we are committed to helping you learn martial art the right way!

Every belt represents a mastery level that deserves its own dedication and should not be taken lightly or hurried along.

Skipping a belt means that you have failed to master the philosophy and skills required to earn that belt.

There is no value to be gained from this, apart, perhaps from playground bragging rights. 

No reputable dojo would and should allow you to progress to a higher level without demonstrating prowess at each level.

Any school promoting this is only making a mockery of the ranking system and devaluing the ranks of all fighters within that dojo.

Unfortunately, there is no standardization by Taekwondo law, and anyone who wants to can set up a dojo, call what they do “Taekwondo” and then issue belts and certifications using any means possible.

How Long Does It Take To Get Each Belt in Taekwondo?

Depending on the belt, it can take as low as 2 months or as high as 2 years to get each belt in taekwondo. For example, the minimum time required to advance from white belt to yellow belt is 2 months, while the minimum time required to move from a red belt with a black stripe to 1st Dan is 9 months.

The table below shows the color of the belt, rank, and minimum time required for advancing from one rank to the next.

When determining if a student must train longer to advance in rank, other factors are considered.

However, these are the minimum time requirements,

For example, a 3rd Gup Blue Belt With Red Stripe must hold that rank for at least 6 months before advancing in rank to 2nd Gup Red Belt.

A 3rd Degree Black Belt must hold that rank for at least 4 years before advancing to 4th Degree Black Belt.

Note that this table is based on a student who attends class at least 3 days weekly, with each class being one and half hours long at least.

This chart is according to the International TaeKwon-Do Association (ITA).

Taekwondo Rank Time Required To Advance In Rank
10th Gup White Belt2 Months (36 Hours)
9th Gup White Belt with Yellow Stripe         2 Months (36 Hours)
8th Gup Yellow Belt2 Months (36 Hours)
7th Gup Yellow Belt with Green Stripe2 Months (36 Hours)
6th Gup Green Belt2 Months (36 Hours)
5th Gup Green Belt with blue stripe3 Months (54 Hours)
4th Gup Blue Belt6 Months (108 Hours)
3rd Gup Blue Belt with Red Stripe6 Months (108 Hours)
2nd Gup Red Belt6 Months (108 Hours)
1st Gup Red Belt with Black Stripe9 Months (162 Hours)
1st Dan (II Dan) Black Belt2 Years
2nd Dan (Ee Dan) Black Belt2 Years
3rd Dan (Sam Dan) Black Belt4 Years
4th Dan (Sa Dan) Black Belt4 Years
5th Dan (Oh Dan) Black Belt6 Years
6th Dan (Yook Dan) Black Belt6 Years
7th Dan (Chil Dan) Black Belt8 Years
8th Dan (Pal Dan) Black BeltN/A
9th Dan (Koo Dan) Black BeltN/A
Table showing the color of the Taekwondo belt, rank, and minimum time required for advancing from one rank to the next.

  10th Gup White Belt  – 2 Months (36 Hours)

  9th Gup White Belt with Yellow Stripe          -2 Months (36 Hours)

  8th Gup Yellow Belt   -2 Months (36 Hours)

  7th Gup Yellow Belt with Green Stripe -2 Months (36 Hours)

  6th Gup Green Belt    -2 Months (36 Hours)

  5th Gup Green Belt with blue stripe     -3 Months (54 Hours)

  4th Gup Blue Belt      -6 Months (108 Hours)

  3rd Gup Blue Belt with Red Stripe       -6 Months (108 Hours)

  2nd Gup Red Belt      -6 Months (108 Hours)

  1st Gup Red Belt with Black Stripe       -9 Months (162 Hours)

  1st Dan (II Dan) Black Belt -2 Years

  2nd Dan (Ee Dan) Black Belt       -2 Years

  3rd Dan (Sam Dan) Black Belt    -4 Years

  4th Dan (Sa Dan) Black Belt        -4 Years

  5th Dan (Oh Dan) Black Belt       -6 Years

  6th Dan (Yook Dan) Black Belt    -6 Years

  7th Dan (Chil Dan) Black Belt      -8 Years

  8th Dan (Pal Dan) Black Belt       -N/A

  9th Dan (Koo Dan) Black Belt      -N/A

Is It Easy to Get a Black Belt in Taekwondo?

When compared to other martial arts, Taekwondo is relatively easy to get a black belt in. A Taekwondo practitioner can earn a first-degree black belt within three to five years.

Taekwondo black belts are achieved in degrees, with the practitioner able to earn their first-degree black belt within three to five years.

This is relatively low since some martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can take as long as 10 years.

While some Taekwondo schools require a minimum of 4-5 years of training before a student can earn a black belt, others do not.

A student must first pass a test based on the school’s syllabus but it is not uncommon for students to fail the test multiple times.

This means that while Taekwondo is relatively easier to learn, it still requires great dedication and hard work to progress through the ranks.

How Do You Skip a Taekwondo belt?

While it’s not advisable to skip taekwondo belts, the best way to do so is to sign up for a McDojo training program where you can quickly be given your desired belts in just a few months.

But, as mentioned earlier, nothing beats the satisfactory feeling of “earning” something instead of buying your way through.

Remember, Taekwondo and martial art, in general, is all about discipline. So, being impatient and skipping belts is not in harmony with the underlying philosophy of the art.

Conclusion

Yes, you can skip Taekwondo belts by spending money at a McDojo. However, the only person you are cheating with is yourself.

Taekwondo belts are there to prove that you have achieved a certain standard in the art.

So, if you skip a level, you are missing out on fundamental learning and you might struggle to compete with your peers when called upon.

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