When you first walk into a dojang, you notice that the students are wearing white uniforms and belts of various colors. You may wonder what is the significance of the different color belts. The belt colors signify the approximate Taekwondo skill levels of the wearers.
The founder of one of the "realistic" martial arts says that "the claim that a belt is a certification of ability is the original sin of the martial arts community." In his opinion, if a karate belt was really a certification of ability, the holder would have to re-test at regular intervals. I guess this means your college degree is useless unless you re-test for it regularly. This founder, like other of his ilk, likes to quote Bruce Lee who said, "I don't hold a belt. A belt holds up my pants." Of the thousands of martial arts masters throughout the centuries who have left us innumerable words of wisdom, he quotes an entertainment celebrity who never competed where he had to prove his claims and who would probably have remained relatively unknown had it not been for the entertainment industry and other entertainers who were his students.
In the dojang, there is no age, gender, cultural, or racial barriers; all students begin their training at the lowest skill level, the white belt. Each student then trains and progresses at his or her own rate in accordance to his or her own desire and ability. During this training process, students develop proficiency at performing Taekwondo techniques, while also developing the physical characteristics of strength, stamina, quickness, flexibility, coordination, and balance. They develop the important mental characteristics of patience, humility, self-control, perseverance, concentration, and respect. They also gain knowledge about Taekwondo and its origin. As students develop these skills, physical and mental characteristics, and knowledge, they are awarded colored belts to signify their level of knowledge and proficiency.
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