Rank Requirements

The Journey


Your progression through Tang Soo Do must really be viewed not as a race to a certain goal, but rather as a journey through life. The various ranks that you may attain on this journey are simply milestone markers. While they are important in that they allow you to measure the progress that you have made in your journey, they are not the reason for the journey.

Likewise, while achieving the rank of Blackbelt is a tremendous accomplishment, it is not the reason for your journey; it is merely another milestone. If anything, it is the milsetone that signals the end of the beginning of your journey. Consider this: it takes longer to move from 1st Degree to 3rd Degree Blackbelt, than it does to move from novice beginner to 1st Degree Blackbelt. Attaining the rank of Blackbelt simply means that you have learned what is required to become a true martial artist - now you have to strive to become one.

A black belt is not the end of your journey; the journey never ends. The goal of the journey is to better yourself in all aspects of your life; personal, professional and spiritual. In effect, the goal of your journey is the journey itself.


  • In addition to learning the requirements of a given rank, a students must demonstrate that they have retained the knowledge of the requirements of all previous ranks.
  • Additional aptitude in set-piece self-defense may also be included as a requirement of a given rank at the discretion of the Master Instructors.
  • Students must attend a minimum of nine classes per month to be eligible to grade to a higher rank. The Master Instructors may make exceptions for special circumstances such as an illness.
  • The minimum amount of time in a rank is just that; the minimum. If a student does not display the required level of understanding for the requirements of a given rank, additional time in rank is needed.
  • If a student displays high aptitude and knowledge of the required material, advancement of more than one rank can occur at the lower Gup levels (pre-Greenbelt) at the discretion of the Master Instructors. E.G. 10-Gup to 8-Gup, 9-Gup to 7-Gup.
  • A student advancing from 1-Gup to Apprentice Blackbelt must exhibit proficiency with at least one weapon.
  • Students may begin training with weapons once they have achieved the rank of 8-Gup. All students must begin weapons training with the Bo (long staff.) Students may not move on to train with additional weapons until they have proven a level of proficiency with the Bo. This proficiency is determined by testing for and obtaining their bo patch . (A small patch worn on the left sleeve of their dobahk.) While earning a Bo patch does give a student the option to move on to train with additional weapons, for reasons of safety, the Master Instructors reserve the right to limit which secondary weapons that a student may choose.
  • Black Belt hyung requirements are available on the Cheezic Federation website Additional Black Belt requirements include the fourth part of all five Il Soo Sik Dae Ryun sets, as well as any other additional requirements in self-defense, breaking, sparring and terminology as determined by the Master Instructors.