As students progress in their training, they have the opportunity to advance in rank through our belt promotion system. This system serves as a recognition of their dedication, hard work, and the progress they make in their Taekwondo journey. Each rank represents a new chapter in their martial arts development, and with it comes a unique set of challenges and goals to overcome.

The path to higher ranks involves passing a belt promotion test, which is a significant milestone in a student’s Taekwondo journey. This test evaluates their technical proficiency, stamina, and understanding of Taekwondo principles. To ensure consistency and uphold the standards of traditional Taekwondo, we follow the guidelines set forth by the prestigious Kukkiwon, the World Taekwondo Headquarters, based in South Korea.


At every rank, there are minimum requirements that students must demonstrate to the best of their ability. These requirements cover a range of essential hand and foot techniques, including strikes, blocks, kicks, and stances, which form the foundation of their Taekwondo repertoire. We also emphasize the importance of poomsae (ie – forms).  Additionally, we emphasize the importance of learning Korean terminology related to these techniques, fostering a deeper connection to the rich cultural heritage of Taekwondo.

Color Belt Testing

  • Hand and Foot Techniques: To gain a comprehensive understanding of Taekwondo hand and foot techniques, you can refer to the detailed guidelines available in this document here.
  • Terminology : To familiarize yourself with specific Korean terminology used in Taekwondo, you can access the corresponding document here.
  • Sparring : Green belts and above are required to demonstrate their abilities while in full sparring gear during test.
  • Poomsae’s : For practical demonstrations of poomsaes tailored to each color belt rank, you’ll find video recordings by Grandmaster Kim in our Video section.

Danbo Testing

At Kim’s Academy, we acknowledge a transitional stage that occurs between the highest colored belt rank and achieving the first-degree black belt. This transitional rank is referred to as “Danbo.” During this phase, students wear a black belt to symbolize their advancement and are anticipated to showcase their dedication and capability to fulfill the responsibilities associated with being a black belt. To aid students in preparing for this unique rank, we’ve prepared a concise information sheet, which you can view below. Additionally, you have the option to download a copy of the information sheet here.

Summary of Test Requirements (Black Belts)

As a Black Belt, your journey in Taekwondo is an ongoing process of growth and refinement.  You will be introduced to new poomsae that go beyond the complexity and challenge of those practiced by color belt students.  Each poomsae is a stepping stone to higher levels of expertise and proficiency in this ancient art.  In 2020 the Kukkiwon published updated requirements for Dan promotions as part of a global campaign.  This also included new videos posted online demonstrating each Black Belt form with detailed information on how each technique is expected to be executed within the form.  We have provided links to the videos here for review; they start with an overall demonstration of the form followed by detailed discussion of the techniques, then a final review.

Variations in the implementation of techniques within poomsaes among Grandmasters are frequent and can be ascribed to various factors such as interpretation, historical impacts, teaching philosophy, and individual style. At Kim’s Academy, our commitment lies in preserving the techniques handed down by Grandmaster Kim across all the poomsae we practice. Simultaneously, we acknowledge the stringent requirements set by Kukkiwon for Dan promotions, which are anticipated to be adhered to by all Black Belts, regardless of their school. Juggling two distinct sets of techniques over time can pose challenges. At Kim’s Academy, all our Black Belts hold Kukkiwon certification, and Grandmaster Kim advises Black Belt students to exercise their discretion when it comes to managing these techniques effectively.

To aid students in preparing for testing in the Dan ranks, we’ve prepared a concise information sheet, which you can view below. Additionally, you have the option to download a copy of the information sheet here.

Additional Test Requirements (All Dan Ranks)

In addition to the information and links provided in the summary of requirements for Color Belts, students testing for Danbo through 4th Dan must write a thesis on what Taekwondo means to them.  The paper must be 2 pages in length for every Dan rank the student is testing for and written in 12 point font.  For example, a student testing for 3rd Dan should have a paper 6 pages in length.

Additional Test Requirements (Testing For 5th Dan and Above)

In addition to the requirements stated above for all Dan ranks, the following requirements are as follows:

    • The testing student is required to submit a video recording of a one-minute sparring session with a live opponent.  The opponent should be roughly the same size and experience of the student.  It is mandatory for both sparring partners to wear full pads for safety and protection during the sparring session.  When shooting the video the testing student must first raise their hand and shout their name loudly before sparring begins.
    • A 5th Dan candidate is required to submit a video recording of themselves performing the following poomsae’s as proficiently as they can:
      • Koryo, Keumgang, Taebaek, and Pyeongwon
    • A 6th Dan and above candidate is required to submit a video recording of themselves performing their designated Black Belt form in addition to the three most recent forms prior.  For instance, a 6th Dan candidate must perform Jitae, Sipjin, Pyeongwon, and Taebaek forms to meet the requirements.
    • It is important that the techniques executed in the form adhere as much as possible to the Kukkiwon standards, as exemplified in the online videos provided.   Links to the Kukkiwon videos are available here in our Video section for reference.  The videos are divided into multiple sections, highlighting the intricacies and nuances of each technique.
    • The thesis composed by the student undergoing testing is a vital component of their Dan promotion submission to the Kukkiwon. To ensure the submission is accepted, the student must adhere to the minimum page requirements corresponding to the belt rank they are applying for. Failure to meet these requirements will lead to the rejection of their submission by the Kukkiwon.
    • For 5th Dan only, a recommendation letter must be written my Grandmaster Kim.
Ensure that the video recordings exhibit excellent audio and video quality, captured in a well-lit environment. Keep in mind that these videos will be sent to the prestigious Kukkiwon in Seoul, South Korea, where they will be meticulously evaluated by a team of Kukkiwon Senior Master Instructors.  The recordings need to be saved to a USB drive and given to Grandmaster Kim.  If you record these videos yourself you must follow these guidelines:
    • The video quality must be set to 720p (1289×720)
    • Each video cannot exceed 100MB in size
    • The video’s filename should be saved as “Poomsae(your_name).filename_extension”
If you are unable to make these recordings yourself you can make arrangements with Jr Grandmaster Robert Stankey to record your sparring and poomsaes at the Main School.  Send an email to webmaster@kimsacademy.com and he will contact you as soon as possible.

Additional Test Requirements (Testing For 6th Dan and Above)

In addition to the requirements stated above, the testing student must demonstrate the basic movement for their testing Dan rank as shown in the Kukkiwon Basic Movement section linked here in our Video section for reference.

Information regarding the video promotion part of the test was obtained from this site.  If you have any questions about these additional requirements please contact Grandmaster Kim.
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