About the Ranks
In Te Kwon Do the color belt represents the progress a student is making towards achieving their Black Belt. Each colored belt represents a certain level of accomplishment or a skill learned. Unlike many other martial arts, Tae Kwon Do follows a somewhat uniform belt system. Meaning that if a practitioner changes their school, the new school will more than likely have the same belt system. His technique will be at par with the new school according to the rank he holds.
Under World Taekwondo Federation and Olympic rules, sparring is a full-contact match which is fought between two fighters in a fighting square that measures 8 meters square. There are two ways to win a match. The first is by scoring the most points and the second is a knockout. A knockout is an immediate win. Each fight is three rounds with a one minute break in between, of which the competitor sits with his side coach. Competitors are also fully equipped for each fight. A chest protector, a helmet, feet, shin guards, fist protectors, arm pads, and a mouth guard are some of the equipment a fighter will wear.
History of Tae Kwon Do
Tae Kwon Do, was recognized on April 11, 1955 in South Korea. It was at this point that it was established as a modern martial art. The history of Tae Kwon Do can be traced back into Korea's early beginnings. Not much is known about the early people of Korea, but what is known is that immigrants from Northern China most likely crossed the Korean peninsula, bringing with them fighting skills to protect themselves from enemy attacks.
Young men were trained in unarmed combat to develop their strength, speed, and survival skills. Developed during the period of the three rival Korean kingdoms of Goguryeo, Silla and Baekje, the most popular of these techniques was subak. Subak was a combination of wrestling (Judo platform) and hand techniques. It was at this point that the Koreans also introduced the unique tactic of using their feet as weapons thus introducing the kicks we see in tae Kwon Do. This new technique became known as Tae kkyeon (aka: tae kyon) which means "the method of stomping or kicking." This notion was unique to Korea, and until today it remained a strong part of the Korean culture.
Another major influence on today's Taekwondo is the philosophy and code developed for training the youth of Korea's nobility during the 7th century AD. Only a select group of young men were chosen to demonstrate their natural ability to demonstrate their skills. This group were called Hwarang - - which means "Flowering men." These young men were cultured and taught skills to become productive members of society or strong military leaders, and or soldiers. They were taught arts, philosophy, music, poetry, and academics, and they were challenged physically to become skilled fighters. They studied in combat (most likely the grappling and kicking of subak and Tae kkyeon). They also were skilled horse riders, swordsmen, and archers.