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Taekwondo is a Martial Art based around self-defence, and its literal translation is “the way of kicking and punching” or “the way of the foot and fist”. Its origins are in South Korea, where it was known as one of the world’s oldest forms of Martial Arts. Taekwondo began to grow around the world in the 1950, where in 1955 the modern form of the sport was formed by Grandmaster Choi Hong Hi, who was a Major General in the South Korean Army.

Taekwondo made its first appearance at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul as a demonstration sport, before being a full-medal sport in 2000 at Sydney. Along with Judo it’s one of just two Asian Martial Arts included in the Olympics, and today the sport is now practiced by tens of millions of people globally – making Taekwondo one of the most popular Martial Arts in the world.


Taekwondo classes teach a range of different principles some of which are related to physical techniques, others that teach mental disciplines too. The physical techniques are based around an understanding of kicking and punching, and will teach balance, movement and control, as well as developing strength and flexibility. Mental disciplines include improved focus, better self-discipline and the ability to meet training goals in order to progress through the different belts.


The different colour Taekwondo belts represent the different levels of progression in the sport. The beginner grade is white belt and goes through to the advanced ‘Dan’ black belt. There can be different grading systems in place depending on the school or particular style of Taekwondo, but some of the grades could include:

10th Kup: White Belt

9th Kup: White Belt with Yellow Stripe

8th Kup: Yellow Belt

7th Kup: Yellow Belt with Green Stripe

6th Kup: Green Belt

5th Kup: Green Belt with Blue Stripe

4th Kup: Blue Belt

3rd Kup: Blue Belt with Red Stripe

2nd Kup:
Red Belt

1st Kup:
Red Belt with Black Stripe

1st Dan: Black Belt (one gold stripe)

2nd Dan: Black Belt (two gold stripes)

3rd Dan: Black Belt (three gold stripes)

4th Dan: Black Belt (four gold stripes)

5th Dan: Black Belt (five gold stripes)

6th Dan: Black Belt (six gold stripes)

7th Dan: Black Belt (seven gold stripe)

8th Dan: Black Belt (eight gold stripes)

9th Dan: Black Belt (nine gold stripes)

10th Dan: Black Belt (ten gold stripes)


Taekwondo classes are available to anyone and everyone, no matter what your background, age, gender or fitness levels. For younger children, lessons can start from as young as 3 years old, and there is no upper end to the scale. You don’t have to have and prior experience either – most Taekwondo clubs will accept people with no experience whatsoever. So even if you consider yourself very unfit, and haven’t tried a sport in years, then you’ll be welcomed at your local Taekwondo club.

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