10 - White Belt
10.1 - About Your Belt
The Tae Kwon Do white belt is given; it is not earned. It shows only that you are a student of Tae Kwon Do. It is not a rank. Within Tae Kwon Do, most symbols — belt colors, components of the Korean flag, and so on — have meaning, either historical, symbolic, or both. In Tae Kwon Do, the white belt signifies the beginning of day, and innocence, as that of the beginning student who has no previous knowledge of Tae Kwon Do.
10.2 - What You Will Learn in White Belt
As a white belt, you learn the basic components of Tae Kwon Do. This includes specific types of attacking techniques which use the hands and feet, and general blocking techniques.
You will be taught how to stretch effectively. You should pay close attention to the exact methods described by the instructor; you can get hurt stretching as easily as you can when using offensive and defensive karate techniques. When performed correctly, stretching techniques improve your physique, reduce injury and strain as a result of martial arts techniques, and improve your health and day to day flexibility and range of motion.
You will learn the basic stances, or positions, used in Tae Kwon Do. These stances form the basis for both defensive and attack footwork, as well as providing stability and strength when under attack.
You will learn three combination patterns, called Hyung or Poom Se; these are called "Forms" in English. They combine the techniques you have learned into a series of moves designed to improve your ability to use the various techniques with one another, and to fine-tune your skills in using these techniques in general.
You will learn a small number of Korean terms. There are some terms you need to know, such as "Attention", "Get Ready" and "Bow", names of blocking and kicking techniques, and also items such as numbers and enumeration. All of these are regularly used during training. In addition, if you ever participate in formal competitive or tournament activity, or if you have occasion to interact with another instructor of Tae Kwon Do, you will need these terms.
You will learn and obey the formal rules of respect that form the basis for all activity within the school.
Once you have the basic stances, hand, foot and blocking techniques learned you have made a strong start on Tae Kwon Do. Much of your future training is refinement. For instance, while it takes only a few minutes to learn a particular stance, it can literally take years to perfect that same stance. Issues such as precise positioning of the shoulders, hips and feet, stability, focus and concentration, all affect the basic technique. To this, you can add the complexity of changing to, and from, that stance, and using it in combination with various other blocking, kicking and punching techniques.
As you can see, the simplicity of a particular technique is only a surface illusion. Tae Kwon Do techniques are as simple as the surface of a clear pool; and as deep as the thought and effort you put into them over time.
10.3 - Promotion
When and if sabumnim feels you are ready, you will be offered the opportunity to execute the techniques you have learned in a formal testing environment. This test will help the sabumnim determine if you have completely and correctly learned those portions of Tae Kwon Do which entitle you to the first earned ranking: the yellow belt. If sabumnim feels that your performance during the test warrants it, you will receive a promotion.
In some cases, students are "double-promoted". A double promotion may be given by sabumnim for performance under test which the sabumnim considers beyond that which is expected for that test. A student who earns such an honor deserves respect from all. Show your respect with quiet congratulations; avoid jealous feelings as they will not help you advance your own skills.
You should also be aware that it is quite possible to fail a rank test. Even though a student may perform well on individual techniques in class, well enough to impress sabumnim to offer formal testing, at test time all of those techniques are performed one after another and in various combinations. This is more difficult than class work. In addition, students often feel more pressure under formal conditions for various personal reasons. This often adversely affects an individual's performance. Failure indicates only a need for further study; it is not a negative indication of your potential or your worth.
Avoid disappointed feelings and use such test results as a help in your training. All students can expect to fail one or more ranking tests, especially as they advance to higher belts and the difficulty of the training increases.
10.4 - Kicks learned during white belt training
10.5 - Chambers learned during white belt training
10.6 - Hand Strikes learned during white belt training
10.7 - Blocks learned during white belt training
10.8 - Stances learned during white belt training
10.9 - Korean Terms learned during the white belt training period
(Including some common translations from Japanese Karate)