White

“Never forget that, at the most, the teacher can give you fifteen percent of the art. The rest you have to get for yourself through practice and hard work. I can show you the path but I can not walk it for you.” - Master Tan Soh Tin
 

The white belt represents innocence.  It is the beginning of the cycle, like the cycle of life you begin as an innocent seed waiting for nourishment to grow.  The white belt is the only belt in your training you will receive without taking a test however, it is the most important belt in your training as it symbolizes the fact that you want to challenge yourself and seek to find the best in yourself.  All other belts are built from the white belt as it is the first step in your journey.

Orange

“Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter! Try again. Fail again. Fail better! Understand? Good. Play.” - Masaaki Hatsumi
 

The orange belt represents the early morning sun.  The day breaks with the warm light and majesty of the sun providing the energy needed to grow.  Most styles of martial arts explain the cycle of white to black belt as being like that of the life cycle of a tree, beginning with just an innocent seed and growing strong.  The orange belt represents that first nourishing sun ray that feeds the newly planted seed beginning the journey of life and growth. 

Yellow

“Wearing a black belt does not make you a super hero, and wearing a white belt does not mean you have little to offer as a person. It is what we do in the belts we wear, and not the belts themselves that matter.” - Chris Matakas
 

The yellow belt represents the stronger more warming rays of the morning sun feeding the growth of the martial arts student.  At this point in a student's training they will become more comfortable in the dojo and their techniques will begin to take solid shape.  It is usually with the yellow belt that a student will begin to realize if martial arts is a journey for them or not, a very important stepping stone in the journey indeed.

Camouflage

"Martial Arts should be a way of life, not a job, hobby, sport, but a part of you and the way you live your life."-Frank Gutting

The camouflage belt is the American stylist representation of the first level of green belts and represents the seed sprouting through the earth and beginning to rise to find it's potential.  This level in a student's training is a level that most people do not reach, a true statistic is that most people who sign up for martial arts classes do not make it through training this far.  Those that do already know by this point that the martial arts are a part of them and once a student begins to feel the training as a part of them they can be assured their sprout will continue to grow. By this level of training the student is beginning to feel very confident in the basic techniques and it is the basics that make all of the advanced techniques possible. The basics are the foundation and the foundation makes the house, without it there is nothing else.

Green

"Emotion can be the enemy, if you give into your emotion, you lose yourself. You must be at one with your emotion, because the body always follows the mind." - Bruce Lee

The green belt is the final green level belt and represents the growth of a students knowledge beginning to take shape.  High green belt begins a transition in a students training where the traditional form movements are replaced with real time sparring forms and self defense movements.  Taekwondo incorporates a great deal of sparring with other students to help refine a students timing and ability to read an attacker so a student may be able to defend and react much faster if ever they need to defend themselves.  This belt is an important transitioning period for all students as the base movements are still practiced while transitioning into real world use.

Purple

"Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind." -Zen Saying

The purple belt is the first of the sky representative belts.  The students tree of knowledge is now beginning to grow tall and reach to the heavens for more.  At this point in a students training more work and time is given to allow the student to develop stronger sparring technique and form.  You can learn a great deal from matches against real opponents.  During this phase of training the student begins to see the higher belt ranks over the horizon and that always helps provide motivation to continue to train and learn. 

Blue

"If training is hard, then winning will be easy, but if training is easy, then winning will be hard."-Norman Harris

The blue belt is the second and final sky representative belt.  This level of training is the official half way point and by this point a student is well trained in the basics of self defense and is ready to be challenged.  During this phase in training everything learned during all the previous levels is refined and polished.  Before a student test out of the blue belt phase of training they will have practiced all previous belt phase forms, self defense movements, board breaks and sparring techniques many, many..... many, many, many times. 

Brown

"If you have to think about a technique you haven't done it enough."-Norman Harris

The brown belt signifies a strong root system or foundation.  By this point in a students training they have passed all previous lessons one at a time and then again all at once while testing for the brown belt, it is without any doubt that your roots have grown strong.  Brown belt signifies a transition into the upper belt ranks for a student and is a large stepping stone.  During the brown belt phase of training the basic techniques are reinforced as will always be the case but with the basics will now be more advanced techniques as well. There are two levels of brown belt as there is still a lot to learn for any student.

Red

“You are never as good as you think you are, and you are never as bad as you believe yourself to be.” -Chris Matakas

The red belt symbolizes danger, it is the color of blood and the red hot heat of the sun.  During this phase of training a student is in danger as they are on the edge of attaining the coveted black belt and may be overtaken by their own confidence.  There are more advanced techniques learned during the red belt phase of training.  While these new techniques are being learned a student has to also learn to keep themselves under control, it is all too easy to lose yourself looking ahead and forget about the now.  A student learns to focus their power during the red belt phase of training.  There are three phases of red belt, red, higher red and black belt candidate.  During the black belt candidate phase of training a student must pass several mid-term tests before the black belt rank test can be given.  The teacher has ample opportunity to observe and make sure the student is truly ready.  The red belt phase is a crucial step for the student. Making it this far is a great achievement.

Black

"Black belt is not something you get, it is something you become". - Warrior Spirit

The black belt signifies the darkness beyond the sun, the void.  The void is an endless space open to all possibilities and showing the true meaning of a black belt, not that your journey has ended but instead that it has begun.  Once a student becomes a black belt the instructor acknowledges the students readiness to move beyond the lessons of self defense that are known by the instructor and into the void to continue to learn and create as well as train others in the art of self defense. By this point a student will know their instructor will always have lessons for them and that the journey itself is the destination. The amount of information to learn in the martial arts is truly endless.  The journey into martial arts is a journey of ones self and the idea of what a student may have wanted from training will undoubtedly change from white belt to black, that's part of the journey some would say it's the point of the journey.

What I call the void is where nothing exists. It is about things outside man’s knowledge. Of course the void does not exist. By knowing what exist, you can know that which does not exist. That is the void.
— Miyamoto Musashi