Belts in Hapkikwan

Similar to the vast majority of other martial arts, in Hapkikwan there are also "colored" and black belts. In fact, there are ranks, provided that (taking into account the tradition of Korean martial arts here) student ranks (belts) are called "Kup" and black "Dan."



1.Coloured (student) belts. – There are in total 10 colored (under black) belts in Hapkikwan. Depending on the progress, practitioner gradually moves  through the hierarchy.

Colored belts are (from lower to higher):

10th Kup - yellow belt
9th Kup – higher yellow belt
8th Kup – green belt
7th Kup – higher green belt
6th Kup – blue belt
5th Kup –higher blue belt

4th Kup –red belt
3rd Kup – higher red belt
2nd Kup –brown belt

1st Kup  - higher brown belt



White belt (10th Kup) if for a complete novice, who obtaines this rank on the very first day of entry into the club. The next is yellow belt (9th Kup) and it usually it takes 3-4 of regular training to achieve it.

Each belt with strap is higher (new) belt compared to those without it. The tape only serves to reduce the number of colored bands. So, yellow belt (9th Kup) and higher yellow belt (yellow belt with green stripe, 8th Kup) are two completely different belts, demanding different knowledge. The same goes for other belts.

Pace of progress through the belts depends on the speed of mastering. It is individual and determined by many factors, such as the regularity of the training, previous experience, the talent for fighting, age, etc. However, in most cases the belts are aquired according to this scheme



Rang Belt Minimum of practicing since last exam
10th kup


when enrolling
9th kup yellow with green stripe 3 months
8th kup green 3 months
7th kup green with blue stripe 3 months
6th kup blue 4 months
5th kup blue with red stripe 4 months
4th kup red 4 months
3rd kup red with brown stripe 5 months
2nd kup brown 5 months
1st kup brown with black stripe 6 months
1st dan black with one yellow stripe 8 months




In this way, before the exam for the 1st Dan (the first black belt) one must have total at least 48 months of regular training, i.e. about 4,5 calendaryears of active training. In practice, in most cases it takes about 5-6 years.

Each belt has its own program that contains precisely defined requirements i.e. defenses and techniques. To pass belt exam, candidate has to perform successfully at least 80% of the program. To the extent that it is justified, account of gender and age of candidates is taken into consideration.Thus, for example. boards that break men are 2,5 cm thick, and those that break women only 2 cm. From those who are older then 35 years notnecessarily is required the highest standard in all aspects, especially in kicking and free sparring. This, however, is compensated by a larger demand in respect to the techniques arsenal. Those who are younger than 16 years do not break boards.

Student ranks in Hapkikwan can be awarded according to this scheme:



The lowest rank of examiner The highest belt he is authorized to give:” 
1st Dan 6th Kup (higher green belt)
2nd Dan 4th Kup (higher blue belt)
3rd Dan 2nd Kup (higher red belt)
4th Dan 1st Kup (brown belt)






Integral parto of Hapkikwan is breaking boards


2.Black belts. - Black belts are (from lower to higher, with the official title):

1st Dan – Younger Instructor;
2nd Dan – Instructor;
3rd Dan – Senior Instructor;
4th Dan – Younger Master;
5th Dan – Master;
6th Dan – Senior Master;
7th Dan – International Master;
8th Dan – Grandmaster;
9th Dan – Grandmaster;
10th Dan – Head Grandmaster, Founder

For black belts there are some limitations in terms of minimum age required and in terms of minimum lapse of time since the last assessmen:



Black belt rank

Minimal lapse of time
(length of practice)
Minimal age
1st Dan 5 years (in total) 16 years
2nd Dan 2 years (since last exam) 18 years
3rd Dan 2 years (since last exam) 20 years
4th Dan 4 years (since last exam) 24 years
5th Dan 4 years (since last exam) 28 years
6th Dan 6 years (since last exam) 34 years
7th Dan 6 years (since last exam) 40 years
8th Dan 8 years (since last exam) 48 years
9th Dan 8 years (since last exam) 56 years


Black belt ranks in Hapkikwan can be awarded according to this scheme:

The lowest rank of examiner Highest rank (belt) he can award
5th Dan, Master 1st Dan
6th Dan, Senior Master 2nd Dan
7th Dan, International Master 4th Dan
8th Dan, Grandmaster 5th Dan
9th Dan, Grandmaster 7th Dan
10th Dan, Founder 9th Dan


Throwing knives is also part of curricullum

The road to black belt

One of the most frequent questions of novice is how long it takes to train to get a black belt?

It takes about 5-6 years of regular training, provided that there are at least about 4,5 hours of training per week. In most cases that is as much as it takes to get from the absolute beginner to the 1st Dan (first black belt degree). In practice, this period of training can vary depending on many factors -age, discipline, talent, a certain knowledge (for example if someone practiced before some other martial art, complementary to Hapkikwan, he will adwance much faster), commitment and intensity of training etc.

With all the positive changes in the methodology of training and using modern equipment, the program of Hapkikvana is very extensive andsimply can not be mastered in less time, to the extent that gives the right to wear a black belt. Exceptions are, of course, those who have already earned a black belt in another art, and as such have a specific technical, tactical and other knowledge and mental and phisycal level, which facilitate and accelerate their progress.

However, belts are like certificates of completion of the class (in school) meaning a part of the hierarchy (as a rank in army). They are only relative label of substance. If someone attacks you on the street you really have to be able to defend yourself, and the belt itself will not help you at all.

Only calmness, knowledge (skills) and experience.

It should be noted that the 1st Dan is only the first black belt! By gaining the 1st Dan practicioner still has not become a Master!! He just starts to study on the higher level (like when someone after finishing primary school goes to high school). Every subsequent black belt (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Dan and so on) has its own program which is new and different. However, the holder of the Hapkikwan 1st Dan black belt by no means  is expected to be good and experienced fighter.


The training program in Hapkikwan

Hapkikvan is a comprehensive martial art. When acquring the first level black belt (1st Dan) practitioner is supposed to know all the basicelements of combat – not only to safely fall on the ground and punch and kick, but also so many ways to throw an opponent, so many joint locks, how todefend against attacks with batons and knives, etc.

Taking into account the very extensive program, Hapkikwan students learn gradually from simpler to more complex elements, with each level todo things.

For instance for the very first coloured (yellow) belt, one has to learn all basic stances, several dozens defences from the basic grips, basicblocks and basic punches and kicks, and so on. The higher is the belt, the richer and more complex becomes the program. The longer practicicant has been practicing, the more he becomes accustomed to the system. During the process of traininig he slowly, even unconsciously, accepts principles of Hapkikwan and the combat in general.




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