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The answer to this question depends on the official recognition of Taekwondo rank in Korea, or arbitrary rank established by and independent organization, or often times, an uncertified instructor.

Since Taekwondo is a Korean Martial Art, the terminology is based not only on the Korean language, but the official headquarters of Taekwondo world-wide. According to the Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters in Seoul, Korea), the correct answer is poom 품. The following is from their website:

"Kukkiwon Regulations:

Article 8 : Time & Age Limits for Poom or Dan Promotion

1st Poom Less than 15 Years Old

1st Dan 15years and above "

In the Korean language, the terms "geup" and "dan" are both defined in the dictionary as meaning a grade level. In the profession of Taekwondo, these terms have been officially used to mean "grade of the color belt" and "Degree of the Black Belt for age 15 and older" respectively.

The term "geup" 급 (sometimes written as "gup") means a "grade" and is used for the color belt for all ages from the beginner white belt "mu geup" (meaning "no grade," or sometimes "sip geup" for 10th grade) and counting down to "Il geup" or 1st Grade.

The term "Dan" 단 (pronounced "dahn" like the name "Don") means "Degree" and is reserved for students age 15 and older. Although any school who wants to make up their own ranks and titles, and not follow the Korean guidelines might choose to call a child under the age of 15 a "Black Belt" or a certain "Dan" rank (IE: 1st Degree, 2nd Degree, 3rd Degree, etc.) this is an unauthorized practice usually used to appease the parent and children who do not understand the seriousness of authentic training, and the significance of legitimate credentials. Some modern instructors cave in to this pressure and let the children wear full Black Belts, and call them a "Dan" rank.

If their certificate comes from the Kukkiwon in Korea, it should say "Poom" and not "Dan," and they should wear the traditional half-red/half-black belt with the same red/black color on their v-neck uniform. Modern independent organizations outside of Korea often do whatever they want, and change the belts, uniform design and trim color, as well as titles for junior black belts.

(see discussion page for additional comments)

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12y ago
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14y ago

poom - all taekwondo students who reach the level of black belt before their fifteenth birthday are properly referred to as poom (Jr Black Belt) by Kukiwon criteria (the world headquarters in Seoul, South Korea). A Black Belt at the age of fourteen and under is called a "poom" (not a Dan), and is designated by wearing the poom di (black over red belt), with the black and red collar trim. The younger students may earn 1st through 4th poom just like 1st through 4th Dan for the adults.

When they turn fifteen to eighteen (15 - 18) they are allowed to transfer their rank to the appropriate dan level depending on their age and poom level.

A "Dan" is an adult Black Belt, age 15 or older. Some independent organizations might require the student to be 16 or older to wear the Black Belt.

(note: some organizations do not use the half Black/half red poom belt or rank, and might allow children (particularly in the U.S.) to wear a full Black Belt. This is mostly due to commercial marketing in a society where there are no legal requirements for claiming to be a Martial Art Master or teacher, and many untrained con artists open schools and basically "sell" ranks with little skill requirements. They issue Black Belts to children and brag that they have their student is the "youngest" Black Belt in the country. To compete with this, some legitimate instructors have caved in to the pressure of the Western consumer, and began issue Black Belts, but try to maintain a higher standard of requirement in some cases.)

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11y ago

No, not by official standards.

According to the Kukkiwon, World Taekwondo Headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, any student under the age of 15 who passes the requirements beyond 1st geup is awarded the "Poom" (Jr. Black Belt) with a Poom certificate and wearing a half black/half red belt. "Dan" (degree) is an adult rank awarded only to those age 15 and older, and only the adults are permitted to wear a full Black Belt.

Some clubs and organizations do not follow those rules, and award a full Black Belt to children, and call them "dan" ranks, mostly for publicity and to appease the parents who want black belts for their little children.

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