What does it take to be a Black Belt?

Well, first you have to go through all the ‘color’ belts. Different schools may have a different order to their belts. Here at CAMA, this is what we use.


CAMA’s beginner’s program consists of our white, yellow, and orange belts where we teach the basics of taekwondo. We have students from 7 years old to 107 and we design our curriculum for each belt class and age group to let each student progress at their own rate.


Our purple, green, and blue belts rank mark our students as no longer beginners. At this stage, our students can join the black belt club, start sparring and learning to use weapons.


Brown, red, and Cho Dan Bo are the last belt before you begin the black belt candidacy program. At this rank, you can clearly see the maturity, respect, and honor in each student. At this rank, we ask that students assist in class and they can become part of the leadership team after the red belt.

We talk about stripes. This is a record of the required steps to the next belt ranking. It is a simple stripe of tape on the tail of the belt.

Testing for Black Belt is a comprehensive program. While the test is impressive, these candidates actually test for 16 weeks. They have experienced a rigorous program proving they have earned the rank they have achieved.

This 16-week process includes:

Physical Requirements:

4,000          Crunches/Push-Ups

400             Forms (rounds of forms as taught in the do jang)

4,000          Kicks (as taught in the do jang)

2,000          Traditional Basics

120             Rounds of Sparring/Grappling

80              10 minute sessions of Flexibility Training

40              Miles of Running (Not all at once, in weekly sessions)

13              Black Belt Classes (Minimum)

1                CAMA Tournament Participation

Self-Development Requirements

Acts of Kindness and Compassion/Home Help – Adults, 400 – Juniors 300 + 100 Home Chores

Reading/Writing – Read 4 books, Write 1 Book Report and 10 letters

Perseverance Training – 1,000 repetitions of the technique of choice (not necessarily martial arts related)

Healthy Habits Eating clean for 5 days (no caffeine, sugar or alcohol)

Righting Wrongs – Mending 3 relationships

Leadership/Mentoring – Mentor someone for 10 sessions

Meditation/Quiet Time – Minimum of 5 minutes per day

Weekly Journal

Day of Empathy – Choice of Blind, Deaf/Mute, or Wheelchair for a 24 hour period

(This is intense and has changed many student’s lives)

Team Community Service Project – Past groups have raised over $40,000 for Down Syndrome, Red Cross Japan and Breast Cancer, just as examples.

First degree candidates do Higher Self Defense I

Higher belts do Higher Self Defense II


All CDB (First Degree Candidates) forms in addition to Black Belt forms (see forms list below) prior to the bo test. (lots of specifically named forms)

CDB Forms: Tae Guek Yuk Jang, Tae Guek Chil Jang, Tae Guek Pal Jang, Choong Moo Hyung)

Black Belt Forms: Koryo Poomse, Gae Baek Hyung, Gwan Gae Hyung, Tokyo Nomeno Nokuno Dye


Minimum 1.33 years between first degree and second-degree test

12 years old

5 Bo stripes (stripes given for specific accomplishments between tests)

BO STRIPES (equivalent to a Belt test on the way to 2nd Degree)

3 Bo Stripes are tied to testing on curriculum (Can receive 1 Bo stripe for volunteering for 18 participation events)

The Brown or Red Bo – Forms Yuk thru 1st & Physical Requirements (see below) .


Break 1 inch board with spinning Hook kick

15 push-ups, 15 chair kicks

These are very specific requirements. We left the Korean names in to show how much has been learned by this point.

The requirements for those testing for higher belts include these items plus many more stringent requirements at each level.

How Many People are Black Belts?

Just how special is it to be a Black Belt? Here are some incredible statistics about Black Belts as researched by CAMA’s own Master Chris Turnquist.

What you should know:

A Poom is awarded if the participant is under the age of 15, a Dan if they are 15 or over.

Level 10 is only granted after death to those who have achieved special status.

The population for the United States used for these calculations as of May 20, 2017, was 326,002,603

Feel free to say Wow several times! And if you are a Black Belt of any level, congratulations. Now you know just how special you are.

CAMA’s Grand Master Chris Natzke is a 7th degree Black Belt, Master Tim Luft and Master Chris Turnquist are 5th degree Black Belts. We have many 4th degree throughout the three schools.

PoomDanTotal% of US
Total Black Belts350,6720.10757%
4 Master5135,4405,9530.00183%
7 Grand Master4504500.00014%

So that’s how you get to be a Black Belt. It’s not easy, it’s not quick, but oh my goodness, it is so worth it.

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