What does ‘dan’ mean in Taekwondo?

‘dan’ is a Korean word meaning level or degree. In Taekwondo, a ‘dan’ is a rank of black belt.

dan literally means ‘level’ or ‘degree’.

There are different ranks of black belt, starting with first dan (or first degree in English), which is the level of black belt you are when you’re first promoted to black belt, and going up – usually – to ninth dan (though there are some Taekwondo organisations that award tenth dan black belt). The higher the dan number, the more senior and experienced the person is. It normally takes on the order of decades to reach the highest dan level.

  • first dan / degree
  • second dan / degree
  • third dan / degree
  • fourth dan / degree
  • fifth dan / degree
  • sixth dan / degree
  • seventh dan / degree
  • eighth dan / degree
  • ninth dan / degree

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Want to learn more?

If you'd like to learn more about the Korean terminology used in Taekwondo, consider buying this book: Taekwondo Terminology. It contains an extensive dictionary of terms used in Taekwondo, as well as explanations on how to pronounce Korean words, and aspects of Korean grammar.

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