The yellow belt

I am sure many of you know I have done so many martial arts within the past so I figured rather than talking about depressing matters, things in the news, politics or face rapping Xenomorphs I figured I would do a light-hearted article.

This story dates back to when I was younger when I studied a martial art known as Tae Kwon Do from a local school. Tae Kwon Do is a Korean martial art that has a few core focuses and had a grading system that worked like this.

  • White
  • White (Yellow Tag)
  • Yellow
  • Yellow (Green Tag)
  • Green
  • Green (Blue Tag)
  • Blue
  • Blue (Red Tag)
  • Red
  • Red (Black Tag)
  • Black (& dans)

When you started learning Tae Kwon Do you buy yourself a dobok and you always are given a white belt. The idea was the white belt shows your lack of knowledge within the martial art and your acceptance to learn. In other words, white belt shown that you was just starting out.

So after a few lessons learning a few important things such as how to exercise correctly, how you hold a fist correctly and things like that, you then went learnt techniques such as punches, kicks and then finally your lessons started to involve something known as “patterns” which was important for your grading sessions.

So finally, the yellow tag grading session came up and I was put forward to do my grading. First it started off with the highest belt of people who was doing the grading itself to carry out a warming experience with some help from a supporting black belt. After the warm up, everyone went to the back and wait for their name to be called for their grading.

It was always done by lowest grade to highest so yellow tag was always done first. So naturally, I got called up with this other girl whom name sadly escapes me now. Anyway it starts with being asked to do five punches, then five kicks and other techniques. After these you was asked to do the two patterns you learnt. While I no longer remember the names of the patterns, I still even know how to do them. Once you done them, you was then called up to the very front and asked a few questions – these questions always being where I did not do well in.

The question were about the names of the techniques you used and how they worked. As a child, I wasn’t interested in knowing another language or the science behind the techniques – I just wanted that tag. Either way, I passed it and then I had to wait for everyone else to finish.

I can not explain it well, but when you see higher belts sparring for their grading you can only stop to think and say wow. It makes you think they are indeed worthy of the belt they are going for. I finally got my yellow tag but the story doesn’t end here, I did wrote “the yellow belt” for a reason.

So a few months or was it weeks later, I got forwarded to do my yellow belt. So the grading happens again but this time, I have to wait a bit longer at the start. Unlike when I did my blue belt and onwards, I spent that time studying the hand book so that I could make sure the patterns was right and all that.


Well my name finally got called up aside with Luke. So we both did the techniques, the patterns but then something else happened – we were told to do sparring at which point these green and blue belts come from the side of the room.

So we sparred for what was only 5 minutes but for those few minutes I felt like Chuck Norris winning against those higher belts. Was I actually good, no. Was I actually winning, no. But that did not matter to me, I felt like I won and felt like Chuck Norris beating random people up.

After it ended, I got that yellow belt. For just give minutes within that grading, I felt I could take anyone on and even though I would not use Tae Kwon Do in life and rely on other forms of martial arts, even today I look back and go heh even though I know they were told to fail (yes, I found this out when I did my blue belt and sparred against someone going for their yellow belt).

Need to reference?

Ellis, M. (2011). The yellow belt. [online] Snat's Narratives & Tales. Available at: [Accessed 07 Dec 2023].

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